We are now beyond the ‘pandemic’ stage of COVID – having been the biggest thing going on in most countries between 2020 and 2022. Apart from the COVID-19 related deaths and the ‘long COVID’ physical and cognitive impacts, people are still affected by COVID, and the world’s response,
In many places the pandemic was managed with severe lockdowns to limit the disease spread. This allowed vaccination rates to reach levels that would protect most of the population, and hopefully reduce the deaths caused by the disease. These lockdowns have had lasting impacts from the way we work, socialise and live our lives.. These restrictions were highly impactful – not only did people die alone, many individuals had to stop all social activities and learn and work via the internet. Such lockdowns – in some places lasting nearly two years – have had a massive impact on people’s mental health – particularly around depression, anxiety, phobias and addictions.
The world has now moved on. In many people’s minds, COVID is a thing of the past. Apart from the high current rate of infection (in what is known as the ‘eighth wave’), the mental health impacts continue. The post-covid era is a time when everything seems ‘back to normal’, but many people are still carrying the burden of their anxieties, phobias, addictions and depression that were elevated during the pandemic.
People faced a number of challenges that are still impacting them today. These often triggered or amplified by the lockdowns – and now that the world has ‘moved on’ from COVID, people think that their challenges should simply fade away too – but this often doesn’t happen.
In clinic, I am seeing a range of issues that have been amplified by the COVID pandemic that remain to cause suffering in people long after COVID has been consigned to the past. This includes:
- General Anxiety and rumination. Finding yourself overthinking, overanalysing and worrying unnecessarily.
- Health anxiety: dealing with health professionals, attending hospitals and the fear of injury or dying (particularly dying of some unknown disease).
- Needle Phobia: Often driven by the need to get vaccinated, and the lack of control over this process.
- Agoraphobia: Fear of strangers and a real narrowing of people’s ‘comfort zones’. Feeling unsafe in routine environments and feeling anxious doing things that were routine before COVID (including deiving).
- Aerophoblia: Fear of flying as people now seek to get away, visit family around the world or having to restart travel for work. This has been greatly increased after people had a long time at home without any travel.
- Depression. Introspection and rumination, along with general senses of helplessness and hopelessness have driven an increase in rates of depression.
- Social isolation: People have gotten used to ‘being shut in’ after lockdowns, and this has led to increases in cases of people suffering severe social isolation.
- Social reintegration anxiety: Following on from social isolation, people are worried and anxious about getting back into old patterns of behaviour – going back to work, socialising, attending events – all of which would have been easily achieved prior to lockdown.
- School refusal: The extended homeschooling imposed by the lockdowns has driven both the desire not to attend school, but also increased anxiety about doing so.
- Increase in addictions, including drinking, drugs, online gambling and risky behaviours. Too much time on people’s hands and the process of dealing with uncomfortable thoughts and feelings about what was going on led many people into behavioural ‘habits’ which have carried on as damaging addictions post-lockdown.
- Relationship breakdown and post relationship depression. People forced onto different co-habitation situations by the pandemic often led to relationship breakdowns, post break-up depression and new dating anxiety
What you can do:
If any of these outcomes are ones that you recognise from your own experience, you don’t have to stay stuck. Just as you changed based upon the impact of COVID, you can also choose to change again to more effective and valuable ways of operating now.
Working with Reflective Resolutions utilising adaptive change methods and advanced psychologically proven strategies, it is possible to generate more effective ways of responding to your situation. Techniques such as mindfulness, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, action taking, gradual exposure to social situations, and self-care practices all embedded in hypnosis can greatly assist you.
You are not alone – I am seeing many clients presenting with such post-COVID experiences where getting unstuck and back into their lives is a massive relief.
If you are suffering from post-covid issues that show up as anxiety, depression, addiction or other pressures on your life, then it is time to reach out and get the help that can set you back on a better path.