Battling the Effects of Depression During the COVID-19 Pandemic

 Are we taking care of our mental health? This is the common question that comes into our minds behind our homes’ walls in this COVID-19 pandemic. The circumstances brought by the coronavirus disease changed the way we look at the world’s situation. As the COVID-19 cases continue to grow around the world, it is easy for us to feel overwhelmed with despair and hopelessness. Each of these leads to one single thing: depression.

 Initially, depression is a common mental disorder that affected 240 million people globally. One of its characteristics includes a lack of interest or pleasure and persistent sadness. Because of the extensive imposition of lockdown measures worldwide, our typical days were changed in a blink of an eye.  As we undergo the imposed health measures, economic uncertainty, loss of jobs, isolation, anxiety, and the daily news of COVID-19 effects greatly affected our feelings and emotions.

(Marami sa atin ang nababalisa, nahihiwalay sa ating mga kaibigan at pamilya, nawalan ng trabaho at naistress dahil sa sari-saring mga news tungkol sa COVID-19. Lahat ng mga ito ang nakakapag-trigger ng sakit na tinatawag natin na Depression.)

Each one of us did not see this coming. It has already been four months since Neneng, an Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) in Kuwait, lost its job. Then comes the lockdown measures implemented in the mid of May. Losing her job made her cut off her daily expenses. Without money, she cannot pay for her daily rent and meals. What is worse is she cannot send money back to her family in the Philippines that also has the same situation as her here in Kuwait.

(Bilang isang OFW, sa atin nakadepende ang mga mahal natin sa buhay na makapaghanap ng pera na ating maipapadala sa kanila doon sa Pinas. Dahil sa COVID-19 outbreak na ito, karamihan sa mga kapwa natin nga land-based OFW, nawalan din ng trabaho. Napakalaki talaga ang epekto ng COVID-19 pandemic sa ating buhay.)

Ways COVID-19 Pandemic Triggers Depression

As we battle the effects of depression, it is important to understand how the COVID-19 pandemic triggers depression. (Sa bawat problema na ating dinadanas, sinusubukan natin na intindihin ang mga ugat nito.)

1. Loneliness and Isolation is depression’s main fuel.

 On the scientific outlook, scientists have considered that Human beings are naturally social creatures. It is why we always look for support, love, and close contact with our friends and family. Whenever this is cut or becomes insufficient, it may trigger depression or worsen its existing symptoms. Even the rules of social distancing can leave you feeling isolated and lonely. (Iyong dumating ka sa point ng buhay mo na parang hinaharap mo ang iyong mga problema alone.)

2. Too much anxiety can result in depression.

 The COVID-19 disease is an enemy that we cannot see. We can barely identify its infection unless medical testing and coronavirus symptoms occur. The fear and our uncertainty about the COVID-19 cases are adding up to our everyday worries. As human beings, it is natural for us to worry about things. However, when things go out of control, panic and depression become its consequences. 

(Katulad nalang sa ating sitwasyon kung saan hindi na tayo lumalabas sa ating mga bahay. Marami sa atin ang natatakot bumili n gating mga pagkain. Dahil hindi kasi natin alam kung saan sa paligid natin ang COVID-19 nga virus. Kahit sa bilihan natin ng mga pagkain, maraming mga balita ang dumating tungkol sa pagsara ng mga coop. Especially sa mga kababayan natin na nasa epicenter kung saan marami ang COVID-19 cases, napakahirap talaga ang paglabas.)

3. Rising Stress Levels is also a trigger.

 When the COVID-19 pandemic came, we experienced a significant change in our lives. We faced many job losses, the death of our loved ones, financial difficulties, and being diagnosed with the infectious COVID-19 disease. All of these are major stressors that will contribute greatly to our depression levels.

Coping Up Techniques against Depression

 As each one tries to get to be used to this new lifestyle of staying home, we often practice unhealthy ways of coping with the situation. The loneliness and boredom within our homes as we struggle financially can further lead to an unhealthy lifestyle. It includes vitamins or drug abuse, drinking too much, and overeating many junk foods. These are the everyday things that most people do to deal with stress and lift their moods. 

However, all of these cannot possibly help you. Many medical experts and psychologists gave their pieces of advice that we can follow to live through this quarantine period. Here are the following:

1. First of all, you must change your focus.

During the stage of depression, almost everything is viewed through the lens of negativity. Therefore, changing our attention to other things will help us become more cheerful as we entertain ourselves. You can do it by distracting yourself as you find simple sources of your joy. It could be through a phone call to your family and friends, learning a new cooking recipe in Youtube videos, growing your plants as you spend your time with nature. Actually, there are a lot of things that you can do within your house.

 Limiting your exposure to news is a good thing to do. Although you want to stay informed all the time, too much news can boost your negativity and fear. To make yourself busy, you can maintain a daily routine that includes exercise and meditation. Through this, you can put the fear of COVID-19 disease out of your mind.

2. Engage with others in new ways.

 The imposed lockdown measures and physical distancing are not an obstacle to engaging our loved ones and other people. It should not be a reason to let yourself feel isolated and alone. Because of technology, there are plenty of ways to maintain your social connection with everyone. 

 One can get relief from depression if they find someone that they can share their problems with. Being open about your situation is the right thing for the loved ones to be aware of your struggles. (Especially sa ating mga kapwa Pilipino dito sa Kuwait, ang pagcontact sa ating mga mahal sa buhay ang magbibigay sa atin ng lakas bilang OFW. Marami din pong mga Facebook pages para sa ating mga kababayan ditso sa Kuwait kung saan pwede manghingi ng tulong, mapa-financial man o emotional support. Ang important sa panahong ito ay ang lakas na loob na tumawag sa ating mga kapwa kababayan o sa Embassy tungkol sa ating mga problema.)

 To further support our fellow Filipinos in Kuwait, I have created a Kuwait Directory Ebook that can help every individual as we go through this pandemic. As an OFW advocate with my passion for writing, it is my mission to assist our Kababayans through the gift of information. The ebook existed after many of our Kababayans came to me for help.

(Habang hinaharap natin ang pagsubok sa COVID-19 pandemic, panatalihin nating ligtas ang ating mga sarili sa pamamagitan ng pagsunod ng mga alituntunin sa mga awtoridad.  Mag-ingat po tayo para sa lahat.)

MUST READ AND SHARE!

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Author

  • Gracia Amor, A Multi-Award winner blogger; Presidential Award; Mass Media Advocacy Award, Philippine Expat Blog Award, and Most Outstanding Balikbayan Award. An OFW and Investment Literacy Advocate. Her first book, the Global Filipino Bloggers OFW Edition, reviewed and launched at Philippine Embassy Kuwait. Became a certified Registered Financial Planner of the Philippines (RFP), with specialization in Stock Market. Currently, a position PH stock trader in PSE. Digital Marketing Specialist. A proud founder of Teachers Specialist Org in Kuwait TSOK, Filipino Bloggers in Kuwait FBK. A Poet and a Photo hobbyist in between.

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