Those of us living with depression have likely felt the impact of COVID-19. Medical or therapy appointments may have been rescheduled or switched to virtual, work and school may be closed, and we may worry about how the illness will impact ourselves and our loved ones.
Fortunately, social distancing is a powerful tool to slow or prevent the spread of infection. Social distancing only works when everyone stays home and limits their contact with others.
Some of us have family members or friends who think the threat of the virus is being blown out of proportion. They may pressure you to join in activities as usual or become upset when you cancel plans to help keep yourself and your community safe during this high-risk time.
Here are some tactics that may help you talk to them about why health — yours, theirs, and the community's — should be everyone's first priority right now.
Ask them to walk in your shoes. Ask them to imagine what you must be going through. Maybe your loved one thinks they will be fine, but you may be more vulnerable to being severely impacted. If your doctors or therapists have canceled or modified your appointments, share how your health care is being affected. If you have other health conditions that may increase your risk for complications related to COVID-19, share that as well.
According to research on COVID-19 in China, people who had one additional disease — from diabetes to cardiovascular disease to cancer — had a 79 percent higher risk of requiring intensive care, needing a respirator, or dying as a result of the coronavirus infection.
Six in 10 adults in America have at least one chronic illness.
The threat of COVID-19 was deemed serious enough to affect major institutions:
These organizations are prioritizing public health over the hundreds of millions of dollars (or more) they will lose by closing. If we can stay home, we should stay home.
If you have any other friends or family who are taking the coronavirus threat seriously, ask them to talk to that loved one on your behalf. Social distancing only works if everyone is on board.
As our families, communities, and countries make it through this pandemic together, it's more important than ever to find ways to stay connected. Strengthening your bonds with friends and family is one way to manage heightened feelings of depression or anxiety that may arise during this time. Here are a few suggestions for ways to socialize from a safe distance.
MyDepressionTeam is another way our community of nearly 127,00 members living with depression stays strong together. Have you found ways to talk to your loved ones about coronavirus safety measures? What are you doing to stay connected to others during this time of heightened concern and social distancing? Share in the comments below or post on MyDepressionTeam.