All dressed up and with no where to go, a gross understatement of 2020. For some, the Covid-19 enforced isolation is more than an inconvenient truth, it is a tumultuous reality that threatens to trigger depression, anxiety, or self-harming behaviors. Pamela Bridgeman, LCSW, MAC, CCTP, and CEO of A Healing Journey Counseling and Consultation, L.L.C., talks about mental health issues and some solutions.
Depression is on the rise in our communities. “The recent spike of non-clinical depression is largely due to factors of isolation, the inability to interact with others, and loneliness.” explains, Bridgeman. “I see many people who express their depression in fear of the unknown, largely fear of rejection. An elderly patient of mine, recently reached out to me with concerns of abandonment, after a nephew had rescinded an invitation to a backyard cookout.
This patient was feeling hurt, overwhelmed and depressed; experiencing the scenario as a personal rejection. She was exhibiting irrational thoughts of abandonment. Taking much time to explore the situation, she came to terms with her nephew’s concern for her health and desire to protect her from any possible exposure to Covid-19 while on his watch.” Bridgeman recounts many similar reactions to isolation in seniors and children alike.
What are some signs that you or a loved one might be experiencing depression? “I have seen depression manifest itself in many ways. I have been seeing a lot of overeating. Nearly half of my clients have put on weight, suggesting comfort eating to help sooth their depression or anxiety. In adolescent girls there has been an increase of self-harming behavior in response to the isolation.” explains, Bridgeman.
Encouragingly Bridgeman adds, “There are lots of things people can do to help address feelings of depression. Participate in calming activities like adult coloring books, sit on the back porch and soak up some Vitamin D from the sun. Sunshine can be very helpful as can journaling. If you see a loved one struggling, be available to them. Sit down with them or call them. Kick your feet up for a while in casual conversation. Show them, ‘I am interested in you.’”
While the pandemic seems to be drawing out with no real end in sight, some people are really struggling with the notion that things won’t be back to normal anytime soon. As everyone continues to navigate through the isolation and loneliness, keep in mind that we are all in this together. Reach out to others, for your sake and theirs. It is together, we will come out of this healthy and strong.