My 13-year-old daughter’s horiffic middle of the night panic attack showed the scale of damages in our mental health caused by lockdowns restrictions.
It was my first experience with panic attack. I was about to go to sleep in my parents’ flat in the middle of the night during last summer holidays in Poland. Suddenly my daughter started crying, panicking, wheezing and then started being breathless. She shouted: “Do something daddy, I can’t breathe. I’m worried, I don’t see friends, this lockdown doesn’t allow me to go to school”.
It took about 30 minutes for her to calm down and another hour to get back to sleep. I can see how pandemic uncertainty made a negative impact on my always happy, easy going, positive and friendly daughter.
It’s shocking and scary for me as a parent. So much damage was done by limiting seeing friends, family and usual everyday routine activities.
I’m very worried because she’s asthmatic from an early age. She said: “I’m lonely, worried and much more often sad than before. Some of my friends are the same. Quite few of them have regular panic attacks.”
It’s worth pointing out that she has never had an anxiety or panic attacks before. Since pandemic outbreak and lockdown measures being introduced Zuzanna had it three times. As she explained: “It’s to do with lockdown, not seeing friends, being trapped at home. That’s why I’m upset and sometimes panicking.”
Pandemic measures made an impact on her teenage life. She is in a better position with a proper support from myself, her mum and the other family members. But what about all of these young people and adults who are left on their own, with no helping hand?
With lockdown being introduced once again it doubles up the amount of stress.
Steven Taylor, professor of psychiatry and the author of ‘The Psychology of pandemics’ said that: “for an unfortunate minority of people, perhaps 10-15 per cent, life will not return to normal” due to pandemic impact on their wellbeing.”
Anna Siudak, English literature graduate, freelance writer and translator, suffering with depression in pre-Covid times herself pointed out that being motivated, occupied with things to do and hopeful for better future is the way to go in these uncertain and a very challenging times. She said: “We’ve got that sense of being trapped, that we can’t live our lives.
“People are agressive, depressed and so on. When people panic, they lose their right judgment.
“We feel very lost and uncomfortable with this situation. We’ve got additional stress in terms of lack of hope. It’s hard to say what is going to happen next. I always find things to do. I try to stay motivated.”
We should all try to understand each other. Even though social distancing rules are in place, we need to support our friends, neighbours, family members. Helping hand and small gesture make a difference.
To seek help it’s worth going to: www.nhs.uk/condition/stress-anxiety or call Samaritans on 116 123, alternatively send an e-mail to: email@example.com for a reply within 24 hours.
Under 19 can also call 0800 1111 to talk to Childline.