Mental Health Monday: Mental Health in Lockdown

In South Africa we prepared for a twenty one day lockdown. Before we even hit this date we were told by the President that lifting the lockdown at twenty days would be premature and very risky. It was then further extended to the end of April. Emotions ran high. Twenty one days had seemed like a hard ask but people had prepared themselves for that. Asking for the lockdown to be extended drove people into the throes of despair.

This was not the only reason South Africans were feeling shaky. In speaking to friends and family everyone was experiencing so many emotions and being stuck in your house meant that these emotions were heightened. Amped up. Like the rest of the world anxiety and uncertainty about the future was up there as emotions alot of us were experiencing. Let’s face it the world as we know it has changed forever. For some reason I have this picture of us emerging after lockdown shielding our eyes from the sun emerging like cave dwellers!

I found last week to be particularly trying. I was put on increased immunosuppressants two weeks before lockdown so essentially I went into lockdown two weeks before the actual lockdown. Last week the cabin fever became really bad. For those of you outside of South Africa, with our lockdown we are not allowed to go walking in the streets or public areas. You are confined to your house. No cycling, jogging or walking of dogs. It’s literally just Netflix and chill. And eat. Alot of eating. I didn’t feel well last week. I’ve started feeling progressively worse over the past few weeks. I know my Lupus has been acting up but my immunosuppressants, chemo tablets, have also been building up in my system and that could also be causing problems for me. My mood was very low. I was just disinterested in everything. I had zero appetite. Funny that, since I had been eating like a fiend since being on lockdown. I felt caged and out of sorts.

I tried online shopping but it brought me no joy. OMG. Something was seriously going on! I know from previous experience that when I let myself wallow in these feelings for too long it makes it so much harder to get out of. I immediately set out to put things in place to circumvent this downward spiral. I decided I would start small by setting myself daily fitness goals. Maybe if I made the point of doing walking laps outside on the terrace it would lift my mood. You know, sun, fresh air and endorphines.

Well it’s been a struggle to stick to it because I have to get my butt to actually do it. I’m consumed with the murmurings that the lockdown might be lifted or slightly lifted. I’ve decided to stop spending so much time on the news. It can be pretty depressing. The rumours with fake hope are particularly brutal. I’m going to try to continue soldiering on in the hope that I will stick to the exercise regimen. I am going to read more positive things and less news. I know alot of us are feeling the same. Feeling the cabin fever. I also know there are others facing real anxieties around feeding their families and paying the bills. Anxieties around whether they will have jobs or will have to take pay cuts after this.

These are unchartered waters. None of us have been through something like this before. There is no handbook. We’re really just winging. All we have are each other to get through this. Again, let’s help each other. Let’s try and alleviate each others’ anxieties and depression as best we can. Now is an amazing time for random acts of kindness. So let’s go out and be mindful of others and their struggles. I know that makes my crap seem minimal. Help where you can, with whatever you can. Helping really makes one feel good while you make others feel good. No matter how big or small. If you want to get involved in a project, contact me, I know of a few in South Africa.

Tomorrow I will be doing a post on staying sane while working from home. Expect more of a focus on mental health this week. Here are some articles to read about mental health during lock down.

‘Urgent studies needed’ into mental health impact of coronavirus

COVID-19, Lockdown and your mental health

Lockdown mental health

The impact of the nationwide lockdown on mental health


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s