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Coping with the COVID-19 Pandemic and Depression

March 26, 2020 Jennifer Smith

The COVID-19 pandemic causes me to struggle with depression more than I usually do, but I'm trying to cope in healthy ways. If you're also having trouble coping with your depression during this coronavirus outbreak, maybe some of these ideas can help you, too.

How the Covid-19 Virus Is Hurting My Depression

Too Much Isolation

The COVID-19 virus and my depression are working together to increase my feelings of isolation.

I know we need to stay home during this time. I am practicing that and hoping others do the same during this COVID-19 pandemic. It does become a challenge, though, because some people begin to struggle with feeling isolated.

With my depression, I have a tendency to self-isolate anyway, but this is not healthy for me. I become withdrawn and can spiral down into a major depressive episode. For this reason, I am making a conscious effort right now to participate in as much interaction with other people as is possible and safe.

For example, I talk with and spend time with my husband and children in my home. I am participating in online meetings and have even leaped out of my comfort zone to host an online book club. I'm also spending time outdoors. I find being in nature especially soothing and peaceful during this stressful time we're currently facing. The more I can keep myself active, the less time I have to self-isolate, which is especially important right now since I'm already isolated from others as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Too Many Thoughts

My depression is worsened by COVID-19 because of catastrophizing.

One symptom of depression I deal with is catastrophizing, which is when I think something is or will be much worse than it actually is, or when I imagine the worst-case scenario. As you can probably imagine, this depression symptom has been kicked up a little due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

I've coped with catastrophizing during this pandemic in two ways. The first is distraction and the second is creativity. I've distracted myself through music. I've listened to songs from my middle school years, my high school years, and my college years. I've listened to playlists for novels I'm teaching. I've used television, movies, books, my dogs, baking, cleaning, and organizing as distractions. All of these things have helped me cope with my depression during the COVID-19 pandemic, and I will continue to use them to distract myself as long as it takes.

Tapping into my creative side is also helping me get through this time. I have been painting and sketching. I've been writing poetry and taking photographs. I've also rediscovered my passion for nature study, which is what fueled my sketching and photography ventures over the past week. When I get involved in a book, movie, painting, or sketch, I want my brain to focus on that one task. I make sure to choose something that I think I can get totally lost in so that my mind is less likely to wander back over to the COVID-19 pandemic. I've found both distraction and creativity to be very effective tools for me to use against catastrophizing.

Too Much--Period

The COVID-19 virus is worsening my depression because there is just too much in my head.

With this COVID-19 pandemic situation sometimes I've just had too much in every aspect. There's too much information. I feel confused. The number of cases and fatalities continue to rise. I am heartbroken and feel helpless.

My husband is a nurse at a local hospital. I worry about his health and safety daily. It all gets to be too much for me sometimes, and I feel the panic rising up inside. When this happens, my first step is to practice proper breathing. Once I have my breathing under control, then I practice grounding techniques.

I remind myself of what I learned in therapy. I can only control my actions. I have made a conscious effort not to watch the news. I will check updates on my phone once a day or ask my husband if there's something I absolutely must know. I am also making sure to take time to practice extra self-care during these days.

While the COVID-19 pandemic has made it more challenging to cope with depression, I have found some ways to make it more manageable.

What have you found that's helping you cope with your depression during this COVID-19 pandemic?

APA Reference
Smith, J. (2020, March 26). Coping with the COVID-19 Pandemic and Depression, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2020, May 27 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/copingwithdepression/2020/3/coping-with-the-covid-19-pandemic-and-depression



Author: Jennifer Smith

Find Jennifer on Twitter, Facebook and her blog.

Tiphaout
May, 2 2020 at 4:41 pm

Hello,
Thank you for post
I've read some of the articles of this website before I've clicked arrived here. I needed extra help to cope with DID, it's why I came on this site at first.
I am also concerned with depression and isolation and I could recognise myself in some of the things you described like overthinking and catastrophising, I also feel very lonely and angry.
At first I decided I would spend more time on social media than I usually do, posting nature pictures I would have taken during my walks but then I fell into the feeling of hoping for answers that would make me feel less lonely but this triggers me into hopelessness, so now I've decided that I would spend less time hoping for likes and comments and focus more on doing the best for me (eg not saving the planet's mood through FB ;) !!
As I feel very angry at times, I bangged on cushions, I did TRE to relieve excessive tension from my body, and recently broke some eggs that were out of date in the shower (so I could clean easily after).
I have also a personal way of coping with excessive thoughts that is to vaccum my head and the rest of my body where tension is stuck. That's very helpfull because this can be done anywhere anytime and with little energy
I have listened to sacred music that go to a climax and sang along
I also greatly enjoy gardening (I have plants from different colors and aromatics and eddibles and I am happy I will be harvesting what I have croped)
I draw and my thoughts wander during this
I listen to guided meditations to relax and center....
I try get enough sleep which I feel is important.
I avoid exciting drinks and sugar and drink camomille.
Like you I listen to music I listened to when I was a teenager
I also regurlarly watch comic movies or sketches and I laugh out loud
I listen to the news only every 3 days
Since, I suffer from lack of healthy intimate relationships (I just got out of DV), I kiss my arms and hands during a long time still lying in bed while I wake up, this makes me feel loved

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