Depression and anxiety have become increasingly prevalent mental health concerns in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has had a profound impact on individuals' lives, leading to significant changes in daily routines, increased social isolation, economic hardships, and the fear of contracting the virus. These factors, among others, have contributed to a rise in mental health issues, including depression and anxiety.
The pandemic also shed light into issues we often suppressed or masked by staying busy or by engaging in activities that distracted us from underlying problems in our lives. With the need for mental health providers, I've started volunteering my time to help individuals and families in need. This work has been extremely rewarding and helps me give back to my community by building a kinder and more compassionate world.
Now, let's talk a little more about Depression and Anxiety...
Post-COVID depression refers to a depressive state that occurs after an individual has experienced the acute phase of the pandemic. It can be characterized by persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, low energy, changes in appetite and sleep patterns, difficulty concentrating, and a loss of interest or pleasure in previously enjoyed activities. People may also experience feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or thoughts of self-harm. The challenges and uncertainties brought about by the pandemic, such as the loss of loved ones, financial struggles, and prolonged social distancing measures, can exacerbate these symptoms.
Anxiety disorders, on the other hand, involve excessive and persistent worry, fear, and apprehension. Post-COVID anxiety refers to anxiety symptoms that arise in the aftermath of the pandemic. It can manifest as generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, or specific phobias. Common symptoms include restlessness, irritability, difficulty sleeping, racing thoughts, difficulty concentrating, and physical symptoms like rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, and muscle tension. The fear of contracting the virus, concerns about health and safety, and the uncertainties about the future can contribute to heightened anxiety levels.
Are depression or anxiety impacting your life?
It's important to note that the impacts of depression and anxiety can vary from person to person, and individuals may experience a range of symptoms with different intensities. Factors such as pre-existing mental health conditions, personal resilience, social support systems, and access to mental healthcare can influence the severity and duration of these conditions.
If you or someone you know is experiencing depression or anxiety, it is crucial to seek professional help. Mental health professionals, such as therapists, psychologists, and psychiatrists, can provide appropriate diagnosis, therapy, and medication if necessary. Additionally, self-care practices, such as maintaining a routine, engaging in physical exercise, connecting with loved ones, practicing relaxation techniques, and seeking social support, can also be beneficial in managing symptoms.
Vanessa is a Registered Clinical Social Work Intern with the State of Florida and MSW graduate from the University of Central Florida. Her areas of focus are adolescents, grief, pre/postpartum, and coaching through major life changes like divorce and career changes. Her client centered approach seeks to understand the individual and the systems in which they interact. She uses positive approaches with an emphasis of building resilience and living an authentic life. Vanessa has launched corporate well-being programs at a global level and supports organizations wanting to embark in an employee well-being journey. She is certified by the University of South Florida in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, and is a Registered Yoga Teacher though the Yoga Alliance.