Coronavirus and mental health

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PilgrimsProgress

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An Australian psychiatrist, Ian Hickie, mentioned that the stress of the coronavirus pandemic -particularly physical isolation under lockdown, is impacting on the mental health of our citizens.
Just as folks with existing physical concerns, like diabetes, are of a particular concern, so too are those of us with existing mental health conditions.


It was an explanation I needed to hear, because I have been facing a bewildering array of mood changes - anger, sadness, boredom, inability to concentrate for long.....


My therapist can only telephone me for our consultations now, and last week was just awful. Something she said, triggered me, and I became angry. This led to her being defensive and reminding me that if she wasn't being helpful I didn't need to remain her patient.
She has been very helpful -so I regret the whole incident. I've cancelled the next appointment because 1. I'm scared that the same thing will erupt again and 2. it's the equivalent of "sending me to my room for time-out". Hopefully, in a fortnight, I'll regain some of my equilibrium.

Have you noticed changes in your own behaviour, or those that you're isolating with -as regards mood, temperement etc?
 
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An Australian psychiatrist, Ian Hickie, mentioned that the stress of the coronavirus pandemic -particularly physical isolation under lockdown, is impacting on the mental health of our citizens.
Just as folks with existing physical concerns, like diabetes, are of a particular concern, so too are those of us with existing mental health conditions.


It was an explanation I needed to hear, because I have been facing a bewildering array of mood changes - anger, sadness, boredom, inability to concentrate for long.....


My therapist can only telephone me for our consultations now, and last week was just awful. Something she said, triggered me, and I became angry. This led to her being defensive and reminding me that if she wasn't being helpful I didn't need to remain her patient.
She has been very helpful -so I regret the whole incident. I've cancelled the next appointment because 1. I'm scared that the same thing will erupt again and 2. it's the equivalent of "sending me to my room for time-out". Hopefully, in a fortnight, I'll regain some of my equilibrium.

Have you noticed changes in your own behaviour, or those that you're isolating with -as regards mood, temperement etc?
Yes, even with milder restriction, I get down, bored, lonelier than usual for real face to face conversations with friends, anxious about what the future looks like after we pass through this little era, grumpy, frustrated with my living situation, and with technology at times.
 

ChemGal

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Early into this I had anxiety about some things. I fell apart for an hour or two one evening when stuff about Italy was first coming out. Time-wise things weren't great, sorting out all the liver tumors and related stuff and wondering about health care. It could have also been much worse, I was at the tail-end of sorting those things out, I wasn't in the thick of it. Had the timeframe overlapped more with my biopsy or the results and I wouldn't have been coping well.
Getting to a place where the medical stuff had settled more into routines again helped a fair bit. So did getting all the medications and supplies I needed for a while. Seeing our healthcare system not buckling under pressure was a big relief. There was trauma related to all the s**t I went through Sept-Dec and there was a number of things I didn't post about, there were many things that were cumulative and really the assumed misdiagnosis was a terminal one. I was still in the midst of trying to process all of that, and this pulled me out of that.

I do feel much more settled, although there are little things along that way the bring up concerns. The continual need to access medications is a concern, especially hearing of shortages. There are financial concerns, we've had 2 major hits to our household finances during this and there's industry issues beyond the pandemic, so there's the long term concerns as well. Where things will go as restrictions ease is also a concern, having seen things be well controlled it is clear now that the plan is to continue to work to maintain a certain maximum level, not to move towards restricting spread - what I expected but part of me hoped that as things were contained we could switch to that goal. Basically long term chances are good of contracting this at some point, until a large number of people get vaccinated. For me I feel like it's not a matter of if I will have complications, it will be how bad, it's not a comforting place to be in.
Feb/March Chemguy and I had some stupid instances of snapping at each other, more than usual due to the uneasiness we were feeling. That stopped a while ago thankfully.

And that's just the inward aspects. There are broader concerns too. My grandparents and some other relatives fall into age ranges where the death rate is well into the double digits, and they do all have multiple health conditions. There are others I care about who are in fairly high risk groups as well. There's the concern of what things will be like coming out of this. I had to just stop reading about some of the things that were going on elsewhere as the details were just too awful, it was causing me too much distress.

