Is It Just The "COVID Blues" Or Is It "Depression"? When To Seek Help?
Now that we are more than one year into the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us are feeling emotionally distressed due to constant worry, uncertainty, and dramatic changes happening to us and our lifestyle. While it’s normal to have frequent thoughts of COVID-19 as the whole world is currently battling with such a pandemic situation, be prudent if these thoughts become more frequent or start interfering with your life.
Read this article further and get to know how to identify and deal with COVID-related mood changes (called COVID Blues) - and when to seek professional assistance for a more serious mental health condition.
Recognize The Symptoms Of COVID-19 Blues
Different people may experience different symptoms, but there are some symptoms to particularly watch out for. If you don’t feel like yourself anymore, that may be an early warning sign that you may have COVID Blues. You could find that you no longer enjoy doing the activities that you cherished the most. Other common symptoms of COVID Blues include:
- Feelings of sadness, emptiness, tearfulness, or hopelessness
- Sleeping too little or too much
- Eating too little or too much
- Losing up interest in things you used to enjoy
- Avoiding communication with friends and family
- Thoughts about harming yourself
With COVID-19 protocols in place, you may not be able to go out for a movie, dine out, play a sport with your friends. This could lead to self-isolation and ultimately COVID Blues.
Take note of how long your symptoms persist
The symptoms of COVID Blues are similar to that of anxiety or depression. The key difference lies in how long these symptoms last.
The blues can come and go in waves, but that isn’t the case with a major depressive episode that persists for at least two weeks. If you are constantly getting distracted from your family or work life, this could be a sign of something more serious.
Don’t toss aside depressive symptoms just because you or your loved one have few moments of joy or happiness occasionally. Being in depression doesn’t mean you won’t have any joyous moments. If you're feeling angry, sad, anxious, or hopeless most of the time, you may need to seek help.
Research says that people who have suffered from depression previously are more likely to experience it in the future also. This makes it even more significant that you recognize the symptoms early and consult a mental health specialist on time.
Also Read: Maskne: How To Treat & Prevent Mask-related Acne Breakouts?
Behave opposite to what your body tells you
Although it may not be easy, doing exactly the opposite of what your body tells you to do can be the best step towards getting yourself out of a depressive episode. When you are depressed, your body will tell you to do everything you can do to stay in depression.
For instance, your body may tell you to avoid something you once enjoyed the most, such as getting out of bed to hit the gym. Once you are actually doing it, you may feel that it wasn’t that bad as you thought it would be. Similarly, instead of self-isolating yourself, talk to your friends and relatives on-call or meet them in person if you can. Rest assured, you’ll actually feel better.
Seek help to manage your mental health issues amid the COVID-19 pandemic
Consulting a psychiatrist or counselor or undergoing cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) could be beneficial for you, but one important thing is to note here is that what works for one may not work for another. In case you previously had suffered depression, look back to things that worked for you then, and plan accordingly.
You should seek help from a professional only when you think you need it and you’re ready for it. Think about the things that made you feel better before the COVID-19 pandemic. You can talk to your loved one, exercise at home, listen to music, etc., to enhance your mood without having to worry about COVID-19 protocols like wearing a mask or social distancing.
Take the help of virtual support to cope with your symptoms
Many of the conventional interventions have gone virtual, thanks to this pandemic! You can have a consultation with a qualified doctor online and get the medications prescribed. You can even join virtual sessions with a counselor or a mental health specialist and treat your symptoms over time.
Yoga, meditation, and relaxing massage are also known to be helpful for enhancing one's mood. Various specialists are now offering virtual yoga classes and on-site massage following all the COVID-19 precautions to minimize the risk of infection.
We are not sure how long the pandemic will last. Regardless of whether you are experiencing COVID Blues or depression, stay calm and take adequate measures to cope with your symptoms. Seek professional help when you think you are constantly sad, restless, irritable, or hopeless as you may have depression. While you are being treated, keep yourself positive by frequently talking to your close friends and family. Be patient and have faith in your counselor, and you’ll notice that things are actually getting better.