Pugmarks Of The Pandemic

Pugmarks of Pandemic

Abstract: Perhaps one of the most devastating effects of the ongoing pandemic is on our mental health. As we shuffle through the nitty gritties of new ways of living, and for many a bare survival, we need to cast a serious look at our psyches and rebuild / renew our coping mechanisms towards a ‘healthier living’.

The lockdown opened a lot of different vistas for all – in different walks of life, and, within that, of different aspects of life. Professionals, Industrialists, Business people, Daily wagers, Students, Home-makers etc, each of them was affected hugely. While there was a lot of family bonding and together time that came, with this also came many fears – of illness, death, of losing jobs, reduced earnings, of lost time and more. Also seen is a big rise in the number of abuse cases reported of all sorts. And these negatives transcend all walks of life.

Beauty and the beast stand together.

The beauty is that the pandemic brought back to life coping mechanisms in the form of family bonding for many. Kids got the desired attention at home from both parents, many of the elderly living alone in their respective homes or those in assisted living centres came back together again, and the importance of being together as a family was heightened. As everybody worked/studied from home, new respect and understanding came by. Home chores got equally divided and we did see many memes around this. For many, yes, this is the scene, a beautiful scene.

Also Read: What Is The Wake-Up Call?

covid 19 pandemic virus

While we understood the importance of home, there also were reported increased instances of abuse of different forms. Culturally, this is something for all of us to ponder upon. These existed earlier, however, the numbers grew as we got free-er, or is it that this is an expression of frustration, the frustration of suppressed emotions, unmet needs or those not recognised.  These are grave issues and need to be looked at and healed. Healed not just from a perspective of the pandemic, but because this is reflective of habits of a social group. This social group needs to first address and recognise the ‘needs’ – personal needs as well as social needs that overlap and are suppressed. This suppression creates a cacophony of frustrations expressed illicitly or in a fashion not acceptable in the realms of decency. Sex-based discriminations, abuse and violence, and other forms of domestic violence towards kids and elders reflect a need to restructure the basics of our social existence. Add to this the economic frustrations. These gaps in the social existence call for a mental re-orientation and a dire need to recreate a mental wellness paradigm. This reorientation cannot happen by enforcement of law but rather through a movement of ‘wellbeing’ of the body, mind and heart.

There are the fears of course, which are omni present otherwise but brought forth with force because of the pandemic. These fears are well-grounded in the need for survival and living. Daily wagers were the most affected as without savings they were at loss for covering even the basic necessities of life like food and shelter. Thousands lost jobs. Many businesses, big and small, came to a nought. Of course, there were a few that did well. Students had to change the way of studying as well as interacting. Many lost time and means to study because either there was no data connection, or devices to connect or the schools lacked the infrastructure. As everything came to a rude standstill because of the lockdowns, our competitive spirits continued to thrive. Every walk of life has a story of fear and also how these were overcome. These fears also found the right expression in the philanthropic actions of many members of the society who reached out to others for support and in support of some basic needs. But a philanthropic expression is not enough. There is a much-needed mechanism for coping, which needs to be enabled for each individual.

Stress Mental Health

Many people were of course unable to deal with these stresses. As daily living became difficult, they succumbed to suicide, to mental disorders of anxiety and depression giving in to the pressure and stress they faced in their day-to-day life. The incidence of suicides and disorders have gone up significantly per some local studies conducted recently across various states. Fear of the disease as well took a toll. A pointer to the rising requirement for mental and emotional support infrastructure.

Also Read: Detox Your MIIND

On the other hand, there are the healthcare workers who only got busier with their hands full given the pandemic’s healthcare needs. Tending to the growing load of covid patients. Saving many and losing some. And carrying the load of those who they couldn’t save, along with the loneliness of staying away from their loved ones so as not to give them infections, carrying the burden of being overworked and much more. The effects of these will be telling in the long run. 

In step with the healthcare workers were the other frontline people, the policemen, the municipal workers, those ensuring the availability of essential services, and many others engaged to ensure that others were well protected and provided for. And they also continue to carry the burden of carrying infections back home or the stress of the working conditions.

Amongst this pandemic, in a country where the mental health quotient wasn’t even recognised, today everyone is feeling the pinch of this. Each one of us is forced to sit up and recognise this aspect, whether faced with our fears or the changed way of living in a new reality, be it the fears or the frustrations.

