It’s been over a year since the pandemic has started. Since March, all of our lives have turned upside down. When we mostly enjoyed going out with friends as our escape from life’s hectic circumstances, we found ourselves not even allowed to go outside our houses, or even seeing vulnerable family members and friends. When with our instinct, we need and value the personal and human touch, we are always pushed back from being close to anyone, and implementing social distancing wherever we are, even when grocery shopping.
The pandemic has impacted the world by all means, whether socially, economically, educationally, technologically, and even psychologically. We are all looking forward to when this nightmare will end, especially with the vaccination taking place. This looks like a little light at the end of the tunnel.
However, with this rush to go back to normal, it is crucial to shed light on the pandemic’s aftermath, which quite a few tackle it down.
It is scientifically proven that it takes from around 18 days to 254 days for a person to form a habit, and on average, 66 days for a new behaviour to become automatic. This narrows down the topic of this article, will we really ever go back to normal?
The psychological impacts of COVID are inevitable, especially to those who are very vulnerable and get affected more intensely with external situations.
First, which I think is quite significant, social anxiety levels might increase among some people.
It’s been too long since everyone attended an event with a group of people, or interacted with a massive crowd at a close distance. Social distancing might impact individuals by making them more prone to be introverted, avoid conversations with groups, and even be increasingly shy. Studies have shown that social distancing increased loneliness and depression, a concerning mental health state that can’t be addressed on the spot. It needs to be approached correctly, acknowledged, and dealt with professionally. This approach indeed takes a long time, and won’t just go away after the pandemic. On the contrary, it starts to show within and post-pandemic.
Nevertheless, as some of you might know, Hypochondria. For those who might not have heard of this term, hypochondria is the excessive fear of illness. This comes significantly into play in covid times. As we might have seen from the news, the coronavirus is affecting everybody in different ways because the genetic composition of the individual alters the symptoms of covid. Besides, we cannot overlook the impact of the fake news that was going around regarding this virus. All these factors and the uncertainty have increased and intensified the worry of developing a mental illness, possibly developing into hypochondria. To add, people were not only worried about themselves. There is some sort of fear and guilt to meet the vulnerable and transmit the virus to them. This idea keeps going back and forth in everyone’s minds.
We can never forget to mention OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Behavior) that can develop from an individual’s obsessive behaviour to wash their hands continually, spray alcohol on everything, etc.
Last but not least, due to social distancing and the recommendations to stay at home when possible, Agoraphobia in return comes into play as well. Agoraphobia is the excessive fear to go outside because it is considered an unsafe environment. During the pandemic, someone’s home is regarded as the ultimate safety, while going out is an environment that made him/her susceptible.
In conclusion, while looking forward to this pandemic to be over, we should all be aware of the aftermath it leaves behind, especially when dealing with people around us. We might not know who has been severely overwhelmed by everything going around. Everyone goes through the same circumstances, but the threshold and the capability to deal with events are quite different.