A Covid19 World
It is of course no secret that the entire world has been turned upside down due to the Covid19 pandemic. Essential workers such as teachers and nurses are now considered heroes, whereas celebrities and sports stars are not playing a part in our thoughts at all (With the possible exception of the actors we are binge watching during isolation).
People of the World are currently stuck at home as a result of mandated isolation. Some like myself are still going to work whereas many no longer have jobs to go to. This global pandemic, is like nothing most of us have ever seen.
To date, there have been in excess of 3.5 million confirmed cases of covid19 worldwide and a number of these individuals are left with permanent health concerns such as impaired lung function and damage to other organs such as the heart and kidneys. Coupled with more than a quarter of a million confirmed covid19 related deaths and the impact on family and friends of those who have succumbed, covid19 is cutting a swathe of destruction around the globe
The World, for a large part has been shut down, people are stuck in their homes and we are starting to see the adverse affects of this forced isolation. But it will come to an end.
Mandated isolation and the accompanying restrictions have impacted all our lives to varying degrees, but has been essential in controlling the spread of covid19 and limiting the death toll.
The economic impacts on a personal, national and global scale will be felt for many years. Rising unemployment due, not only to job losses, but to the closure of businesses and even entire industries will see many peoples live change forever.
Individuals where part of their identity is linked to careers they no longer have, are but one of many groups that may well struggle post pandemic. This would include industries that may well be altered forever such as Tourism, Arts, Entertainment and Music.
The Unseen Victims
Among the many who are and will suffer as a result of this pandemic are the unseen victims, those who are suffering indirectly from this insidious virus and the quarantining and isolation.
Domestic abuse, depression and mental health issues, relationship breakdowns and addiction concerns are all rising as a result of the enforced quarantining.
Reports of domestic abuse have risen to such an alarming rate during covid19 quarantining that The United Nations has called for urgent action. Of course, this is just the reported cases. A Personal Safety Survey conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics in 2005 estimates as little as 30% of cases are reported.
During quarantine, everyone's patience is tested, no team sports or gyms, children home schooled and constantly demanding attention or something to do, no catch ups for coffee or a drink, in fact often no socializing other than online. Couple this with the financial stresses of losing a job and any underlying personal matters and a perfect storm ensues.
It is vital that as a society we keep in touch with friends and monitor their well being. Help does exist even during quarantine. It is however important to note, that anyone who is currently a victim of domestic abuse may find it extremely difficult to call for help even if they wanted to.
With the abuser and the abusee/s all unable to leave the house it may well be unsafe to call for help. This is where us as friends need to step up and should we believe an abuse is taking place call for help yourself on their behalf.
Help is available through several sources, but all advise recommends calling for Police assistance ( In Australia call 000 ). There is also a variety of organizations that can offer support or information on topics such as emergency accommodation, for example The Department of Social Services , Reachout or White Ribbon Australia .
Another area that is not spoken about, is the strain the enforced quarantine is placing on peoples relationships. Spending every hour of every day in your home can quickly bring to the surface, issues that time and distance would normally disarm.
Unfortunately, many relationships and marriages will falter during lock-down if not dealt with. Do not fall into the trap of allowing things to fester, thinking you can deal with them "after all this is over".
Help is only a phone call away, as there are a myriad of relationship counselors available. Whilst it may well be hard to swallow your pride and admit there is an issue, surely your relationship is worth saving. A quick online search of counselors in your area will reveal many options or you could simply organize a telehealth call with your GP who can point you in the right direction. For further information Relationships Australia is a good resource.
Another issue that is escalating is alcohol and substance abuse and addiction. Many people turn to alcohol and drugs in times of stress or boredom and quarantine is supplying both. My advice is to be aware of your intake and perhaps limit it to the weekends. Try to ensure that your drinking or usage remains on par with pre-lockdown levels.
If you feel your partner, housemate or friends consumption is escalating try to intervene, or at least seek advice. Again your local GP is a great place to start and during lock-down most GP's are offering Telehealth phone appointments. Other places to seek advice or help include Reachout , Drinkwise or the Alcohol and Drug Foundation.
Mental health is in itself something of a silent pandemic, affecting millions around the world. However in times such as these, there will be many people experiencing mental health and depression for the first time.
The first thing to note regarding mental health is that it is NOT a sign of weakness and that the sooner you seek help the easier it can be to treat. Signs that you or someone you know may be suffering from depression during quarantine may include an increase in alcohol or drug use, an increase in aggressive behavior, irritability, not finding anything enjoyable, a change in sexual desire or activity, poor sleep, loss of appetite or over-eating, a lack of energy, headaches or muscular pain and a general distancing from others.
Quite often, the best first step is talking, whether that be to a loved one, family, friend or a professional. That will depend very much on the individual, who may not want to speak to some they do or do not know.
If you or someone you know is showing signs of mental health issues of any kind, there are plenty of online resources loaded with great advice. A telehealth call to your local GP can be a great starting place, as can be one of the many online resources such as The Black Dog Institute ,Beyond Blue or Lifeline. Health Direct also offers great advice on helping someone with depression.
Whilst many of us are struggling with the restrictions to our lives, it is important that we remember a few things.
Firstly, remember to look out for family and friends, keep in touch more regularly, a quick phone or video call to just check in. At the same time, we need to be looking out for any signs that our family and friends are not coping as well as they are saying they are. Then, if need be, step in and help.
Help can mean, more frequent calls, a visit if allowed or contacting the required services. Lastly, just remember, this will all be over and whilst things may not be the same there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Divorced and nearly 50 I rediscovered who I was.