LOCKDOWN 2.0 has changed the questions in people’s minds

BHOPAL: Mental disorders—such as phobias, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), panic attack and insomnia—have hit humans more than ever before. Not the only common man, but doctors, too, have fallen prey to the infodemic triggered by news related to the coronavirus on the social networking sites.

Children have grown habituated to isolation and refrain from social interaction. Psychiatrists who have counselled patients during the corona outbreak last year say they are shocked to see the intensity of the illness among people in the society.

This year, the questions have changed and, now, the shattered callers are crying and even asking whether they will stay alive or not, unlike last year, when they would ask questions related to career and lockdown.

Even doctors are becoming prone to phobia attacks—they wake up during sleep as they feel there are corona patients sleeping all around them! The situation was not worse last year and, still, the psychologists feel that mental illness has impacted more people than any virus now.

‘Will die of stress, not corona’

Ruma Bhattacharya, a psychiatrist says she has counselled such cases where a 76-year-old man came out of the corona ward saying he would die from stress, not of corona. She says a family has to keep their 24-year-old son tied with ropes as he tries to run away due to the devastating news all around. A 12-year-old boy carries a sanitiser bottle round the clock and keeps spraying liquid on walls and doors as all of his family are shattered due to the negativity all around, says the doctor. The anxiety prevails all around and it has risen considerably this month, says Bhattacharya.

‘Don’t talk to me on the phone’

Kala Mohan, a psychologist, says she receives calls where elderly citizens are showing reluctance in getting admitted to hospitals. She says they have a fear that they will die. The panic has gripped them to such an extent that they do not want to talk to anyone even on the phone. The callers have an apprehension that, as they have seen deaths, they will die and they want to know when it will end and whether they will stay alive or not, she says.

‘All alone…locked up in a room’

Gauri Chaturvedi, a counsellor, says children have started avoiding everyone else and they wish to spend time only with themselves. Due to school sessions being suspended consecutively for two years and a brake on their games, they are now willing to stay aloof and even get irritated when the counsellor tries to talk to them. They have lost interest in physical activities and only want to spend time in a room all locked up and by themselves, she says.