What happens when a virus has overpowered the human population, where physical health is a priority , where hiding, running away or suicide instead of quarantine has opened up as a fix, where mental health has taken a step aside, running off in the opposite direction. Now the nature has taken back its course, unfolding, steadily.
In December 2019, Wuhan, Hubein Province, China, the first outbreak of Corona Virus was documented. Within three months, this virus traveled across 6 other continents which led to WHO officially announce it as a Pandemic, on March 11, 2020.
Coronaviruses are a large family of zoonotic viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to severe respiratory diseases. These viruses are able to be transmitted from animals to humans. There are several coronaviruses known to be circulating in different animal populations that have not yet infected humans. COVID-19 is the most recent to make the jump to human infection.
India had its first three positive cases in Kerala, which soon lead to an interstate spread and an increase in overall number of cases. As of now our country is on its second stage of virus spread with a total of 148 active cases. Indian Government has announced the number of preventive measure, the Delhi Government, leading by an example in being the first to close schools and colleges in this time. Private firms are offering work from home facilities, malls and cinema halls closed and a high fall in public transport usage. More than half of the population of the country including students, professionals, and the elderly are on now a lockdown with many of them practising self quarantine.
Corona has obviously led to people taking care of themselves, hoarding sanitizers and masks, rice and wheat. Many of us are, misinformed, misguided about the situation where this utter chaos and panic has lead to unavailability of necessities in hospitals rather than unaffected households. WHO and various public health authorities around the world are trying to contain this pandemic, however, the stress due to this is on its peak and is continuously stimulating. People are scared, with preventive measures and no vaccines to religious institutions on a break from mass gathering, the four walls of residence now only hope to get out of this healthy. But what we have failed to realize is, the pandemic, rumours, social distancing has lead to a crisis in psychological well being of a person.
Feeling stressed is an experience many of us are experiencing currently and it is quite normal in a situation like this. Positive stress that is Eustress guides us towards better measure regarding the matter. Individuals have started taking care of their family more than they used to, a joint family now spends time together, and somehow people in communities are preparing together even if is for the worst. Destress that is the negative counterpart of stress, has not only created panic among people with fake news, but has grown into an economical class system where the wealthy are hoarding food which would last for about at least a month, without realizing that the lower chain can not afford to do so.
Moreover with Delhi on lockdown and other states following this too, the affected community would be of those who earn daily wages, where for them a 3 course meal is a luxury, imagine being out of work for next 15 days. Here the wealthy are storing kilos of grain, and rags won’t be able find enough grain to fill 4 stomachs in a day. Furthermore the condition of their mental health keeps worsening when the stigma associated with Pandemic is revolving in parts of news on social media hence making a challenging situation far more difficult. Another grey area which needs to be considered in times of crisis is of those who already suffer from mental disorder, and how our safety, preventive measures, the panic, is not making things better for them. Their anxiety is already beyond its threshold and they are just suffering, where washing hands as a new habit isn’t easy for those with OCD.
People choosing self isolation while those running away from hospitals, even after being well aware of the danger they can cause to other people, makes us question about the Mental heath of a person in quarantine and why is it of utmost importance to take care of your own mental heath during isolation. There are centres who are providing free counselling, various websites teaching basic self care techniques and doctors answering our questions about the pandemic and ending the panic and confusion caused. To end, it isn’t easy, all of are in this together. We are here, living, surviving each day, but after human beings are a product of nature and we all learn in adversity. Taking care of our loved ones, providing them support, helping each other grow, and letting natural selection choose its own course of action, we will be out this in no time.
Aashita Batra is a student pursuing Psychology Honors from Jamia Millia Islamia.