The COVID-19 pandemic can negatively impact mental health in various ways. In addition to the constant fear and paranoia of catching the infection, the lockdown has brought significant changes to our daily lifestyle and routine. (World Health Organization) Hawkley (2015) states that social isolation can cause adverse health consequences like depression, poor sleeping patterns and cognitive decline. This blogpost gives an insight to how COVID-19 can impact a person’s mental health in different ways, focusing on the perspective and experience of a patient.
On June 11 th Manish Mittal tested positive for COVID-19. Thankfully, his case was relatively mild and he has made a full recovery. However, the whole experience was quite stressful for him and his entire family. The following is his insight on how to take care of mental health as a patient suffering from COVID-19:
Q.1 How was your mental state during these 21 days?
MM: I would say the confinement and isolation was almost as bad as the symptoms themselves. Even though I was privileged enough to have enough devices like my phone, laptop and television to distract me, they didn’t make up for the lack of human contact and how much I missed my family. I also hated how isolated I felt.. every day I could hear the
bustling sounds of the household- the banging of pots and pans in the kitchen, my wife giving instructions around the house, my daughter, Taarini playing with the dog. Hearing all this made me miss regular life even more. I had a lot of trouble sleeping the whole time in isolation, which didn’t help with my recovery.
Q.2 What was the lowest point you faced in the last 2 weeks?
MM: The lowest point would have to be after 17 days in self-quarantine, when I was scheduled to come out and was very excited. However, the night before my much awaited release, the doctor called and advised to stay in quarantine for 4 more days just to be safe. After anticipating going back to normal life for so long, the extension was a low blow, but I
understood that safety was our first priority. I told myself that if I had handled so many days, just a few more would be easy.
Q.3 what would your advice be to anyone who suffers from COVID-19 in taking care of their mental health?
MM: Speaking from my experience, I would advise that you should always ensure that you are in touch with your family and friends. They are vital for boosting your morale. Repeating the same routine everyday all alone can get very tedious, just always keep in mind that this time will pass and try to focus on how you will get better soon. Keeping yourself distracted using television, work, or games is also a good way to pass the time.
So in conclusion, there are healthy ways to cope with stress during self-isolation. Staying connected with your loved ones, keeping a positive mindset, and trying to find new activities to keep yourself occupied are some effective methods to cope with self-isolation as a patient. Although it may seem difficult, maintaining hope and optimism is vital during these uncertain and challenging times.
- Hawkley L.C, John P. (2015) Perceived social isolation, evolutionary fitness and health outcomes: a lifespan approach. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society Publishing
- World Health Organization (2020) Mental Health and Covid-19