The industry needs to perk up, recognise the shift and the need and step in with solutions. Of course, in recent times one has seen increased funding for the mental health platforms but much more is needed, and proactively so, so as to cover the gap that exists. Sustainable models need to be developed, covering the entire spectrum of economic classes to enable a mentally healthy nation.

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      Dass 21 Questionnaire

      Check your Depression / Anxiety and Stress Level


      /21

      Question

      1 (s) I found it hard to wind down.

       

      0 - Did not apply to me at all.
      1 - Applied to me to some degree, or some of the time.
      2 - Applied to me to a considerable degree or a good part of time.
      3 - Applied to me very much or most of the time.

      2 (a) I was aware of dryness of my mouth.

      0 - Did not apply to me at all.
      1 - Applied to me to some degree, or some of the time.
      2 - Applied to me to a considerable degree or a good part of time.
      3 - Applied to me very much or most of the time.

      3 (d) I couldn’t seem to experience any positive feeling at all.

      0 - Did not apply to me at all.
      1 - Applied to me to some degree, or some of the time.
      2 - Applied to me to a considerable degree or a good part of time.
      3 - Applied to me very much or most of the time.

      4 (a) I experienced breathing difficulty (e.g. excessively rapid breathing,
      breathlessness in the absence of physical exertion).

      0 - Did not apply to me at all.
      1 - Applied to me to some degree, or some of the time.
      2 - Applied to me to a considerable degree or a good part of time.
      3 - Applied to me very much or most of the time.

      5 (d) I found it difficult to work up the initiative to do things.

      0 - Did not apply to me at all.
      1 - Applied to me to some degree, or some of the time.
      2 - Applied to me to a considerable degree or a good part of time.
      3 - Applied to me very much or most of the time.

      6 (s) I tended to over-react to situations.

      0 - Did not apply to me at all.
      1 - Applied to me to some degree, or some of the time.
      2 - Applied to me to a considerable degree or a good part of time.
      3 - Applied to me very much or most of the time.

      7 (a) I experienced trembling (e.g. in the hands).

      0 - Did not apply to me at all.
      1 - Applied to me to some degree, or some of the time.
      2 - Applied to me to a considerable degree or a good part of time.
      3 - Applied to me very much or most of the time.

      8 (s) I felt that I was using a lot of nervous energy.

      0 - Did not apply to me at all.
      1 - Applied to me to some degree, or some of the time.
      2 - Applied to me to a considerable degree or a good part of time.
      3 - Applied to me very much or most of the time.

      9 (a) I was worried about situations in which I might panic and make a fool
      of myself.

      0 - Did not apply to me at all.
      1 - Applied to me to some degree, or some of the time.
      2 - Applied to me to a considerable degree or a good part of time.
      3 - Applied to me very much or most of the time.

      10 (d) I felt that I had nothing to look forward to.

      0 - Did not apply to me at all.
      1 - Applied to me to some degree, or some of the time.
      2 - Applied to me to a considerable degree or a good part of time.
      3 - Applied to me very much or most of the time.

      11 (s) I found myself getting agitated.

      0 - Did not apply to me at all.
      1 - Applied to me to some degree, or some of the time.
      2 - Applied to me to a considerable degree or a good part of time.
      3 - Applied to me very much or most of the time.

      12 (s) I found it difficult to relax.

      0 - Did not apply to me at all.
      1 - Applied to me to some degree, or some of the time.
      2 - Applied to me to a considerable degree or a good part of time.
      3 - Applied to me very much or most of the time.

      13 (d) I felt down-hearted and blue.

      0 - Did not apply to me at all.
      1 - Applied to me to some degree, or some of the time.
      2 - Applied to me to a considerable degree or a good part of time.
      3 - Applied to me very much or most of the time.

      14 (s) I was intolerant of anything that kept me from getting on with what I
      was doing.

      0 - Did not apply to me at all.
      1 - Applied to me to some degree, or some of the time.
      2 - Applied to me to a considerable degree or a good part of time.
      3 - Applied to me very much or most of the time.

      15 (a) I felt I was close to panic.

      0 - Did not apply to me at all.
      1 - Applied to me to some degree, or some of the time.
      2 - Applied to me to a considerable degree or a good part of time.
      3 - Applied to me very much or most of the time.

      16 (d) I was unable to become enthusiastic about anything.

