In this pandemic, mental health is at the forefront of many discussions. We can focus on the state of others and the general population that could really benefit from support, but your mental health is ultimately your own responsibility. It’s important to note, that for many, this time since the start of COVID exentuated what was already there. We are just seeing the light shined on what wasn’t being looked at and examined thoroughly enough.
This experience has brought to surface, more than ever, the sheer amount of revolving uncertainty and the subsequent, intrinsic need that human beings have for ‘knowing’. Knowing is safest for us as we are wired for survival. Knowing that we are loved. Knowing that we will pass an exam. Knowing that ‘she will say 'Yes’. Knowing that deal will go through. Knowing what’s happening to stocks. Knowing what a partner is up to. The list of things we need to know, in order to be completely 'in the know', is infinite. When we don’t feel this is being met, anxiety surfaces. Anxiety is an umbrella term, but what is the specific symptom that you feel? Is it a flight of thoughts, restless, agitated? Difficulty concentrating? Heart beating faster?… If we are aware or have an idea of what’s to come, our system is calmer, less ‘strained in the uncertainty’. But there is no future that is certain except death. The stress hormones flood our system as our mind and body mobilize in preparation of something, but protection, survival and minimization of pain are at it’s core. Unsure of what, but if that threat to survival is perceived, it’s on. If it’s on for too long, short term efficacy of the system starts falling short. Quality of life diminishes, though this may not be immediately perceived. Definitely not at our best. COVID has brought this up for all of us in a variation of ways, but it’s also provided us with a time and opportunity to understand it and take action, too.
More than ever, this is the time to intentionally be mindful of what ever you define is best for your life, especially your mental health. The things we do to fill our lives, people who we communicate with and surround ourselves with can either support or hinder us further, should be considered. Life is meant to be felt, appreciated and experienced, not just to be done and floated through. If anxiety of the future is on your mind, or you feel anxious and/or identify with anxiety, it’s important to know that there is no shame or weakness in finding a therapist who is qualified to work with you in understanding many of the things that can potentially straining your mental health, and ultimately, your quality of life.
This is a powerful opportunity to contemplate on your state of mental health. Consider if everything you’re doing right now is in, not just your best, but highest interest, now, and for your future. The alleviation of any weight on your mental health, especially anxiety, without suppression, pays deep dividends and royalties to your quality of life.
Kaveh Kavoosi, MD