Tested Positive: How To Cope Up With Mental Stress And Anxiety

Specialist Psychiatrist

Medcare Hospital Sharjah

The entire COVID-19 pandemic is a new phenomenon for everybody around the world. People who have been tested positive for COVID-19 or even been cured of it may remain anxious and over-stressed due to the uncertainty around it. Long isolation and quarantine periods, no established cures or vaccinations for the virus, can have negative impact on mental health which can lead to issues such as anxiety and panic attacks.

A majority of people continue to prefer to stay home even after the upliftment of the lockdown, as they may still be anxious; overwhelmed or over-apprehensive about getting infected or re-infected.

These situations can lead to long term impact on the minds of people where some may end up developing underlying issues such as feeling anxious in closed spaces or having panic attacks around crowded areas like malls or restaurants. People may also face stigma and shame of being infected or feel that they may be shunned by others for having had contracted the virus.

Here are a few ways to deal with the anxiety issues that may stem from the above problems:

  • Acknowledging facts: One needs to understand that anxiety stems from uncertainty. A way to deal with this is to understand the facts about the COVID-19 virus and not pay attention or believe hoaxes and false claims and stories around it.
  • Symptoms: Do not create panic in your own mind regarding the virus. Understanding the symptoms and how it affects the body will help you deal with it better. The virus causes respiratory tract infection and it spreads rapidly. Majority of cases are asymptomatic and may show only mild symptoms even if you get infected which means your immune system can fight it and you will get better.
  • COVID Positive: If you have been tested positive for COVID – 19, go to a doctor and let them assess the severity of your condition. Allow them to suggest a suitable treatment regimen either by isolating yourself or any other course and follow instructions carefully. During isolation or quarantine, use phone calls or video calls to stay connected to your friends and family on a regular basis. Expressing yourself and sharing your thoughts and feelings with your loved ones on an ongoing basis can help.  
  • Signs of mental disorder: It is very normal to feel anxious and worry or sometimes feel sad. But if it begins to affect your mental health then recognising the signs would be important. Preferring to be alone rather than with your family, intolerance to voice, lack of patience, getting upset or angry too easily, constant lack of motivation and/or feeling overwhelmed all the time, these may be signs of a potential underlying mental disorder like anxiety disorder or depression.
  • Take care of your body and don’t panic: A few measures that can help include taking deep breaths, stretching or meditating. Following the doctor’s advise on well-balanced meals and care would help. Once cured don’t forget to eat healthy and well-balanced meals whilst exercising regularly and providing your body with regular hours of sleep.
  • Avoid smoking, consumption of alcohol and use of drugs.

Program your brain to feel safe and calm instead of feeling anxious and panicked. You can do this through repeating this phrase everyday: “I cannot change things happening to me, but I can change how it affects me.” Staying positive will trigger and motivate your immune system against the virus. Aster’s Serenity App can act as your friend in coping with extreme anxiety and stress.