      0 - Did not apply to me at all.
      1 - Applied to me to some degree, or some of the time.
      2 - Applied to me to a considerable degree or a good part of time.
      3 - Applied to me very much or most of the time.

      17 (d) I felt I wasn’t worth much as a person.

      0 - Did not apply to me at all.
      1 - Applied to me to some degree, or some of the time.
      2 - Applied to me to a considerable degree or a good part of time.
      3 - Applied to me very much or most of the time.

      18 (s) I felt that I was rather touchy.

      0 - Did not apply to me at all.
      1 - Applied to me to some degree, or some of the time.
      2 - Applied to me to a considerable degree or a good part of time.
      3 - Applied to me very much or most of the time.

      19 (a) I was aware of the action of my heart in the absence of physical
      exertion (e.g. sense of heart rate increase, heart missing a beat).

      0 - Did not apply to me at all.
      1 - Applied to me to some degree, or some of the time.
      2 - Applied to me to a considerable degree or a good part of time.
      3 - Applied to me very much or most of the time.

      20 (a) I felt scared without any good reason.

      0 - Did not apply to me at all.
      1 - Applied to me to some degree, or some of the time.
      2 - Applied to me to a considerable degree or a good part of time.
      3 - Applied to me very much or most of the time.

      21 (d) I felt that life was meaningless.

      0 - Did not apply to me at all.
      1 - Applied to me to some degree, or some of the time.
      2 - Applied to me to a considerable degree or a good part of time.
      3 - Applied to me very much or most of the time.

      Your score is

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      Locus of control

      A big question we all feel - am I in control of my life?

      This test helps you ascertain the degree of control that you believe  you have over your life and the events that occur. This belief plays a huge role in the satisfaction levels that we feel.


      /10

      1 / 10

      Is there some bad habit, such as smoking, that you would like to break but can’t?

      2 / 10

      Do you take steps, such as exercise and diet to control your weight and fitness?

      3 / 10

      Do you believe that your personality was firmly laid down in childhood so there is little you can do to change it?

      4 / 10

      Do you make your own decisions, regardless of what other people say?

      5 / 10

      Do you find it a waste of time to plan ahead because something always causes you to change direction?

      6 / 10

      If something goes wrong, do usually reckon it’s your own fault rather than just bad luck?

      7 / 10

      Are most of the things you do designed to please other people?

      8 / 10

      Do you often feel you are the victim of outside forces you cannot control?

      9 / 10

      Do you usually manage to resist being persuaded by other people’s arguments?

      10 / 10

      Are you sceptical about the extent to which your horoscope can tell you what you should do and what’s going to happen to you?.

      Your score is

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          How do You Cope with Anger?

          (The Behavioural Anger Response Questionnaire, BARQ)

          What do you most likely to do when you experience anger? This 34-item measure assesses your anger responses for children and adolescents – and may tell you which response you tend to favour when experiencing this strong, unpleasant emotion. A list of statements are provided below. State whether each of the statements are not true, sometimes true, or often true. This measure was developed specifically for children and young adolescents.


          /34

          1 / 34

          I say something nasty to the person who made me angry.

          2 / 34

          I use strong gestures (for example, make a fist, wave my arms, or give a hand sign).

          3 / 34

          I swear or curse, at the person who made me angry.

          4 / 34

          I hit or push the person who made me angry.

          5 / 34

          I express my anger by slamming a door, or hitting something.

          6 / 34

          I shout.

          7 / 34

          I wait until I am calm again and then talk to the person who made me angry. 

          8 / 34

          I carefully think it over and then tell the person who made me angry how I feel.

          9 / 34

          In a calm voice, I tell the person who made me angry how I honestly feel.

          10 / 34

          I try to understand what happened, so I can explain things to the person who made me angry.

          11 / 34

          I stay calm, and I try to talk about the problem and the person who made me angry. 

          12 / 34

          I leave the situation in order to calm down, and then try to solve the problem.

          13 / 34

          I do not show my anger but I talk about what happened with someone afterwards.

          14 / 34

          I leave the situation and look for someone who will agree with me.

          15 / 34

          I leave the situation, find someone to listen to my story, and ask for advice. 

          16 / 34

          I think about the problem first and then talk about it with someone.

          17 / 34

          I leave the situation and call a friend or family member to tell him/her how I feel. 

          18 / 34

          Even without planning it, I usually end up talking about my feelings with someone.

          19 / 34

          I get rid of my anger by playing music, writing, or painting. 

