Category: Depression

COVID-19 Lockdown Guide: Ways to Mind Your Mental Health

The coronavirus is an extremely infectious disease. At its onset, most states in the U.S. implemented lockdown and stay-at-home orders to curb the spread of the virus, confining people to their homes.

Though some restrictions have eased, controlling the transmission of the virus remains to be the number one goal. Social distancing measures are still in place to avoid overwhelming the country’s healthcare system and many people with health issues or vulnerable family members opt to stay at home. Physical health still takes priority as hospitals try to nurse COVID-19 patients back to health.

However, the coronavirus pandemic threatens more than one’s physical well-being. Being confined to one place for a prolonged period can have negative psychological effects, including stress, anxiety, fear, loneliness, and even depression.

Mental Health Impact of the Pandemic

The rise of a new contagious disease is stressful. People are terrified of the possibility of contracting the virus and what can happen if they do. And they grow more anxious each day as the pandemic continues with little to no signs of progress.

Because of the lockdown, the pandemic has led to a staggering unemployment rates in the country. Millions of Americans are worried about putting food on their tables and struggling to make ends meet without a stable source of income. This worry causes increased levels of anxiety.

Apart from the disease itself, physical distancing and quarantine measures can cause feelings of loneliness and isolation, impacting mental health.

Confinement is especially difficult for those who are already struggling with pre-existing mental health conditions. The sudden change in one’s routine can cause stress for people with mental health issues.

Plus, stay-at-home orders can make it difficult for them to access activities and things they normally rely on for comfort. Some people might take a walk in the park, go shopping, hit the gym, or visit their friends to feel better. But they can’t do these things at this time.

Additionally, lockdown measures make it difficult for mental health patients to seek the medical services and medication they need.

sad woman

Taking Care of Your Mental Health during Lockdown

The World Health Organization (WHO) shares tips on protecting your mental health during the coronavirus quarantine.

First, if you have a mental health condition, make sure that you continue to take your prescribed medication and that you have a way of restocking your meds. Find out how you can keep in touch with your therapist or mental health specialist. Some private practices offer telehealth therapy services, so you can receive the support you need during these stressful times.

Stay in touch with people whom you can turn to for support if your mood or mental health declines, whether they’re your family, friends, or romantic partner.

For the general public, the WHO suggests minimizing the amount of news you consume to avoid overwhelming yourself. Get updates only at specific times of the day to keep yourself informed. Establish a daily routine. Go to bed at similar times each day and make sure you get an adequate amount of sleep. Eat healthy meals and try to sneak in some physical activity into your daily schedule.

Additionally, the WHO also suggests limiting your alcohol consumption. Too much alcohol is associated with increased risk of infections and adverse treatment outcomes.

Lastly, take note of the following emergency hotlines for when you’re in a mental health crisis:

Disaster Distress Helpline: 1-800-985-5990
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
Also, note the hotlines of mental health support services near your location.

Mental Health Support Services in Connecticut

The Center for Cognitive and Behavioral Health (CCBH) in Westport provides comprehensive, individualized mental health services. We provide telehealth therapy services so you can receive the support you need during the quarantine. Our psychotherapists are committed to helping you navigate your way through mental, emotional, and behavioral challenges.

Contact us via phone, email, or the online form to schedule an appointment.

Newly graduate students

Graduation Blues: Overcoming Post-College Depression

Life’s biggest transitional periods are accompanied by feelings of anxiety. This includes entering marriage, the infamous quarter-life crisis, empty nest syndrome, and retirement.

A less commonly discussed transitional phase is the change that follows after college. Students may feel nostalgic after having to leave behind the familiar academic environment — friendships with peer groups, being a part of a tight-knit community, participating in local interest groups, and attending parties.

It’s more than just heavy-hearted nostalgia for others, however. Sometimes, fresh graduates experience post-college depression, or the extreme sadness and impaired functioning during the transition from school to the workplace. A person’s inability to move from student life to adult life is an issue that requires serious attention.

Post-Graduate Depression Is Underreported

Therapists claim that post-college depression is understudied and underreported. Sheryl Ziegler, a licensed professional counselor, believes that young adults can be difficult to study and categorize from a research perspective. On a similar vein, some people shy away from talking about post-college gloom, because culture dictates that graduation is a “joyful time.”

Furthermore, studies about post-graduate depression are difficult to find. There is a multitude of studies analyzing the causes of depression among individuals between 18-25 years old, but data on the blues that students experience following graduation tends to dramatically dwindle.

The symptoms of post-uni depression include lethargy, pessimism, a general sense of hopelessness, and in some cases, substance abuse. Usually, those who experience the blues are unmotivated to find a job.

When Expectations Fail to Meet Reality

Statistics show that Millennials have the highest rates of depression and anxiety than any other generational group. Job hunting and workplace issues, in particular, fall high on their list of concerns.

A study from the University of Pittsburgh concludes that Millennials showing signs of depression are also prone to be more active on social media apps like Facebook and Instagram. The habit, however, only creates feelings of helplessness and the narrow view that everyone else has their life figured out.

Getting Out of the Post-Uni Slump

Suffering from depression while unemployed can make a person feel like they’re stuck in a slump. Seeking out professional help and talking to a psychiatrist in Westport is one way to deal with the situation positively and proactively. Experts also suggest overcoming feelings of depression through the following:

  • Being realistic – New graduates need to acknowledge the current market and where their skills fit in. It’s impossible to reach one’s professional goals straight out of college, after all.
  • Focusing on skills – People shouldn’t feel discouraged if their college successes fail to make an impact on the “real world.” It helps to focus on how past triumphs were achieved, and then think that current issues are just a new set of challenges to face and overcome.
  • Recognize improvements – Sometimes, life doesn’t go according to plan. Try to stay positive, though. Focus on areas of improvement to avoid making the same mistakes again.
  • Communicate with family and friends – Parents and peers can provide support to struggling individuals during major, life-changing transitions. It helps to be open about job hunting and the frustrations that come along with it.

If you’re experiencing post-college depression, you can count on The Center for Cognitive and Behavioral Health for help. We treat depressive disorders using evidence-based psychotherapy and techniques to improve your quality of life.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment.