The war of withdrawal is beginning to settle in, though is not a comfortable routine with people. We are beginning to realize this invisible enemy is stronger than anticipated and unpredictable. Rules surrounding behavior and activities keep growing. If you permit yourself to read and listen to all information about COVID-19, it may cause a spike of depression and anxiety. It may force people to take a closer look at themselves and others in this unpredictable threat. This on-going crisis has no end in sight as we hear and read more cases end in death. What is important is to accept this new lifestyle and pull together those resources to help one grapple with this invisible enemy.
There are some people who will be racked by tremors and shakes due to anger and anxiety. They may bite their lips or tear their skin and nails. This individual may pull their hair or do other self-harm behaviors. Nausea may rise instigated by the lack of nutrition, medication, and fear. Some people may experience a rise of panic attacks due to the abrupt halt of treatment, programs and clinical support. These symptoms may sound like withdrawal symptoms from opioids when in fact it is a different kind of withdrawal. We are experiencing two types of withdrawal, social and physical, both effects our mental, emotional and spiritual health.
Social connection is much easier to sustain by technology and concerted efforts to reach out to others. I never thought I would truly appreciate technology until now, as I utilize Zoom, Duo and Skype. We crave visual sightings with people. We connect by holding conversations, smiling and laughter.
Physical connection is more complicated. This love language helps people feel alive, connected and recognized. While those who live with others may receive the touch of love, those alone and missing others must resign themselves to accepting a visual or verbal hug. Not easy but necessary to help one survive this pandemic.
Yet there are people who don’t like to be told what to do and fight the rules and new policies on how to behave in public. This oppositional and defiant behavior puts the individual and others at risk of contracting the virus. The reality is we don’t have answers and must practice safe hygiene methods to protect ourselves from this invisible war. We are all at risk. We must perfect a new method of living within our walls.
Ways to manage this bizarre period in our lives:
- Call family, friends, neighbors, and work staff, but also check up on those you don’t normally contact.
- Remember cooking alone or with others can be fun, though watch what you eat and how often.
- TV can be used to play video games, follow along with fitness shows, watch beloved movies, and learn about things other than the virus by watching documentaries, science, or history programs.
- Play music — it doesn’t matter what you play, music lifts you up, brings back memories. What songs have meaning for you? Play them. Sing along or dance.
- Take a walk, smile and say hello. This is a connection, it says, “I am pleased to notice you” and “I am not alone.” The byproduct of walking helps you feel and be healthier, improves your physical and mental sharpness and mood by increasing the serotonin level.
- Laugh, crack jokes, be silly, find the irony in the forced isolation. It forces one to slow down and take stock of the environment.
- Learning to live in your home can help you see what needs to be repaired, removed, and cleaned.
- Identify and appreciate what you have and what you don’t need.
- Forced home living may reduce tension you may otherwise feel from the many tasks you assign to yourself to complete in the recent past, learning to live with being under-scheduled is a new challenge for some.
- Identify ways to reduce tension — healthy behaviors — exercise, write, walk, talk, start a hobby, read, and/or have virtual meetings.
- Streamline your activity and don’t dawdle when you must go to the supermarket or pharmacy.
- Call your doctor for guidance if you have concerns about contracting the illness.
- Help others: family, friends, neighbors, the elderly and ill with food and other necessary items.
- Laugh, while therapeutic it also relieves pressure and improves mood.
- Stay positive, mindful and healthy.
Revising and reinventing how you spend your time in your home and sanctuary is necessary and important. Get ideas from others. There are multiple resources available, like Facebook, Twitter, and so forth.
We are nothing but inventive, creative, caring and giving as a community. We can get through this together. We are a team. Be safe and healthy.
More About Coronavirus: Psych Central Coronavirus Resource