Late Thursday night the Governor of the State of California, Gavin Newson, called for the entire state of CA to stay indoors. The State of New York, and the State of Illinois, shortly followed.
Coronavirus has had an impact on people’s work, the economy, and on mental health, but despite the hardships of the times, there are some positive takeaways to examine. In particular, with regards to mental health.
When I think about socially isolating, and it has become a reality to people one day at a time, it makes me think that maybe people might rethink how people who are reclusive, or suffer from bouts of depression have lived during periods of time in their lives. The stigma might shift when you consider that a vast majority of people are going to be asked to remain indoors will experience what it can feel like to be socially isolated. The overall perception of people that have endured depression which results in social isolation may become a teaching point; quite possibly a chance for people to have an open dialogue to allow for a cultural rebirth. I think it’s interesting when you frame it like that, cause there is a lot we can learn as a society and as a human race with regards to how pertinent mental health awareness and understanding can evolve.
Yesterday, I woke up expecting to see a change on the streets. However, I glanced out my window to find people walking around, cars driving by, and when I walked outside to grab a can of sardines (that’s really all that was left in the canned foods section of my local market), I witnessed Downtown LA to seem to be business as usual. Yes, bars and restaurants are closed, but people are going about their lives, however things will change day by day as we move forward.
Ironically, now I’m forced to socially isolate so I should be more acclimated to it, yet yearn to be outdoors all of a sudden. Why does it take being recommended to stay home make a part of me want to be outside? I should be happy that it’s a new socially acceptable thing to remain indoors, and not feel like I’m not like everyone else. What’s also interesting is that I am more or less seasoned in social isolating for in the past when I have had episodes of depression, I’ve struggled leaving my home so as a result, was left estranged from social norms, hence, I should be ahead of the game in mental preparation for handling the upcoming weeks. But I’m human. I have fears and levels of emotions to grapple with, which I will.
There is a lot to examine during this Coronavirus pandemic when it relates to mental health, and I hope in the future when things settle it can bring forth a social consciousness for those that suffer from depression, or isolate on their own without any afflicted virus. Maybe people will develop empathy or more understanding of what it’s like to be reluctant to go outside cause they have depression or other social anxieties. We might walk away with a new understanding of mental health issues for those that haven’t suffered from a diagnosis, but were forced to stay home similar to a person that suffers from depression and can’t seem to leave their house, and the ramifications on the human condition. We might discover a whole new understanding of how mental health awareness can have a new dialogue that brings together all people that had the experience of staying at home, and learned how to survive and come out stronger, wiser, more empathetic, more compassionate, more resilient, more experienced…. and the list of positive take aways goes on.