COVID-19 Seriously Tested My Mental Health

With the costs of COVID-19, we need to learn from this mayhem and bring forth a new set of attack to life in the next decades of our lives – that is if this ends sooner.

This global pandemic killed many and dismantled humanity. Everything has changed, most people say, and as the earth is having a break from our sinful needs, we are opening the era of the new normal of which I think eventually will lose essence especially for the lesser educated and the narrow-minded (shoutout to all patriarchal parasites and culturally toxic Filipinos and not).

With lesser air pollution, changing city soundscapes, more quiet oceans with unperturbed ecosystems, quarantine life is real AF and has caused another major outbreak – the rise of depression.

This is how crazy the world is right now. (Don’t misinterpret mental health with crazy by the way). Just like how normal it is for most people to get physically sick, having mental health issues is basic to human beings too.

We have had and have been having all pros and cons – economies disrupted but nature recovered; health budget spikes but cracks in health systems unraveled; faster sharing of information online but the reproduction of fake news and info-demic has become faster than the virus itself; vaccines underway but more waves and new virus strains keep on spawning.

This situation teaches us lessons and we need to learn from them. With all the tons of learning, let me tell you a thing, forget about the health systems issues, flattening of curves and second waves whatever:

YOUR PHYSICAL HEALTH IS AS IMPORTANT AS YOUR MENTAL HEALTH!

*****

This virus is deadly and will destroy your lungs, eventually your physical breathing, more grave if you have comorbidity or other existing conditions.

But more than its lethal effects, you need to protect your MENTAL HEALTH because it is real. People still don’t buy this (usually the trads, the frckn trads!) no matter how hard our authorities try to advocate on this.

BUT.

THIS.

IS.

REAL.

Personally, with my line of work specifically at our local command center handling COVID-19 since February this year in our province, it honestly pushed my limits leading to a series of anxious episodes especially at night when I go home and sleep in my room.

Feels weird writing about this personal situation but this is a call to my circle not to ignore these kinds of situations; and while things are still manageable, seek help and talk it out.

You are not different. You are not alone. Hindi ka ang-iisa, friend.

So yun na nga, I have had uncontrolled visions of all that I have seen from work, TV – ANYWHERE – for like the past two or three days and they all have been very crispy and clear on my mind.

No matter how hard I try to stay calm and relaxed, those visions did not stop.

Also, sounds from our operations, urgent decision-making also started to reverberate like I’m having a recording of all things I have heard recently. Ayaw tumigil nila tumigil, friend.

Thus, with what I know about mental health, one must NEVER FORCE to fight to stop it to avoid breakdown and situational aggravation so I thought a lot of things like thinking of the most relaxing place, siyempre, dagat and travel, I would love to be in at that very moment. I changed positions because maybe, I thought, this was just a typical case of insomnia.

Pero ayaw pa din tumigil, friend.

It lasted for almost 5 days and on the 5th, I opened the situation up with someone from the health office reporting for duty at our command center, and she advised me to have a check up. (I’d be forever grateful for her advice really)

Had a check up, got meds for sleeping difficulty and calming down.

But I still had episodes.

So, I started reading about mental health, researches, blog materials and found out how DIVERSION is very important and NOT CONTROLLING THINGS YOU CAN’T CONTROL helps.

You and you can only help yourself. People from this field will just guide and eventually enable you to stand alone.

So, after listening to the different stories of my friends and talking to my family, I pivoted from 100% work-focused to 200% self-focused.

One day,  when I felt like dragging myself to work, I saw my 4 cactuses and I smiled. Then I decided, I will collect cactuses/cacti.

Now, I have a lot of them and seeing them every day makes me happy.

Also, I focused on improving my home, started out with some small construction projects, roofing and drainage, now fencing and gates – the activities felt good.

Another diversion was spending time with the family and having like a weekly boodle fight every Sunday. And at times when I get some episodes, I read a book to fully control what my mind thinks until I just fall asleep.

I also rekindled my passion for the arts. So I went back to painting pots (because as you know the quarantine life made people love gardening, so for practicality’s sake, income also comes in). Check out my page ->  jaypeeneutron.ph

And also when the borders re-opened, I visited my closest friends in the city, Frances and Roma; and then another business venture came in – The Meat Bag Guimaras. Now, I distribute vacuumed sealed ready-to-cook spare ribs in Guimaras every week. Pangkabuhayan, byan.

Most of all, I am thankful to all the people that surround me for just being there, ready to listen and help out.

********

Yes, this crisis has brought out the worst but also the best in humanity.

And don’t allow it to get the better of you. Don’t let it become bigger. Subong palang, paayuha na. Reach out and help yourself. Cooperate and be strong.

Divert. Divert. And. Divert.

Friend, you are not alone because COVID-19 has also tested my mental health; and I DID NOT LET IT OUTSMART ME and so can you.

And if you do feel this, congratulations! You have a brain. 🙂

 

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