It is normal to feel stressed and anxious
During this pandemic, it is common to experience some depression, a panic reaction and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Common responses include:
- worry of being infected
- fear of losing loved ones
- feelings of helplessness at home
- separation anxiety (when separated with family, or confined in quarantine)
- fear of not being able to work or losing your job
- feelings of boredom, loneliness or depression due to being isolated
- fear of uncertainty
Causes of anxiety and panic may be due to:
- Lack of helpful information or facts
- Rumours and fake news
- Influences from social media
Signs that your mental health is affected and when to get help
Your mental health is part of your overall health and is essential to your well-being. These indications help you identify when things are going off-track.
Signs to look for:
- Drastic changes in sleep pattern (eg- insomnia)
- Changes in appetite
- Extreme mood changes
- Easily angry, agitated or irritable
- Feeling extremely sad
- Severe tiredness and easily fatigued
- Losing interest on the things you loved to do
- Withdrawal from family members and friends
- Difficulty in focusing
- Desire to increase alcohol or tobacco use
[Referenced from: Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Covid-19]
Focus on what you can control
When you're having an anxiety attack and feel you've lost control of your surroundings, here are some techniques that may be of help to you.
The 4-7-8 deep breathing exercise
Another simple way of calming yourself down is to do a deep breathing exercise. It helps slow down your heart rate and help keep yourself relaxed. (I do this to stay calm and fall asleep better).
4 easy steps:
- Inhale (4 seconds)
- Hold your breath (7 seconds)
- Exhale (8 seconds)
- Repeat this cycle 4 times
This technique helps you to cope your anxiety by "grounding" you back in the present moment. This is commonly used when countering post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
- Place both feet flat on the floor. Sit up straight.
- Inhale slowly (count 1 to 5).
- Exhale slowly (count 1 to 5).
- Repeat 5 times.
- Then identify: 5 things you can see, 4 things you can touch, 3 things you can hear, 2 things you can smell & 1 thing you can taste.
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Read more about:
Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Covid-19 (PDF)
Malaysian Mental Health Association
Supporting someone with mental health problem
What is domestic violence
Getting help for domestic violence