If you were in Spain right now, you’d see barren streets patrolled by police officers checking peoples’ receipts to ensure they are out purchasing food or medicine and not out of their homes for any other reason. At grocery stores, you would see people lined up outside, spaced three meters apart, waiting to be called by an attendant who will retrieve the items they want to buy on their behalf. At pharmacies, many essential medications are running low and being rationed. It is a far cry from ordinary life.
Coping Amidst the Chaos
With disruption becoming the new normal, people are coping in extraordinary ways. Social distancing means staying connected with friends over digital platforms instead of in person. Whatsapp, the universally popular messaging app in Europe, supports the creation of groups that are exploding with events. In order to meet the human need for social contact, people are offering complimentary yoga classes, online therapy sessions, concerts, communal dinners, language classes, and more. Movies, e-books, and playlists are being passed from group to group and endless jokes are flying back and forth. The Spanish resort to humor in times of trouble. It is hard not to think of Bertold Brecht’s famous words:
In the dark times
Will there also be singing?
Yes, there will also be singing.
About the dark times.
Turns out there will be laughter, too.
But Not All Is Ok
While the robust social ties and networks of countries like Spain and Italy are mitigating some of the weight of the moment, a mental health crisis is looming. Nearly half of Chinese citizens surveyed in February reported feelings of coronavirus-related anxiety and hotlines set up throughout the country continue to be overwhelmed. Europe is on the brink of a similar collapse. In response, Mental Health Europe has published pandemic-specific care guidelines, online therapy is being offered for free, and many local psychologists are passing around Whatsapp messages providing complementary service to anyone in need.
This Is Only the Beginning
While Europe’s superior social services and naturally more communal culture play a big role in containing the looming mental health crisis, these measures will not be enough. Leaders are claiming we are in the early stages of this pandemic and its true impact has yet to be felt. In the coming weeks and months, the damaging effect of isolation will take its toll, economic pressures will mount, uncertainty will gain weight, and it will be ever more difficult to maintain a grip on your sanity. Europe is at a tipping point…but anxiety is mounting in the U.S. as well.
What Should You Be Doing?
The experience of first China and then Europe is a bellwether. Now is the time to ensure your mental health treatment plan accounts for the unique challenges of the present moment. Be certain that, even in quarantine, you will have access to needed medications. Ask your therapist to move sessions online; if this is not possible, consider digital alternatives. Check in on your friends and loved ones, set up plans to stay in touch over distance, and remember that only collective action will get us through this.
Contact Evansville Ketamine Treatment Center
Evansville Ketamine Treatment Center is the area’s leading provider of ketamine infusions for depression anxiety and chronic pain. If you are struggling with heightened anxiety or depression as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic—or for any other reason—we encourage you to contact us to find out if you are a candidate for ketamine infusions.