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The impact of the pandemic on our mental health

We have seen a stark rise in the number of people reaching out to us presenting with anxiety, depression, stress and fatigue. Some People are experiencing these feelings for the first time, while others are experiencing a relapse of old mental health concerns.

The true impact of the last 18 months is beginning to emerge. It is important to note however that feeling anxious and stressed, feeling both physically and mentally exhausted or simply feeling isolated and withdrawn are extremely normal human reactions to a prolonged crisis such as Covid-19.

There was an underlying anxiety that most of us sensed when the pandemic first hit. We were being directed to stay at home, isolate, quarantine. The daily news headlines were telling us that in order to protect our loved ones we had to stay away from them, particularly the most vulnerable around us. The isolation that many of us felt when we were being asked to work from home and socialise only within our households meant that for many our usual support system wasn’t around us in the same way.

What the studies have shown

Studies are now emerging that acknowledge the burnout some essential workers are experiencing, as we return to normal life. Many people continued to put themselves at risk to keep the hospitals going, to keep shops open or to police our streets. The stress and anxiety associated with this becomes more apparent when our physical stress responses begin to regulate.

Lots of people experienced financial difficulties when they lost their jobs, something which many continue to struggle with. There were thousands who had to experience the trauma of not being with their loved ones when they died, and were unable to grieve in any way which may have offered them some small comfort. Women experienced extreme trauma when they gave birth without the support of a partner or loved one, and many received the worst possible news while attending appointments during pregnancy without any support from those closest to them.

The return to normal life raises more anxiety. Reintegrating into society will cause lots of us to worry and become overwhelmed.

The pandemic has affected everyone in different ways. It is completely normal to react in different ways. It is important to reach out to those around us. Acknowledging our anxiety and stress is important as we begin to come to terms with how our lives have been affected. Our psychological and physiological reaction varies significantly, but talking and communicating our struggles and concerns is an important step in healing from the last 18 months. Friends/family can play a role in this, as well as professional therapy services like ourselves here in Ivy Therapy. Feel free to reach out to us if you are struggling and would like to explore your feelings with one of our team.