Sticking Your Head Above A Tossed Sea: A Psychologist’s Perspective on COVID-19

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For countries and populations world over, there is no worse time as it is now to be locked behind the four walls of one’s house with no one to talk to other than the screen and walls. As governments battle the CoronaVirus by shutting down streets, another battle is emerging. One brought up by anxiety and distress, that may ultimately affect many in the long run. However, as Grace Kinuthia a psychologist based in Nairobi says, “dealing with it one day at a time” will ultimately help. Here is the rest of the interview with Kevin Kabuya.

Q: As efforts are being made to combat the novel CoronaVirus, for the rest of the population, a heavy toll is on them. In that regard, there is the importance of staying connected with family and friends but how psychologically disoriented can one be at the end of this? And how does one ensure they are mentally stable more so for those staying alone?
Grace Kinuthia:  COVID-19 is a crisis that people were not well prepared for and other than financially or physically people were not psychologically prepared.
With a crisis comes instability that creates stressors and also anxiety. This can also be a trigger for people who have undergone other instabilities in life.
Psychologically this will bring in phobias, anxiety due to fear of the unknown.
For providers in families who are unable to provide this may leave them in depression.
For business owners as well who may end up in losses. During this period people will lose their loved ones causing pain, trauma, and grief. This is also a period where we get to see a lot of domestic violence. So after this, we may see a lot of mental health issues.
Secondly, for people who are living alone. It’s likely one to undergo loneliness, easily stressed, and also trigger depression. This could also be a period people may end up engaging in harmful behavior, such as porn, sex addiction, food addiction, social media addiction, drugs among others.
It’s important for one to plan out their day, schedule for human interaction, call their family or friends, get to exercise, take walks where possible. It would also be great to get an accountability partner.

Q: Briefly, many people are indoors, is social media, all platforms combined, a go-to tool now?
Grace Kinuthia: Yes, it is because you can also learn a lot from it an get online support
Q: Still on social media usage, many of these social apps use words such as Like, or Favorite on Twitter and Connect on LinkedIn. To someone not in contact with the outside world except through these platforms, how “needful” can they make the individual be?
Grace Kinuthia: It doesn’t have to make one needy unless one is looking or seeking approval through social media.
One should be able to differentiate the real-world and social media.
Q: In differentiating, how can one wade of that appeal?
Grace Kinuthia: Goes back to one’s identity and self-worth, also notice when one is having imposter syndrome,get support system as well also one has to define themselves positively and constantly use words of affirmation
Q: Lastly, what is the advice in the best case scenario can you give to anyone so they come out of this stronger even then better?

Grace Kinuthia: It’s okay not to be okay. Take care of yourself you are still needed after COVID-19. No one even our own government has it figured out.
A day at a time

You can reach out to Grace Kinuthia, psychologist, on 0733682006