At a time when masks have completely changed people’s appearance and no one is seen smiling anywhere, a psychiatrist from Bloemfontein is more concerned about the emotional aspect of the Covid-19 pandemic than about the disease itself.
Dr. Jeannine van den Berg, a psychiatrist at Bloemcare Psychiatric Hospital, says people must now persevere and survive by making creative plans for each problem on a daily basis.
She spoke about the psychological challenges for people at that time and the emotional impact of this viral disease in stormy times where numbers are rising daily and South Africa now has the highest incidence of coronavirus in the world at five.
One hears more and more of people taking their own lives – and this in a country where there were already an average of 23 cases before the restriction.
“We now have to help where we can and show each other we care,” she says.
In the Free State, July was a dark month. Two brilliant young men killed themselves. First André Jordaan (18), deputy head boy and residence head boy of Hoërskool Staatspresident Swart in Brandfort, and then Stephen Nieuwoudt (19), first-year student at the University of Pretoria, whose body was found in the Platberg nature reserve at Harrismith with a gunshot wound is. He was buried Saturday.
KwaZulu-Natal businessman Gavin Saville, 48, was also reported to have posted his farewell letter on Facebook before killing himself.
Apparently, his business, Broad Horizon Hospitality Solutions, was doing well until the state of restraint made things go awry.
The suicide of Lodie Weihmann (77), apparently a depression sufferer, who killed himself with a knife in the heart in his townhouse in Pellissier, was also reported in Bloemfontein last month. Before that, he shot his wife, Annette, who is in a wheelchair. She survived.
The restriction has a great impact on people’s lives and mental health, says dr. Van den Berg. For example, people can not visit restaurants or coffee shops, children can not visit their friends, talk and relax and sports played with friends are also a thing of the past.
“People can no longer go to gyms to get rid of frustrations, but rather sit now
fearful and anxious in their abodes and hiding behind masks on the street. ”
She says people who are now admitted to psychiatric hospitals are the proverbial ears of the hippopotamus, because the majority of the hippopotamus lies invisibly in the communities.
“Psychiatric illnesses are on the rise and almost every second or third person knows of someone who has considered putting an end to everything or has done so,” she says.
The news in the media is generally negative, while people now need good news like articles or TV shows that tell them how to survive the Covid-19 tsunami.
She emphasizes that one must now guard against fear taking over.
“We can not just sit in glass cubicles and stare at each other with masks. People need to be able to see each other smile again.
“People should be encouraged to relax in nature and to exercise.”
Van den Berg says that in these times there are two things that are needed – a strong head and a good immune system.
“If you suffer from depression or are anxious, get help and take your pills.”
People should also be sensitive to the minds of others who have a family history of suicide. It is also now necessary for people to get enough sleep, stay in their routine, eat healthy foods such as fruits and vegetables, and increase vitamin D levels by eating eggs and spinach regularly, among other things.
“Also get enough sun during the day,” she says.
According to her, suicide lights are like someone:
• His / her behavior changes and begins to withdraw;
• shows sleep or eating disorders;
• Often speaks of death, is sad and no longer enjoys anything;
• Becoming reckless; or
• Neglected personal care.
She says it is important to talk about emotions when, for example, a parent has lost his or her job. But also talk about the future, solutions and hope.
“For every negative thought, three positive thoughts should be raised.”
What does depression look like?
One has to look at the genetic component of depression – especially in young children or if there is a family history.
“Young children will often express depression and anxiety as medical illnesses as: ‘My magic or our cup hurts.’ ”
It is important to listen to it.
There are also people who say that they feel depressed, worthless or useless, do not experience pleasure, have sleep disorders, have problems with concentration and memory, or have low energy and drive. There are also people who tell you that they “wish they were dead”.
It is important that parents teach their children to always look for a solution to a problem and they learn “that we must always make plans”.
She says it is important that people do not think too much now, rather do something.
“Go paint a room, make a garden, set up a new menu or play or walk the dog.”
The challenge is to make creative plans for problems and not sit and think all the time, but do something real. “Be positive.”
“Even though the virus tsunami feels like a gas explosion around you every day, keep a strong head and make a plan for every problem every day. Nurture positive thoughts and creativity. ”
Van den Berg says she is a fighter for a quality life. The following does not appear for free on her consulting room door at Bloemcare: “And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count ,: it’s the life in your years.” – Abraham Lincoln