Experts say anxiousness, fear in the time of pandemic is normal

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  • Health experts say it’s actually normal to feel uneasy, anxious, and uncertain during a pandemic
  • It is normal to feel anxious of what will happen tomorrow, a Filipino expert said
  • Calls and reports from people feeling anxious have dramatically increased over the past few months

Have you been feeling uneasy these days?

Anxiousness kicks in every time a news article pops in your feed and you can’t stop feeling afraid of the uncertainties these trying times bring. You try to talk it out with your friends virtually, and you would probably realized you’re all on the same page.

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Experts say it’s actually normal to feel uneasy, anxious, and uncertain during a pandemic. A Filipino psychologist even said that you’re not human when you don’t feel any of these emotions while the world faces a global health crisis.

Calls from persons experiencing anxiousness and other mental health problems received by the National Center for Mental Health (NCMH) in the Philippines doubled within the quarantine period, Dr. Bernard Argamosa, a psychiatrist at NCMH bared.

He said a total of 953 calls, mostly due to anxiety, came in from March to May 2020, way higher than the 400 calls they received from May 2019 to February 2020. Thirty percent of the over 900 calls in the span of three months are due to anxiety.

“Predominant reason for calling. Is anxiety, fear, uncertainty because this is a pandemic. This is something new because we never experienced something as big as this,” Argamosa said.

Another expert from the NCMH, Dr. Agnes Casino said in an interview that “it is normal that we feel the uncertainty, we feel anxious of what will happen tomorrow.”

Research showed that if this is happening in the Philippines, this could also be the trend in any part of the world due to the pandemic.

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According to a recent survey from the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, the number of people in the United States reporting feeling anxious and depressed peaked in early April.

“Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) introduced stressors to mental health, including loneliness stemming from social isolation, fear of contracting the disease, economic strain, and uncertainty about the future,” the researchers said.

For Dr. Violeta Bautista, the head of Clinical Psychology Program at the University of the Philippines, Filipinos being more aware and open in the conversation on mental health puts the country in a better stance against the situation.

“Hindi ka siguro tao kung hindi ka madi-disturb o made-destabilized kaya sinasabi natin itong mga mental health, psychosocial support services ay para sa ating lahat, para lumakas ang ating kalooban, maging marunong sa pagharap ng hamon na ito para yung mga normal na reaksyon sa abnormal na pinagdadaanan natin, hindi mag-develop into serious and complex psychological problem,” Bautista said.

[Maybe you’re not human when you are not disturbed and destabilized. That’s why we have established mental health and psychosocial support services for us to have courage in facing this obstacle so that our normal reactions to the abnormal situation we are experiencing won’t develop into a serious, complex psychological problem.]