When the pandemic still began, psychiatrists warned that it would bring quite tangible consequences, since the quarantine associated with it belongs to the category of the most severe stress, when anxiety is actualized, increased irritability appears, mood decreases, apathy and sleep disturbances develop with difficulties in falling asleep and rushes disturbing thoughts.
This is due to the following factors:
- immediate lack of confidence in the future;
- impossibility to influence the course of events;
- a feeling of obsession and meaninglessness of a new way of life;
- a sudden change in lifestyle due to external circumstances;
- the inability to engage in any kind of activity in the usual format;
- Difficulties in study and work due to the introduction of unusual distance programs;
- lack of feeling of fullness of life due to constant stay at home;
- a kind of sensory deprivation due to a small number of impressions;
- a change in the amount and form of personal space, which is determined by being in a confined space, albeit with close people;
- Difficulties in establishing the regime and schedule, the transition to a predominantly nocturnal lifestyle;
- Excessive spending time with gadgets, including in social networks;
- an abundance of conflicting information;
- the feeling that the current situation lasts forever and will never end, those perception of time changes in a peculiar way.
Popular blogger Alexander Lapshin has collected several very specific examples of the effect of quarantine on the human psyche. They scare:
“Years will pass and the consequences of world quarantines will become the subject of study of psychiatrists, and there is no doubt how Hollywood will come off on this. For some time now, I began to collect signs of a roof that had moved down from people who spent several months in their apartments. In the beginning, I didn't take small mental shifts seriously, well, people get a little sad and indulge in weird things that never happen. But are these things that harmless? Here are a few examples offhand, and you tell me if these people are completely normal.
- A friend working in the security service of a government agency in Israel was amused by the fact that through the gap in the blinds in the window of his apartment he aimed at rare people on the street with a real pistol issued at work and emotionally imitated the shots "Bang-bang! Another zombie is snuffed". At the same time, he himself was in shorts and explained to his frightened mother, "Yes, I'm kidding, there are no cartridges in the pistol". His alarmed mother told me this, they say, he sits at the computer all night long and he has aggressive games there, and then comes to the window. I reassured her that it's okay, a person relaxes like that. Although he himself would not be so sure. Outwardly, the man seems to be adequate, but then there is no business.
- And here's a story exactly the opposite. The mother of my distant relative, an elderly woman in her sixties, began to sleep for a very long time, almost until lunchtime. She practically did not leave the house for three months, fearing the coronavirus. And then she began to lock herself in the room. And that's all. At first, they worried whether a person was alive at all. They knocked for a long time in the morning, she opened and explained that she could not sleep for a long time and therefore fell asleep a little. Wow, a little, two in the afternoon. One, two, three such situations. In her absence, we decided to see what was happening in her room. At first glance, everything seems to be in order, the woman is neat, tidy, everything is in order. But under the pillow they found a mountain of sedative pills, ranging from harmless valerian and ending with not so harmless sleeping pills, which are not sold without a prescription at all. And, apparently, she eats these pills in packs, drinking at least five or six instead of one per night. Previously, this was not observed for her. And the family does not know what to do, but something must be done before this hobby of their mother leads to a tragedy. It's like a drug leading to nervous exhaustion and deep depression. As if in the end she threw herself out the window.
- And how many sexual disorders have happened in many people, especially those who do not live with a partner together, or secret lovers. Dating has become more difficult, plus panic attacks among women stuck in their apartments and left without attention and love. An acquaintance shared that a certain girl began to call him at any time of the day or night. And he is a married man, he has a family, children. Yes, he had an affair on the side, and for a very long time, several years, with a woman who is herself married, but unhappy in marriage. Everything was always quiet and without problems. And suddenly her roof was blown away from quarantine and the forced permanent stay with her unloved husband in the same apartment. Scandals, showdowns, clarification of relations - and there is nowhere for the unfortunate woman to run, this is their shared apartment. She began to call my friend " Take me out of here, I want to do it like then, at your colleague's dacha ...". He explains to her that now this is not an option, be patient, this coronavirus will end soon. Then she came up with a new idea, they say, I'm sitting now in the bathroom completely naked, and come on, too, undress and show me your friend, I missed you so much. And my friend, let me remind you, is actually a married man. He explains to her that I can't, I'm at home and not alone. It got to the point that she sent him an SMS at night that she was going to commit suicide. Fortunately, it didn't come to that.
It is scary to imagine how many such stories happened during the quarantines ... "
However, the quarantine also has its advantages, and such that some did not even want to leave the self-isolation regime. The publication "Knife" devoted its material to such cases, which, in particular, says :
“Different people experience quarantine in different ways. Someone climbs the wall from the inability to communicate with friends, someone is hard without people around, someone cannot stand the sight of deserted streets. And someone for the first time in years felt like they were in their place.
“ Since we were all sent home, I exhaled for the first time in 15 years,” says Marina. - All these years I lived on a breath. And now such a wonderful time has come when you can legally breathe out a little ”.
Marina has been suffering from depression since 2000 and is well acquainted with panic attacks and other companions of this disorder. At one time Marina was even afraid to choke on food. She's gotten better lately, but self-isolation has made her finally feel happy.
There are many such stories. According to psychiatrist Lyubov Myasnikova, several of her patients say at once: “ How good! Let's extend this pandemic! "
These are mainly people with avoidant behavior and social anxiety who find it difficult to adapt at work and in society. And they are also people with reactive hypomania: they are as collected as possible in emergency situations and prefer to work in emergency situations.
What will happen to all these people after the quarantine is lifted? Marina already senses that her anxiety will return with the return of her normal pace of life - and is looking for a way to maintain a slow lifestyle that is comfortable for her.
One of the most fundamental and profound human impacts of COVID-19 is a reminder of our mortality. Moreover, the consequences of this can be very different. Psychotherapist Oksana Nazarova notes how women who wanted to improve relationships with a partner began to talk about a dramatic improvement in the family situation in quarantine:
“ Before the pandemic, they said they were on the verge of divorce; yelling, quarreling, almost hitting each other. And now they are ready to meet during lunchtime, for example, to kiss each other or have sex: they cannot wait for the evening . "
Such people are delighted with the second honeymoon and, on the contrary, are afraid that after the quarantine everything will return to normal: “ I want the pandemic to last forever! "According to the psychotherapist, such paradoxical changes may be associated with a sudden awareness of the possibility of loss:" What if I die? Or will I never see my husband / wife? »The experience of experiencing possible separation, loss, death makes people change their priorities.
Faced with the fear of death, people ask themselves questions that there was no time to think about before, test and rebuild their theoretical picture of the world. Finding themselves unarmed in the face of the fact of their own mortality and the devaluation of their usual aspirations, they go through all stages from denial to acceptance, in order to eventually find a way to live in a new way in a changed world.
And here people with experience of depressive disorders turn out to be the few who are at least partially ready for this - after all, anxiety-depressive states make you experience the fear of death and learn to live with it day after day.
“In this regard, patients with depression, oddly enough, are more psychologically mature than healthy people”, - says Oksana Nazarova, - “because we live as if death does not exist. And when you are depressed, you always remember that you can die at any moment”. People with affective disorders themselves feel this suddenly acquired situational power - now they are not outcasts at all, because now something similar is happening to everyone.