Overall, mentally I'm doing way better than Nov, Dec. Staying at home a ton? Nothing new. My 5 year survival probability is higher compared to then. The pandemic really hasn't altered my daily life much at all. There are some positives - people understand a little bit more what it's like to be stuck at home (and even then, being stuck at home when feeling well and able to do stuff certain beats it when physically feeling like crap). I actually have better options now than I did before. I was struggling to get a library card when we were experiencing cold weather, with how raw my skin was going out when not necessary wasn't worth it and being around scents, 3rd hand smoke, etc. was just way too much considering how flared up things were. When the libraries were about to shut down all the sudden it wasn't a problem to get me the card online. I am glad some of my appointments are telehealth now, it's less strain on me and there are other contagious illnesses that are risks to me, not just this. There's more stuff available online - ways to connect with people I know, fun activities, etc. I've used things like curbside pickup for a while as I have more control while ordering Chemguy around to do the pickups ;) Now those options have opened up even more and while I don't expect everything to stay like this long term, I think there will be at least more options than in the past.
 

EasternOrthodox

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An Australian psychiatrist, Ian Hickie, mentioned that the stress of the coronavirus pandemic -particularly physical isolation under lockdown, is impacting on the mental health of our citizens.
Just as folks with existing physical concerns, like diabetes, are of a particular concern, so too are those of us with existing mental health conditions.


It was an explanation I needed to hear, because I have been facing a bewildering array of mood changes - anger, sadness, boredom, inability to concentrate for long.....


My therapist can only telephone me for our consultations now, and last week was just awful. Something she said, triggered me, and I became angry. This led to her being defensive and reminding me that if she wasn't being helpful I didn't need to remain her patient.
She has been very helpful -so I regret the whole incident. I've cancelled the next appointment because 1. I'm scared that the same thing will erupt again and 2. it's the equivalent of "sending me to my room for time-out". Hopefully, in a fortnight, I'll regain some of my equilibrium.

Have you noticed changes in your own behaviour, or those that you're isolating with -as regards mood, temperement etc?
Hi, PP. Yes, I’m finding the pandemic disconcerting. I have trouble concentrating. I’m obsessively reading everything I can find on the virus (also watching videos). I ordered a book on the 1918 pandemic. But I can’t seem to concentrate enough to read it.

I might read a few pages then quit. I can manage a newspaper article. I realize all this information is depressing but I think it’s an old instinct when one is in a dangerous situation. Find out everything you can. Perhaps such behaviour helped our ancestors survive.

I‘m in email contact with people, including my sister, an old school friend and a woman who lives in New York City, in a neighborhood where antibody testing showed that 25% of the population has been exposed. I “met” her on a blog. The blog is really helpful, as people post all sorts of links. It‘s mostly men posting though.

I‘m staying in touch with my church. We are having Zoom sessionvs.

My best friend (also from high school) finds using computers beyond her. But there’s always the phone. This helps with feeling you get, sheltering in place alone. I truly think I would go crazy without the Internet.

And, of course, one night in desperation I came here, hoping I would be accepted. Everyone has been really nice.

Im also taking antidepressants. I’ll keep you in my prayers, PP. Coming here is a good step.
 

EasternOrthodox

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Early into this I had anxiety about some things. I fell apart for an hour or two one evening when stuff about Italy was first coming out. Time-wise things weren't great, sorting out all the liver tumors and related stuff and wondering about health care. It could have also been much worse, I was at the tail-end of sorting those things out, I wasn't in the thick of it. Had the timeframe overlapped more with my biopsy or the results and I wouldn't have been coping well.
Getting to a place where the medical stuff had settled more into routines again helped a fair bit. So did getting all the medications and supplies I needed for a while. Seeing our healthcare system not buckling under pressure was a big relief. There was trauma related to all the s**t I went through Sept-Dec and there was a number of things I didn't post about, there were many things that were cumulative and really the assumed misdiagnosis was a terminal one. I was still in the midst of trying to process all of that, and this pulled me out of that.

