World Mental Health Day: When is the right time to seek counselling?

Dubai - Examining the psychological challenges Covid-19 has thrown into our lives

By Dr Jyotika Aggarwal

Published: Thu 7 Oct 2021, 3:39 PM

Covid-19 has taken over our lives. It has become a part of our conversations, the information that we see on our social media feeds or television, even what we hear on the radio when we drive. Some of us have been diagnosed with it, while some of us have lost our loved ones to it. While the world showed resilience, with prolonged lockdowns and various mutations, Covid-19 got to all of us, one way or the other. If not physically, then definitely mentally and emotionally. The fear of an unknown enemy has taken a toll on mental health. A lot of people took extreme precautions and were still diagnosed with the illness; this sent a message of how uncontrollable the situation was.

In many countries people tried to gain control over the situation by fighting the Covid-19 norms. However, soon enough they realised the urgent need of the guidelines when they saw the situation escalate. This also forced the global population to realise the magnanimity and intensity of this pandemic, leading to difficulties in sleeping, eating and worsening chronic conditions.

Experts have been seeing significant changes in mental health scenarios, especially as the coronavirus enters its second year with its various mutations. There is a marked rise in depression, stress and stress-related conditions. Many are also afraid of the possibility that these overwhelming emotional concerns could last even after the pandemic ends.

As the world tries to get back to pre-pandemic life, it is still exhausting for people to pick up from where they left off. For an entire year, fear of the virus was deep-rooted in people. With the vaccines, though, people are able to move around more freely and even though the virus still exists, social distancing and wearing of face masks still needs to be followed. This duality is confusing people and causing them distress.

Strength and resilience have been overutilised during this period, and now, as things hopefully start to taper off, experts are noticing pandemic fatigue. People are exhausted, like survivors in a battlefield, their mental resources are used up and many have become numb.

This has been magnified with the lack of knowing when this pandemic will completely end; being psychologically in the dark has been taking a toll on mental health. Managing such emotional burnout alone can be hard on anyone, hence the field of mental health has seen a rise in appointments for therapy.

In such an atmosphere, seeking mental healthcare is essential. So when do you become certain that therapy is non-negotiable? When you begin to feel overwhelmed more often than not, when you feel there is a mental block against doing regular activities, when you feel exhausted even after resting and sleeping for long hours. Sometimes, there is just a sense of feeling low, even though life seems fine. Occasionally, people may over think about things to a point it becomes unhealthy, and that’s when you should visit a therapist. A therapist is someone who will listen, understand and unconditionally respect you. There is 100 per cent confidentiality in therapy. Therapists are professionals who have a perfect insight into what will benefit you; they guide you to find actionable solutions that are likely to solve your issues or help you manage them better. Therapists are trained in scientifically proven therapies, which may sometimes include analysing your past to implement helpful strategies for your difficulties today, or sometimes helping you by reviving your inner compassion and sometimes just using cognitive restructuring.

Therapy is for everyone. Especially in these difficult times, having secure, non-judgmental emotional support can do wonders to your mental health.

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