          20 / 34

          I just keep busy, until I stop feeling angry.

          21 / 34

          I work off my anger by doing some sport. 

          22 / 34

          I stay on my own to get rid of my anger.

          23 / 34

          I simply get very busy with other things to get rid of my anger.

          24 / 34

          I work off my anger by doing something else, like playing on the computer.

          25 / 34

          I tell myself that what happened is not important.

          26 / 34

          I try to forget what happened.

          27 / 34

          I put what happened out of my mind.

          28 / 34

          I do not want to have to cause trouble, so I keep my feelings to myself.

          29 / 34

          I just wait to feel better.

          30 / 34

          I try to keep busy so I can forget about what happened.

          31 / 34

          I keep thinking about what I wish I had done, but didn’t do.

          32 / 34

          I find it hard to stop thinking about what happened.

          33 / 34

          I am upset for a long time after this kind of situation.

          34 / 34

          In my mind, I go over the situation that made me angry again and again.

          Your score is

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          Are You Kind to Yourself?

          (The Self-Compassion Scale – Short Form, SCS-SF)

          Are you kind to yourself, and accepting of your personality? Self-compassion relates to your ability to ‘hold one’s suffering with a sense of warmth, connection and concern (Neff, 2003). This ability consists of self-kindness, self-judgement, the view that others suffer too (common humanity), feelings of isolation from others when one fails, as well as mindfulness towards one’s difficult situation and the extent to which one over-identifies with failure. This 12-item measure assesses your self-compassion ability. Simply answer each statement from ‘almost never’ to ‘almost always’ to indicate the extent to which you engage in these behaviours during difficult times of challenge and setbacks.


          /12

          1 / 12

          I’m intolerant and impatient towards those aspects of my personality I don’t like.

          2 / 12

          I’m disapproving and judgmental about my own flaws and inadequacies.

          3 / 12

          When I feel inadequate in some way, I try to remind myself that feelings of inadequacy are shared by most people.

          4 / 12

          When I’m feeling down I tend to obsess and fixate on everything that’s wrong.

          5 / 12

          When I fail at something that’s important to me, I tend to feel alone in my failure.

          6 / 12

          When something upsets me I try to keep my emotions in balance.

          7 / 12

          When I’m going through a very hard time, I give myself the caring and tenderness I need.

          8 / 12

          I try to see my failings as part of the human condition.

          9 / 12

          When I’m feeling down, I tend to feel like most other people are probably happier than I am.

          10 / 12

          When something painful happens I try to take a balanced view of the situation.

          11 / 12

          I try to be understanding and patient towards those aspects of my personality I don’t like.

          12 / 12

          When I fail at something important to me I become consumed by feelings of inadequacy.

          Your score is

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          How Mindfully Aware and Attentive are You?

          (Mindful Attempt Awareness Scale; MAAS)

          Being mindful means being consciously, deliberately attentive towards your present circumstances and environment, and being curious and non- judgmental towards the thoughts and emotions that arise as a result of one’s situation. This 15-item measure of mindfulness, called the Mindful Attempt Awareness Scale (MAAS) is designed to assess how mindful you generally are.


          /15

          1 / 15

          I could be experiencing some emotion and not be conscious of it until sometime later.

          2 / 15

          I break or spill things because of carelessness, not paying attention, or thinking of something else.

          3 / 15

          I find it difficult to stay focused on what’s happening in the present.

          4 / 15

          I tend to walk quickly to get where I’m going without paying attention to what I experience along the way.

          5 / 15

          I tend not to notice feelings of physical tension or discomfort until they really grab my attention.

          6 / 15

          I forget a person’s name almost as soon as I’ve been told it for the first time.

          7 / 15

          It seems I am “running on automatic” without much awareness of what I’m doing.

          8 / 15

          I rush through activities without being really attentive to them.

          9 / 15

          I get so focused on the goal I want to achieve that I lose touch of what I’m doing.

          10 / 15

          I do jobs or tasks automatically, without being aware of what I’m doing.

          11 / 15

          I find myself listening to someone with one ear, doing something else at the same time.

          12 / 15

          I drive places on “automatic pilot” and then wonder why I went there.

          13 / 15

          I find myself preoccupied with the future or the past.

          14 / 15

          I find myself doing things without paying attention.

          15 / 15

          I snack without being aware that I’m eating.

          Your score is

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