I do feel much more settled, although there are little things along that way the bring up concerns. The continual need to access medications is a concern, especially hearing of shortages. There are financial concerns, we've had 2 major hits to our household finances during this and there's industry issues beyond the pandemic, so there's the long term concerns as well. Where things will go as restrictions ease is also a concern, having seen things be well controlled it is clear now that the plan is to continue to work to maintain a certain maximum level, not to move towards restricting spread - what I expected but part of me hoped that as things were contained we could switch to that goal. Basically long term chances are good of contracting this at some point, until a large number of people get vaccinated. For me I feel like it's not a matter of if I will have complications, it will be how bad, it's not a comforting place to be in.
Feb/March Chemguy and I had some stupid instances of snapping at each other, more than usual due to the uneasiness we were feeling. That stopped a while ago thankfully.

And that's just the inward aspects. There are broader concerns too. My grandparents and some other relatives fall into age ranges where the death rate is well into the double digits, and they do all have multiple health conditions. There are others I care about who are in fairly high risk groups as well. There's the concern of what things will be like coming out of this. I had to just stop reading about some of the things that were going on elsewhere as the details were just too awful, it was causing me too much distress.

Overall, mentally I'm doing way better than Nov, Dec. Staying at home a ton? Nothing new. My 5 year survival probability is higher compared to then. The pandemic really hasn't altered my daily life much at all. There are some positives - people understand a little bit more what it's like to be stuck at home (and even then, being stuck at home when feeling well and able to do stuff certain beats it when physically feeling like crap). I actually have better options now than I did before. I was struggling to get a library card when we were experiencing cold weather, with how raw my skin was going out when not necessary wasn't worth it and being around scents, 3rd hand smoke, etc. was just way too much considering how flared up things were. When the libraries were about to shut down all the sudden it wasn't a problem to get me the card online. I am glad some of my appointments are telehealth now, it's less strain on me and there are other contagious illnesses that are risks to me, not just this. There's more stuff available online - ways to connect with people I know, fun activities, etc. I've used things like curbside pickup for a while as I have more control while ordering Chemguy around to do the pickups ;) Now those options have opened up even more and while I don't expect everything to stay like this long term, I think there will be at least more options than in the past.
ChemGal, you’re coping well! You’re always so sensible and calm. I have age (68) and being somewhat overweight as risks.

It became harder to get groceries online with delivery, a method I had used for several years. Suddenly a huge number of other people were now using it. Rummaging around the site I found a note saying the delivery slots were refreshed every Tuesday. I tried it just after midnight, and bingo, it worked. But I really started to gain weight. Im trying to get that under control.

I‘m resigned to staying in my condo for months, even years, I too am hoping for a vaccine.
 

Mrs.Anteater

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I have a morning exercise program I am sticking to most days. I often feel tired after work, despite work being less than half the workload I usually have. I was worried to have to go see Covid patients or to see patients who have it without symptoms. We have new management and I am not sure yet if I will be supported if I have concerns about my own safety or if they just want to please any request that is thrown at our service. Though, I know of myself that my strength is that I will refuse to do things no matter the consequences if I feel uneasy with a situation ( other than most of my colleagues).
I am worried about the lifting of the restrictions, because Covid will just be sneaky around the corner and we will feel too safe- it is hard to keep those habits of social distancing and cleaning all the time.
Our meeting has Sunday Zoom meetings, but I miss the after- meeting tea time with chatting and the pot luck food. I am gaining weight like crazy which makes me unhappy with myself and also somewhat sluggish.
I have been starting some creative projects, sewing and silk painting, which helps to relax. I miss my friends with who I usually play crib and scrabble. We have exchanged gifts on the porch. It just feels like being in slow motion while the time keeps going at the same speed- here we are in May- if just the weather could warm up a bit more consistently.
 

paradox3

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Like others have said, I am finding myself slowed down. It reminds me of being in hibernation.

I miss seeing family members and I miss church life a lot. Skype and Zoom help quite a bit but they don't completely substitute for real life interaction. Most surprising to me is how much I miss little things like meeting a friend for coffee at Tim's, perusing the aisles at Winners and popping into Walmart. Not to mention being able to see a movie on the big screen and pick up books at the library.

