• Sarah Lyall-Neal PsyD

Covid 19 and Your Mental Health

Updated: Nov 11, 2020

I’ve shied away from writing about Covid-19 so far on the blog because it has been covered so much in the media lately, but the fact of the matter is Covid-19 is a very real thing and it is affecting so many lives in a negative way. Even if you or a family member haven’t been diagnosed with Covid-19, I bet you have felt the affects.

It seems every time I turn around, I am reminded of how the world has changed. My husband and I stayed in a hotel all last week while our floors were being refinished due to a flood we experienced back in May (a pipe in our upstairs bathroom burst and flooded the living room ceiling). We had to wear a mask every time we left our room and we had to do all our own maid service (packing our dirty towels out and new ones up, going downstairs for any supplies that are normally available in the room, etc.). The hostess informed us they didn’t want maids coming into the rooms due to risk of the virus. I got to thinking, what has become of the people who worked as maids? Do any of them still have jobs? What a scary time!

My Daily Experience of the Coronavirus

Working in nursing homes, I have witnessed first hand the mental health effects of the virus. Thank God, none of my facilities have any cases of the virus. That being said, my residents are suffering all the same. Imagine for a moment you have been placed in a facility that resembles a hospital because you can no longer care for yourself. Everything you have ever owned (give or take a handful of personal items) has been taken from you and you are being forced to live in a small room furnished with a bed, side table, and a television (with very limited channels). The best part of your day is when you get to come out of your room, socialize, and engage in activities. You also love sitting outside and getting fresh air as it gives you a sense of respite from your new surroundings. By far the highlight of your day/week is when your family and friends visit, bringing you homemade goodies to eat and filling you in on what is happening at home.

Now imagine one day you wake up and all the things that made life bearable are taken away. You are no longer allowed to socialize with your friends each day. You are no longer given an activity schedule because there are no more activities. Going outside is only a memory, something to look out your window and think about. Also, you are no longer allowed to hug your family members or receive foods from them because…you guessed it; you might get sick. Sounds pretty terrible right?

Why am I telling you this?

I’m not telling you any of this to make you feel down or depressed. I just wanted to create a moment of perspective. There are people out of work and even more people who have had there lives completely turned upside down by the coronavirus, without ever being exposed to the actual virus. The fallout from the virus has become politicized and, from what I am seeing, people are starting to get tired of even hearing about it (believe me I’m there too). My fear is that if we become complacent the virus will spread even more. This is not a time to bury our heads in the sand, it is a time to fight.

When I decided to write this post, I admit I was struggling to find a focus. I wanted to address the corona virus issue, but I didn’t know what I could possibly add to the conversation. Before doing my Bible reading one day, I prayed for this blog and I asked for God to give me some direction and the following passage from Psalms showed up in my reading (coincidence? I don’t think so)

Psalm 121: 1-8

1 I look up to the mountains- does my help come from there?

2 My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and Earth!

3 He will not let you stumble; the one who watches over you will not slumber.

4 Indeed, he who watches over Israel never slumbers or sleeps.

5 The Lord himself watches over you! The Lord stands beside you as your protective shade.

6 The sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon at night.

7 The Lord keeps you from all harm and watches over your life.

8 The Lord keeps watch over you as you come and go, both now and forever.

As I read this psalm, I realized that it wasn’t for me to provide help in this situation. The coronavirus’s affects are beyond the help of therapists, doctors, or any leader of this world. We are at a point where we have to step back and realize that God is in control and he’s got this. When I think about the psalm above, I think about the Casting Crowns song Praise you in the Storm that quotes it. I’m attaching it here for you. It’s hard to listen to this song and not feel better.

If you are feeling stressed due to the affects of the coronavirus, the following articles may be helpful:

Anxiety and Your Faith

CBT and Your Faith

How To Protect Your Mental Health During the Coronavirus Outbreak

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Email Coaching is not meant to diagnose or treat any type of mental illness. It is purely for self-help purposes. If mental health treatment is necessary, you will be referred to a licensed provide in your area (legal disclaimer).

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