Lockdown impact: Depression, angst, anxiety sets in; know how to deal with it

Well known psychiatrist Dr Harish Shetty calls it a post impact phase. Isolation leads to high level of anxiety and also fear and the mood is very sad. But there are a few ways to deal with this

Representative Image (Photo Courtesy: Twitter)
Representative Image (Photo Courtesy: Twitter)
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BKD

The 21-day lockdown announced in the wake of the spread of coronavirus by the prime minister sent shockwaves in the people across the country and in the ensuing confusion and anxiety people started shopping and hoarding things blindly.

Gradually as the reality of lockdown settled in, it somehow began to get to people and several of them have now started complaining about feeling low and depressed. Fear and anxiety has started seeping in like never before which is getting obvious on people's faces as one walks on to the roads during the curfew relaxation period.

We asked Dr Harish Shetty how to handle this peculiar mix of anxiety and depression. Dr Harish Shetty is a reputed psychiatrist in Mumbai and nowadays he has been flooded with the calls about how to handle this kind of depression all through the day. He shared with us a five- point mantra to give to those who are going through this phase.

He calls it a post impact phase and says that all disasters have pre and post impact and we are in the early post impact phase. He says, “Isolation leads to high level of anxiety and also fear of losing things and the mood is very sad. And it has more impact on those staying alone, those who are mentally ill and those who have no physical activity and lastly those stranded in small homes.''

Dr Shetty says that globalisation causes  disconnection and this pandemic has created a strong need in people to connect. So the best option now is to connect both inside and outside to people through social media.

Another important point is to share your feelings with people around you or friends. Talk to positive people. One needs to try and understand what is happening around and take measures one day at time.

Dr Shetty has been getting calls from people who are most concerned about not getting their medicines, people staying alone at home and some who are worried about payment of the EMIs. To them, he says, “just live one day at a time. Connect with friends on face time and share your feelings.


He also has some interesting tips to give to people: Every day look at the sky a few times and do it cooped in the room.

Use the mood lifters and mood shifters that you have used in the past, like pick up singing, painting, drawing, reading  and writing or any other activity that you have enjoyed in the past.

Physical exercise also dissolves fears. He says, “spot jogging stretching and walking inside the house is important. Have a shower twice a day if possible. Have a head massage and stay away from screens at least two hours before you sleep as it is very important. Talk to your family doctor if you lose sleep.''

And last but not the least, if you are very down call your friendly neighbourhood pyschologist or pyschiartist. he concludes

When told about our hoarding mentality, Dr Shetty gives us a a great insight. He said, “it is not our hoarding mentality but in the post impact phase angst increases and therefore hyper arousal and hyper vigilance sets in and therefore this happens.''

He adds, “In USA Patel Brothers the famous grocery chain has no groceries. People have stored milk yogurt, toilet paper for years. Disasters affect a few differently all over the world.''

Dr Shetty advises to go slow, to lie low and be hopeful of the future. He suggests that during the time of lockdown we should take one day at a time. “Have a lot of fresh air and exercise. This may help in mitigating angst,” he said.

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