There are days I find myself bored and restless. And days when I feel like I am adapting to this lifestyle quite well, which is actually a little freaky. :cool:
 

ChemGal

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ChemGal, you’re coping well! You’re always so sensible and calm.
You didn't see me this past winter, it was bad but I guess in portion to what doctors were saying. I could tell my GP was really stressed in caring for me at the time too. I was functional for medical appointments and sorting out medical stuff in general but that's where all my focus went to. Some people are feeling a crisis now on a personal level, I very much feel like I got out of one.
 

Carolla

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I'm noticing my mood feels a bit flat - rather like my daily routines. I'm missing going out with friends, going to my exercise classes & walking group which had become an important self-care activity for me. My concentration & motivation for new projects are diminished, as others have said. I think it was Mrs. A who commented on the 'slow motion' feel to life now - I agree. One day melts into the next and next thing I know another week has passed, which kind of surprises me. I'm grateful for my partner, for internet access, for a secure home, for my garden, for relatively stable finances - at least in the short term.

I think we have moved into a new phase of dealing with the many changes thrust upon us due to COVID restrictions. From that initial reorganization, to perhaps a sense of boredom and longing for return to some aspects of life. I make a point of NOT reading or watching much about COVID these days - things seem pretty stable, in one sense as we wait. I'm in no rush to get back out to browsing shops or going to eat in restaurants, or visiting other crowded venues. We do miss our small dinners at home with friends, games nights etc. - will be happy to resume that for sure.

Pilgrims, I'm sorry you had a bad time with your therapist. Tensions are high everywhere in these strange times and can creep up on us - even therapists are feeling the strangeness of not seeing their patients in person. Fingers crossed for a more helpful interaction next time. A friend & former colleague of mine who is a psychotherapist, and pretty hilarious woman too, recently sent me a link to her new blog - reflecting on life and COVID and everything in between. I invite you all to read if you wish - Home | The Compassion Junkie Thanks for starting this thread.
 

PilgrimsProgress

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Thank you all for your candid replies.....

Physical isolation doesn't have to mean social isolation, and its occurred to me that by showing that we're all in this stressful situation together we might find comfort and support in sharing our apprehensions and vulnerabilities.

On television last night I heard a New York psychotherapist say that his patients that seem to be faring the worst were those, like me, who experienced significant childhood trauma. (With hindsight, I can see my reaction to my therapist was connected to a childhood hurt that won't go away).

An explanation mightn't cure the problem - but at least I can understand more why I'm finding it so difficult to cope......

Despite setbacks like I've just experienced, therapy has helped me a lot when it comes to improving the quality of my life. But, like most things worthwhile, it's not an easy process.

Here's a link that I think best describes therapy -what it is and how you benefit from it.
 

paradox3

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Physical isolation doesn't have to mean social isolation, and its occurred to me that by showing that we're all in this stressful situation together we might find comfort and support in sharing our apprehensions and vulnerabilities.
Yes, it is actually reassuring to know that the feeling of being "slowed down" is shared by others.

And I have enjoyed reading the comments about time perception being altered.
 

EasternOrthodox

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I have a morning exercise program I am sticking to most days. I often feel tired after work, despite work being less than half the workload I usually have. I was worried to have to go see Covid patients or to see patients who have it without symptoms. We have new management and I am not sure yet if I will be supported if I have concerns about my own safety or if they just want to please any request that is thrown at our service. Though, I know of myself that my strength is that I will refuse to do things no matter the consequences if I feel uneasy with a situation ( other than most of my colleagues).
I am worried about the lifting of the restrictions, because Covid will just be sneaky around the corner and we will feel too safe- it is hard to keep those habits of social distancing and cleaning all the time.
Our meeting has Sunday Zoom meetings, but I miss the after- meeting tea time with chatting and the pot luck food. I am gaining weight like crazy which makes me unhappy with myself and also somewhat sluggish.
I have been starting some creative projects, sewing and silk painting, which helps to relax. I miss my friends with who I usually play crib and scrabble. We have exchanged gifts on the porch. It just feels like being in slow motion while the time keeps going at the same speed- here we are in May- if just the weather could warm up a bit more consistently.
I started overeating when I found I couldn’t use my usual system to buy food. It’s like there’s some lizard brain thing in our mind saying, “Hmmm, seeing food shortages? You should eat everything you can find.”. (I finally figured out how to order).
 
