Dr. Sid—endearingly just called “Sid” by his peers, colleagues, and fellow healthcare workers—made his way through the city in the early morning darkness. For fifteen years, he’d traveled this way, but the ordinarily busy city was now quiet, a sad reminder of the pandemic’s impact. He cranked the heater as a shiver crept up his spine at the thought of what lay ahead of him.
Mary1 had a history of mood swings, depression, anxiety, and PTSD from childhood sexual abuse. Her years growing up were in a chaotic and disruptive home, especially after her alcoholic father deserted her and her mother. She had experienced a hard time growing up with parental neglect, physical, and emotional abuse. Her post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) returned after the hurricane with a vengeance.
My journey from crises to a career in medicine and mental health began early in life.
Growing up in the rural countryside, I loved to run and play, in the open fields and woods, with my friends and dog. I became good at swimming and other sports. Even though polio was in the news with pictures of children paralyzed from the untreatable illness—there was no effective treatment or vaccine. I felt invincible and in robust health. But with a turn of fate, the virus found me one summer day.
To ensure a safe journey through the present hazardous times of the COVID-19 pandemic, make wise choices.
Be vigilant to protect yourself and others from one of the most virulent and destructive viruses of the century. Keep tuned to the latest news and recommendation from reputable sources, but be careful to avoid any politically motivated misinformation. The COVID-19 infections and spread will continue until effective anti-viral drugs, vaccines, adequate testing, and contact tracing are available.
Recognition and management of fear and anxiety are essential to maintain healthy emotions and mood. Cascading anxiety can contribute to emotional collapse and severe depression.
Fear can paralyze a person with a loss of productivity, effectiveness, and quality of life. Unchecked fear with worry can build to loss of confidence, insecurity, and significant emotional states like anxiety, panic, and depression. Today’s unique atmosphere of a viral COVID-19 pandemic is overwhelming for many. Our nation is experiencing a collapsing economy, with the devastating effect of an enormous number of people dying from the viral illness.
Information evolves, and in something like a pandemic, the story changes daily.
The threat of severe health impairment, death, or significant mood impairment, brings up many questions and concerns. A desperate and frightened caller might seek answers to their current perplexing, pandemic-related situation: updated information, a different perspective, and a broader view can be helpful.
COVID-19 emerged as a new frightening and dangerous respiratory virus with many deaths due to a lack of immunity and natural protection.
The deadly virus has had a devastating impact globally and taken an enormous toll on the lives of vulnerable individuals and communities. As with any natural or human-made disasters, a time comes for gradual containment, mitigation, rebuilding, healing of wounds, and revelation of deeper truths and knowledge to ensure a better and safer future.
With a catastrophic pandemic as COVID-19 (SARS-CoV2) with exposure to overwhelming circumstances and a high number of deaths, survivors have to manage the aftermath of potentially occurring anxiety, grief, major depression, and PTSD.
Mental health services have, at times, been overwhelmed because of an inadequate number of available trained professionals and preparedness to handle such a high demand on available resources.
Does COVID-19 have favorite human hosts that are its preferred place to infect, live, and thrive? If so, what will be the key to the prevention of future infection and recurrences of the sometimes deadly respiratory virus?
Control of such a highly contagious viral illness is unlikely, especially in the short term, as universal compliance with social distancing in our society appears to become more attenuated with time, partisan political ideas, and the degree of confusing information.
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