Coping during Corona – Lockdown 2.0

So it’s happening. From Thursday we’re going back into lockdown. As a result of this news, hashtags like #WeWillNotComply and #CloseSchoolsNOW were trending yesterday. Panic shopping ensued and the shops started running out of supplies… again.

Mental Health issues: depression, anxiety, PTSD, substance abuse, child abuse, and domestic violence almost always surge after natural disasters. Yes, Covid-19 is every bit as much a disaster as fire or flood. But it’s a catastrophe unlike any wildfire or hurricane.  

Because of politics and polarization in our country, many now see the life-and-death decisions of the coronavirus as a political choice/personal freedom rather than a medical one. 

We consistently hold the belief that everything is okay and everything is NOT okay all at the same time. This leads to daily internalised trauma. 

Cognitive dissonance describes the discomfort people feel when two thoughts, or a thought and a behavior, contradict each other. “I smoke” conflicts with the knowledge that smoking can kill you. To reduce that discomfort, the smoker must either quit or justify their behavior. “Smoking keeps me skinny and being heavy kills too”. People will go to GREAT lengths to justify their behavior and reduce this dissonance. 

cog·ni·tive dis·so·nance

/ˈkäɡnədiv ˈdisənəns/nounPSYCHOLOGY

  1. the state of having inconsistent thoughts, beliefs, or attitudes, especially as relating to behavioral decisions and attitude change.

You can’t see the virus. You can’t smell it or taste it or see it in the air. When any other disaster occurs, there’s an end. The fire is put out, the smoke clears, and then the healing/reconstruction can begin. There seems to be NO end to this disaster in sight.

But many people are acting as if it doesn’t exist. Are you wrong to go out? Are you wrong to stay in? You constantly feel like you’re either UNDER-reacting or OVER-reacting. This is consistent recurring trauma.

Not wearing masks. Refusing to social distance. Going to clubs and parties. It’s difficult to believe that people are doing this. People will justify just about anything or reject new information that conflicts with their beliefs.

When facts contradict what people believe, some people will make decisions that impact their health and families health rather than accepting new info or admit to being wrong. One look at social media can verify this. “I’m right, you’re wrong, it’s someone elses fault”

This whole situation isn’t easy for anyone to comprehend or accept. The constant changing news about COVID-19 can affect us significantly. We ALL feel worried, frightened, angry, or maybe even guilty. And sadly, I believe that anxiety will last long after Covid. Natural disaster remember?

So what do we do? And most importantly how do we address it?

Be gentle with yourself. Give yourself permission to feel. It’s okay to function at a less than optimal level for awhile. You may not be able to be quite as productive on the job or care for others in exactly the way you’re accustomed. No one is a superhero here; take time to heal and be OKAY with that.

It’s perfectly normal to feel ALL kinds of emotions. It’s normal to feel sad, angry, exhausted, frustrated, and confused—and ALL these feelings can be really intense. You also may feel nervous about what’s going to happen next.

You don’t have to be alone. Sharing your feelings with friends and family can help you get through. Keeping all your feelings in can raise your stress levels, reduce your concentration, and get in the way of your work, relationships, and health. Don’t be afraid to talk to a professional.

Try not to get into arguments about this. Try to be understanding that people aren’t always at their best during a natural disaster. People react in so many different ways out of fear and uncertainty. Be gentle with yourself and then try to be gentle with others.

How are you coping with the news of a Lockdown 2.0? Whether you’re “for” or “against”, we’re here… it’s more important than ever that we stick together. Please join me on  FacebookTwitter, and Instagram and let’s talk about it.

Remember… we’re all in this together. We WILL get through this.

Angie Greaves Signature