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Or more junk food/ comfort food because nobody's looking. I read a post somewhere (not here) that said something like "Thinking about dinner tonight...what goes better with cheese-puffs and rocky road ice cream? Red or white?...or vodka?" :)

I overheard someone in the pharmacy saying lots of people are going to be fatter at the end of this.

I have to admit I feel even less like cooking for myself than I did before. I'm not a fan of cooking for one. I'm not motivated to cook, or even be in my kitchen these days. Except maybe to pour cereal or make toast. Even avocado toast (I buy avocados if they are on sale which they often are, and I needed to use one up) felt like an effort...and it was already soft and spread right on...still felt like an effort. It feels miserable to be inside these days.
 
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PilgrimsProgress

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have to admit I feel even less like cooking for myself than I did before. I'm not a fan of cooking for one. I'm not motivated to cook, or even be in my kitchen these days.
I love cooking - but am lousy and disinterested in the presentation side. As a result, I prefer cooking just for myself - yummy food just how I like it -and I can balance it on my lap whilst watching television!

With my social world so curtailed now, I get quite excited about "What am I going to have for dinner tonight"?
 

Mendalla

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I haven't received a paper newspaper in years. I read the Globe and Mail app on my phone and get local news by following London media outlets (Free Press, 980 News which is owned by Global, CTV and CBC London) on Twitter.

Back on topic, I think the uncertainty affects me more than the isolation. I am a natural introvert so, while I wouldn't mind a bit more social contact, I am used to being alone or with just my family. However, just not knowing when we can relax a bit, when I might go back to work, when we might be able to slip a light domestic vacation, and so on bothers me. I have been indulging various hobbies and interests to keep occupied but it would be nice to get out for more than walks.
 

Pinga

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What is interesting is that I keep dropping weight / sizes during isolation. This is good, as I had crept back up. It is also expected, as I am on some new meds that seem to do a better job with type 2 diabetes, and also I am more active. Surprisingly, though I bake a lot, I don't eat a lot and what I do is healthy, so....slowly the sizes that i am wearing are getting smaller. Not at what my CrossFit days were, but, closer.

I became really busy really fast during COVID isolation, in part due to my skills, my availability and in part due to my care for the church community that i am a part of. Like thinking of Crazyheart & Seeler in the early days of building wondercafe, I think of J, D, and F at our church, and try to ensure that they are included and cared for

I find that most days, I am really good. I have good balance and am ok to say "that's my limit".
Other days, though, I know that my tolerance is low.
I can't take one more covid-19 post which does not get stats or is lambasting americans.
My tolerance is just basically low, and I need to walk away. Sometimes I am good at it.
Sometimes, I am not.

With the awareness of death being there, and the risk to those who are socially isolated from amental health standpoint, i am even less likely to put up with some things, or distractions. Right now, my focus is getting some machines into people's hands so they can join sessions and talk to people.

I've felt like i was juggling an awful lot, and sometimes, i wonder what it would be like to not take on anything, and just read a book, or sit in the backyard for days on end.

and that last bit, is what makes me wonder, am i coping.
 

Mendalla

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I am on some new meds that seem to do a better job with type 2 diabetes
My weight and glucose actually have been pretty good recently but not sure that has much to do with Covid and social distancing. My Metformin dose was changed just before all hell broke loose and with the nice weather, I'm getting back into a sustainable exercise routine (I start to weary of watching TV on my stationary bike by about mid-winter which tends to end in me slacking off) by doing outdoor walking, biking, etc.

I can't take one more covid-19 post which does not get stats or is lambasting americans.
Yep. Even the ones who do get stats (like my wife) can become a drag after a while if it's all they talk about. I've been kind of dancing around different interests while keeping a weather eye on the covid news.
 
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