The COVID-19 lockdown has brought with it many good things – relationships have strengthened, nature has healed and the world as a whole has had time to take a breather, focusing on what really matters in life. But there are many inevitable struggles that the COVID-19 lockdown has brought too – loss of loved ones, loneliness, stress, the list goes on. Together these repercussions take a strain on our mental health, and it is important to talk about it.
Here a member of our Lightbox team has opened up around their thoughts on mental health, particularly throughout this uncertain time.
“Ah, good old mental health. We’ve all got it, whether it’s healthy or not. But not all of us want to talk about it or feel the need to.
One thing’s for sure: in this current time of world crisis we find ourselves in, everyone is being tested, in one way or another. What happens to those people who were already feeling low and suffering before this crisis even began? And what happens to the people now who are affected by it, and find their whole behaviour and mindset has changed?
The world is very scary. The knock-on effects really are unfathomable, and I wouldn’t say it’s going to come as a surprise to anyone if there is a surge across the nation of people diagnosed with things such as depression and anxiety, to say the least. The news is there for all to see, no one has control over it, but yet we continue to worry over the things we cannot change, affect, effect or impact.
But who am I to be writing this – the walking, worrying, hyper-contradiction of telling everyone to stop stressing, but thinking of a hundred different worst-case scenarios myself. Believe it or not folks, with my permanent smile, none sarcastic approach to life, and always well-measured temperament, it might not seem it but you’ve got to remember, I am only human myself.
Am I any less of a man for putting the question out there about mental health? Are we all thinking it and not saying it? None of us have ever been in such a situation before; legally obligated to stay at home, to physically come into contact with the most minimal numbers of people, and stay sane enough that you don’t start engaging in conversation with your washing machine, or toaster.
But how are people coping? Even Bill Murray didn’t have this much of a groundhog day. I’m of the personal opinion that communication is key, and we need to keep talking to each other, regardless of how vulnerable we may feel putting ourselves out there. Tell me a situation that couldn’t be diffused by talking about it? (And don’t get smart and come at me with your political examples).
I’m up and down like a yoyo; staying positive, patient, and thinking of the longer-term end goal in all of this can be a challenge. It’s very easy to slip into a bad and narrow mindset when the working from home routine is so mundane, your eyes are only seeing the same things every day, and you’re continuously being reminded of the free and liberal options you’re used to have currently been taken away indefinitely.
So, how do we keep a healthy mentality? Exercise, stay away from the bad news and avoid terrible habits are all obvious and advisable things that look great to do on paper, but we will stick to them? What works for me isn’t necessarily going to work for you, and vice versa. But what should work for all, is…talking.
You feel down, talk about it. You feel great, talk about it! How many conversations have we all headed into feeling the weight of the world on our shoulders, then walk away feeling light as a feather as we’ve managed to share and discuss whatever might be bothering us. As my dear old dad would say: “A problem shared is a problem halved”.
Not everyone is going to want to talk, I completely understand that. And not everyone is as talkative and waffles as much as me, I equally understand this, too. It’s a good job because if they were, the world would be one, long continuous conversation, and nobody needs that in their life. We all appreciate sleep.
We weren’t meant to be solo; we were meant to be social. There are numerous platforms to help everyone out there, whether you’re on your own, married, divorced, cohabiting or generally just roaming the streets. It’s a test we all have to deal with in some capacity, so let’s deal with it together.”