This pandemic has been hard in so many ways and on so many people in our society as well as around the world. COVID-19 has exacerbated problems like isolation and loneliness to epidemic levels and has shown us just what being alone is all about. There are millions who have suffered during this pandemic with the lockdowns and stay-at-home orders, but for those who already felt isolated and lonely, it has been worse.
Those who have mental health disorders and addictions have been the ones who have suffered the most during the pandemic. Recovery groups that were lifelines for addicts and alcoholics suddenly had to go online and cease their in-person meetings. There is a saying in the rooms of recovery that isolation is a killer for those with addiction and mental health issues and we have all been locked down and isolated for nearly a year.
These groups suffer enough with feeling socially isolated and alone, add a global pandemic into the mix and people suffer even more than some of them can handle. Then, we have other issues that relate to the impact that our new COVID world has had on loneliness like how we cannot date, socialize with others, be with loved ones who are sick and in hospitals, and much, much more.
The pandemic has changed how we interact with each other and relate to the world. People have had to adapt to more online dating, online support groups, and working from home, but sometimes not even these ways that we learn to adapt to are enough. There are issues like sexual frustration and loneliness for companionship that are real problems, there are professions that cannot work from home, and so on that make life hard during these times. There are so many ways that this pandemic has changed things for many people, especially those who suffer from substance abuse and mental illness.
The healthy outlets that these people and everyone else for that matter had to cope with difficult times and enjoy life are gone, or at least very different than they once were. Things like fans filling sports stadiums, going to see a band in concert, going on a trip, or simply a movie have all either been taken away or changed in a dramatic way. Life has without a doubt changed for these people and not in a good way.
I say not in a good way because the pandemic has caused the depressed to become more depressed, the lonely to feel more alone, the isolated to be more secluded, and hopeless to have less hope. This is not said to be grim, but to show how this pandemic has not only taken so many lives from the virus and caused so much sickness, but that the other effects of this pandemic has made things worse for so many.
I get that the lockdowns are needed to contain the spread of the virus and not have the hospitals become overwhelmed and the ICUs full. I truly do get that we need to do these things to keep people safe, especially since I have had the coronavirus twice. I am just saying that some 11 months into this I am starting to see the other effects of the pandemic as even I have become lonely and suffer from pandemic fatigue. It only has been within the last few weeks where I have begun to feel the weight of the isolation and the loneliness of this whole situation.
I get why so many in recovery from substances are relapsing and why suicide rates have been rising during this pandemic. People are having a hard time with the way things are and the new normal that we all have been living under for the better part of a year. These are challenging times for so many of us and during hard times we must find ways to relate to one another to feel less isolated and a part of.
The end is near we hope and the isolation and loneliness that we all feel will end as well.