Covid-19 Lockdown has worsened depression.
Nearly two-thirds of South Africans surveyed said their mental health worsened during the first few weeks of lockdown, while some said they experienced suicidal thoughts for the first time!
According to a survey conducted by the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG) about 65% of people had heightened stress challenges in areas of their lives, with Lockdown being one of the major contributors to initiating depression and worsened existing depression in 2020.
The stress of social isolation, the worry about jobs, money, and health, and the profound feelings of loss of a loved one may bring about a sense of hopelessness, which in turn can lead to depression or suicidal thoughts, and even an attempt to end one’s life.
A fact I have witnessed first-hand in my own practice.
How COVID-19 affects depression, anxiety, and suicide?
While we have been working tirelessly to keep our faces covered, wash our hands, and stay 6 feet apart from everyone, including our loved ones, we may not have realized how the pandemic and quarantine has chipped away at our mental health and sanity.
Human beings are social creatures.
Being cut off from love, support, and close contact of family and friends can trigger depression or make existing symptoms worse. Months of social distancing and sheltering at home left many feeling isolated and lonely, having to face your problems alone.
As a result, thoughts of suicide were and are still being entertained far more than usual. This fact became evident within the first couple of weeks of lockdown and progressed steadfastly as lockdown went from weeks to months.
Official statistics prior to the lockdown, shows that on average 26 people committed suicide per day in South Africa, and around 245 - 260 serious attempts a day took place. During lockdown, these numbers increased significantly!
Suicide is not something that just happens!
Suicide is the result of a series of continuous and compounding depression events, leading to the ultimate act. Every depression must be treated uniquely as no two are alike.
Suicide is the action taken from the severity of depression. As there are various levels and layers of depression, contemplating suicide, the thought and the action varies according to the intensity the individual experiences. Intensity is the perception one has of how they process their circumstance.
Never underestimate depression, the true experience and severity of it is internal, the outcome can be catastrophic.
The loss of income is one of the leading factors in suicide, the impact on the persons confidence is another contributing desire in ending one’s life, the thought of failure, disgrace, loss of confidence by dependents, repossession of home, car, life, loss of faith, belief, and trust that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Prior to the lockdown any short coming regarding loss of income had these effects, the lockdown merely enhanced this by 600%. This has further had an impact on the job market, job performance, jobs lost.
The loss of a loved one naturally depresses one, some even contemplate suicide due to feelings of being overwhelmed by separation and abandonment due to their loss. People feel hopeless, unable to function as the intensity is overwhelming. Imagine the loss of:
- income in the household, the contributor (wife/husband/partner),
- uncertainty of the future,
- possible more lockdown,
- fear and more fear,
- depression sets in,
- depression is enhanced,
- suicide tenancies are entertained and nurtured,
- suicide is contemplated,
- total breakdown in logic thinking overruled by compounded fear.
- another statistic of severe depression, perhaps another statistic of suicide.
The message is noticeably clear, lockdown has been like a cancer on business as many are closing, unable to survive, jobs are lost, people are unable to sustain themselves or their family, incomes are decreasing, threats of more lockdowns increase the rate of disaster.
The result? Emotional-mental crises contributes to feelings of hopeless, a perception of having no way out arises, and the only way out a person sees is ending one’s life.
Other contributors are disappointments of a relationship, uncertain of passing exams or failing them, delivery of projects, time constraints, sexual dysfunction, abuse, not meeting expectation of parents or partners.
Hypnotherapy / hypnosis assists one in gaining control and taking charge of a situation that is wanting to rob you of your life. The life force within you is one that is constant, emotional-mental issues can deprive one of living a fruitful successful life.
Surviving vs Survival
One thing is sure, not all attempts are intended to end one’s life.
There are people with a strong sense of depression, that relies heavily on lack of hope, a feeling of being overwhelmed, with no visible way out and feeling that the world can just end. The fact that they wish to die, may not necessarily be the intention.
It’s important that family and friends support and not criticise anyone who has survived a suicide attempt. Communication is important, it is important to identify when issues arise, to understand ones needs, to be able to communicate deep feelings, seek assistance, empower oneself.
What can you do?
Stay away from those who are unsupportive, they are not who you need in your life during any crises. In fact, people who put you down, those who are pessimistic, tease you about your circumstance, pick on you, see doom and gloom, are depressed themselves, angry, irritable, emotionally, and mentally unstable, unloving, unconditional, narcistic behaviour, take narcotic substances, drink much alcohol, these are people who will not contribute productively to your situation and your recovery.
Healthy boundaries, discernment, being discerning, belief, faith, trust, valuing, honouring, respecting, loving, and nurturing yourself are all ingredients to you achieving all your successes.
But most of all take a breather from the news. Switch off from social media. Make sure you regularly take a break from the non-stop onslaught of negative news which does nothing but add to further your anxiety levels.
One in four people will struggle with mental health at some point in their lives. And with the coronavirus pandemic and troubled economy, many are in crisis right now. More than ever, people need a trustworthy place or person to turn to for guidance and hope.
If you find yourself dwelling over negative thoughts or experiencing persistent stress and anxiety, reach out to a mental health professional, such as a Hypnotherapist?
Together you will discover that the body / your life follows where your mind goes, hypnotherapy / hypnosis gives you the tools to assist you in achieving your goals free of fear, anxiety, guilt, shame, and negative mind set. Hypnotherapy / hypnosis allows you to empower yourself through certain techniques and wisdom.
When selecting a therapist / hypnotist it is imperative you select one who is able to deal with your situation as there are various levels of quality out there.