Socially Distanced, Mentally Isolated

“Coronavirus has made the mighty kneel and brought the world to a halt like nothing else could. Our minds are still racing back and forth, longing for a return to “normality”, trying to stitch our future to our past and refusing to acknowledge the rupture” (Roy). 

 

Nearly two years into the coronavirus pandemic and Bangkok’s cases are rising again. The pandemic has disrupted every aspect of life and has made it nearly impossible for things to ever go back to normal. People all over the world have struggled financially and/or physically, putting mental strain on everyone.  Humans are social embedded, it’s embedded in our DNA. The lockdown has deprived us of exactly what we need, so naturally, we continue to struggle to cope with the growing need to go out and socialize.

 

We are born into social environments and live in social environments, but the same cannot be said about the newly coined term “lockdown babies.” This term applies to any baby which was born when the lockdown was in full effect living in a world consisting of only their family and their home. When they go out into the real world, they act like a big baby. My nephew, a lockdown baby, was startled when he met me at my house. He wouldn’t stop crying and was just overall surprised as he was overwhelmed (I don’t blame him, after all, he’s a baby.)  My nephew isn’t the only one, a study done by Best Beginnings showed that 7 in 10 parents’ noticed their babies’ socialization skills had been affected by COVID 19 in an unfavorable way (Best Beginnings…). 47% of the parents also reported that their babies had become more clingy to them and had “stranger anxiety” (Best Beginnings…). Doctor Kelly, an education consultant, and child psychologist added that children and babies alike are facing a massive setback in their development due to a lack of social interaction. Stating that we are “social creatures” and that social interaction causes “stimulation, which develops brains more thoroughly,” (Lazaro qting. Kelly). On the bright side, babies and children will eventually bounce back and settle in when things resume (Lazaro). The same cannot be said about the detrimental effects on teenagers and adults. 

 

To begin, COVID19 patients have experienced adverse mental health side effects. A recent study shows that such patients are twice as likely to develop mental disorders in the first 6 months of their diagnosis and that one in five does (Schraer). After examining numerous COVID19 patients globally, scientists have asserted that there are 12 disorders that are most likely to surface such as brain hemorrhage, strokes, dementia, psychosis, mood disorders, and anxiety disorders (Schraer). Anxiety and mood disorders are more common than the rest due to uncertainty being linked with going to the hospital and being extremely sick. Strokes and dementia are caused by the biological impacts of the virus rather than psychological stress thanks to Masud Husain, a neurology professor at Oxford, provides evidence that proves that the virus enters the brain and damages it (Schraer qting. Husain). The virus also has indirect effects such as blood clotting which can lead to strokes (Schraer). Furthermore, Dame Til Wykes –a professor of psychology, psychiatry, and neuroscience– states that “The study confirms our suspicions that a Covid-19 diagnosis is not just related to respiratory symptoms, it is also related to psychiatric and neurological problems” (Schraer qting. Wykes). 

 

However, everyone was affected by the pandemic one way or another, and the psychological effects do not stop at COVID19 patients, it has severely impacted others as well. . A survey from the Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey which states that 56% of young adults have reported symptoms of anxiety and depression during the pandemic in 2020, and numbers will continue to rise (The Implications of…). Another survey conducted by Medical News Today showed that 38% of people constantly felt tired, 36% had sleep-related problems, and 25% felt depressed and hopeless (Sandiou). This was due to the immense pressure that was caused by people wondering whether they would keep their job, whether their loved ones would be safe, and having to deal with remote work. The same study showed 24% having difficulty concentrating, 43% constantly feeling anxious, and 36% of people feeling it is difficult to stop worrying and relax (Sandiou). Working adults felt they were always at work and high-schoolers felt as if their school work never ended. The days started feeling repetitive and many felt hopeless. 

 

People were juggling stress and work, however, older adults’ mental health suffered far less compared to younger adults and teenagers primarily due to the fact that the latter are still developing, making them more prone to mental illnesses(Sandoiu). 

 

As claimed by a survey conducted by the U.S Census Bureau, 42% of people reported symptoms of anxiety or depression, an enormous jump compared to the 11% from the previous year, (Sandoiu). Another study showed that cases of depression tripled from last year (Panchal et al.) Researchers have taken note that most of these effects will not cease anytime soon and will linger (Sandoiu).

 

To conclude, the pandemic has been hard on everyone in various ways which is why looking out for one another has become more important than ever. Try to reach out to your friends and family! Facetime them and ask them how they are doing. Try to remain socially active and talk to people. Even though it’s exhausting or time-consuming, it’ll help us all! Look out for the next article which will be based on ways to cope with the pandemic!

Works Cited

Berman, Robby. “How Do People Cope with the Pandemic? Survey Reveals Worrying Trends.” Medicalnewstoday.com, Medical News Today, 6 May 2020, http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/how-do-people-cope-with-the-pandemic-survey-reveals-worrying-trends. Accessed 19 Aug. 2021.

Best Beginnings, Home-Start UK, and the Parent-Infant Foundation. Babies in Lockdown: Listening to Parents to Build Back Better. , 2020.

“Impacts of Lockdown on the Mental Health of Children and Young People.” Mental Health Foundation, 21 Sept. 2020, http://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/publications/impacts-lockdown-mental-health-children-and-young-people. Accessed 19 Aug. 2021.

Lazaro, Rachael. “Covid Lockdown: ‘My Baby Screamed When She Saw New Faces.’” BBC News, BBC News, 9 Jan. 2021, http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-manchester-55563579. Accessed 19 Aug. 2021.

Panchal, Nimrita, et al. “The Implications of COVID-19 for Mental Health and Substance Use.” KFF, 10 Feb. 2021, http://www.kff.org/coronavirus-covid-19/issue-brief/the-implications-of-covid-19-for-mental-health-and-substance-use/. Accessed 24 Aug. 2021.

Roy, Arundhati. “Arundhati Roy: ‘the Pandemic Is a Portal’ | Free to Read.” @FinancialTimes, Financial Times, 3 Apr. 2020, http://www.ft.com/content/10d8f5e8-74eb-11ea-95fe-fcd274e920ca. Accessed 28 Aug. 2021.

Sandoiu, Ana. “Mental Health during the Pandemic: 1 Year On.” Medicalnewstoday.com, Medical News Today, 11 Mar. 2021, http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/mental-health-during-the-pandemic-1-year-on#Positives-for-some?-Post-traumatic-growth. Accessed 19 Aug. 2021.

Schraer, Rachel. “Covid-19 Linked to Depression and Dementia, Study Suggests.” BBC News, BBC News, 6 Apr. 2021, http://www.bbc.com/news/health-56650125. Accessed 24 Aug. 2021.

“The Implications of COVID-19 for Mental Health and Substance Use.” KFF, 10 Feb. 2021, http://www.kff.org/coronavirus-covid-19/issue-brief/the-implications-of-covid-19-for-mental-health-and-substance-use/#:~:text=Young%20adults%20have%20experienced%20a,or%20depressive%20disorder%20(56%25).. Accessed 24 Aug. 2021.

 

Socially Distanced, Mentally Isolated

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