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KIU Mental Health: How to Overcome Depression During the Lockdown


KIU, Western Campus – Two weeks have passed since President Yoweri Museveni imposed a total lockdown following the upsurge of COVID-19 cases caused by the Delta variant of the virus.

The lockdown has started to bite, with many people, especially those with daily incomes now eagerly waiting for government’s 100,000 shillings relief funds as pockets run dry, causing considerable stress which could transition into depression.

According to healthline, an online health website, depression is classified as a mood disorder. It may be described as feelings of sadness, loss, or anger that interfere with a person’s everyday activities. 

According to the American Psychological Association, Uganda is ranked among the top six countries in Africa in rates of depressive disorders(4.6%) while 2.9% live with anxiety disorders. About 5.1% of females and 3.6% of males are affected by depression and this figure could rise as the lockdown progresses.

Here are some ways of overcoming depression during this lockdown period;

1.    Accept what you are going through.  The key to self-treatment for depression is to be open, accepting, and loving toward yourself and what you’re going through. Accept that the lockdown is here and instead of imagining what could have been, just embrace your current situation and find fun ways of working with whatever you have right now. For example, if you do not have money to subscribe for your usual TV bouquet, watch the local channels and try to appreciate the content on offer.

2.    Don’t suppress your feelings. Suppressing your feelings and emotions may seem like a strategic way to cope with the negative symptoms of depression. But this technique is ultimately unhealthy. Consider writing or journaling about what you’re experiencing. Then, when the feelings lift, write about that, too. Seeing the ebb and flow of depressive symptoms can be instructive for both self-healing and hope.

3.    Understand the fact that what happens today will not happen tomorrow. Today’s mood, emotions, or thoughts don’t belong to tomorrow. If you can’t do some things because of the lockdown in this period, it doesn’t mean you will never do those things again. The lockdown will eventually be lifted and you can do whatever you want.

4.    Assess the parts instead of generalizing the whole. Depression can tinge recollections with negative emotions. You may find yourself focusing on the one thing that went wrong instead of the many things that went right. Instead of for example worrying about the time you are missing in school, think instead of the more time you are having with family as well as the free time you now have to do things you have always wanted to do but did not have time.

5.    Do the opposite of what the depression voice suggests. The negative, irrational voice in your head may talk you out of self-help. However, if you can learn to recognize it, you can learn to replace it. If the ‘voice’ tells you lockdown is such a bore, challenge it by looking for ways of making lockdown fun.

You may feel sad or angry at what the lockdown has stopped you from doing but look at the silver lining instead and adjust and look at the current situation as an opportunity to do different things.

Enjoy the rest of your 42-day lockdown folks!

Image: Science News For Students