Affects and Effects from the Lock-down
I think everyone knows by now that I am a stickler about the meaning of words. So....
Per dictionary.com, affect (verb) means: verb (used with object)
to act on; produce an effect or change in:Cold weather affected the crops. to impress the mind or move the feelings of:The music affected him deeply. (of pain, disease, etc.) to attack or lay hold of. And as a noun:
Psychology. feeling or emotion. Psychiatry. an expressed or observed emotional response:Restricted, flat, or blunted affect may be a symptom of mental illness, especially schizophrenia. Obsolete. affection; passion; sensation; inclination; inward disposition or feeling.
Now, the other side of that coin would be the effect. So...
Per dictionary.com, effect (verb) means: verb (used with object)
to produce as an effect; bring about; accomplish; make happen:The new machines finally effected the transition to computerized accounting last spring.
something that is produced by an agency or cause; result; consequence:Exposure to the sun had the effect of toughening his skin. power to produce results; efficacy; force; validity; influence:His protest had no effect. the state of being operative or functional; operation or execution; accomplishment or fulfillment:to bring a plan into effect. a mental or emotional impression produced, as by a painting or a speech. meaning or sense; purpose or intention:She disapproved of the proposal and wrote to that effect.
Those who know me the best, can attest that I am shy and extremely introverted, but have learned to do a mean imitation of an extrovert, when needed. When we found out we were being placed on lock-down, many asked me if I was happy about.
After all, that's my dream scenario, right? It is. Still, after so much "me" time, I am running out of things to talk to myself about, songs that I actually know to sing out loud, being told not to be out and about, and not being able to set foot on the beach.
For those who do not know me well, I suffered extreme abuse as a child at home and some of that was revisited during my time on active duty. Anyone knowing about either of those know that PTSD is a very common side affect of abuse and can bring many things into play that have a not-so-good effect on one's mental well-being.
Too much time in isolation can, and often does bring on depression which causes one to want more isolation. And, so on. And, so on. And, so on.
For any who pick up on cues or clues, the response will usually be one of two things: to crowd your space out of concern, or to back away and leave you completely alone.
Neither of those options are completely correct, nor completely wrong.
It's very similar to one having breathing problems due to COPD, or asthma or emphysema, or bronchitis, or something else. When an attack hits, the first thing the sufferer feels is a building anxiety that can lead to a panic attack. So. when someone sees one trying to breathe, the worst thing to do is rush over and get right in the person's face. I assure you, at that moment, the person truly cannot breathe. Back up!
They will let you know if they need help. If they say something like "Just give me a minute," then do that. They know themselves, and they know the process intimately. Believe them.
The same with PTSD.
The same with depression.
The same during a time of loss of loved ones.
Get the idea? Care, but do so carefully, respectfully, and allow a bit of space.
While researching, I found a very interesting website, https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/04/this-is-the-psychological-side-of-the-covid-19-pandemic-that-were-ignoring/, that deals with the lock-down.
One of the things this article advises is: Taking action now can mitigate the toxic effects of COVID-19 lock-downs. Which is exactly what I do when I "break out of lock-down jail."
While I detest the idea of being a guinea pig, that's exactly what each of us are. Per the above cited article, "Currently, an estimated 2.6 billion people –one-third of the world’s population – is living under some kind of lock-down or quarantine. This is arguably the largest psychological experiment ever conducted."
While I cannot state that I agree with everything in the article, I do think it is on the right track and that we should each be taking responsibility of our own care and treatment now to prepare and take care of ourselves.
I believe most of us have a "happy place", favorite things to do, places to go, friends to visit, hobbies (such as reading or photography), and those are most definitely my go to things to fight off PTSD, depression, et al.
Do you know the same about yourself? Now is the time to find out. If you truly do not know, ask someone who knows you for input. If nothing else, call me and we'll grab a couple cameras and just start there.
This is coming from a salty ole Navy Veteran: now is NOT the time to "gut this out." Speak up, reach out, get out.
My purpose today was to not pelt you with resources, but with suggestions. As I stated above, I do agree now is the time for each of us to begin to recover from the effects of lock-down even if not aware they exist.
If you feel you do need help, do NOT be afraid or ashamed to reach out. If you have a counseling department at work, utilize them. Call your doctor. Speak with a friend, a pastor, a counselor. Someone. Anyone.
And, perhaps more importantly, be aware in changes in those around you. Be sensitive to their moods, their needs, their silent cry for help.
We are going to survive all of this, but we can do so better by helping each other. What do you say? We got this. Let's get it done!