INCREDIBLE! We are in August! Wow! As I enter the 5th Month of my self-imposed exile in Ghana, the usual feelings of panic, fear, anxiety, and stress hits me in waves all over again. Why? Some will argue that I have more than most people. After all, I am in Ghana, my motherland. I have a roof over my head, abundance of healthy fresh food, I get to reconnect with old friends and connect with new ones. So, I ask again, WHY the emotional rollercoaster? Folk, we are not living in normal times anymore. We have the new norm because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Millions like me have been affected by COVID-19 since the first cases were reported this year. While information relating to the physical symptoms, spread, and preventive measures has become increasingly available, less attention has been paid to the secondary effects of COVID-19. The socio-economic impact of this virus has been devastating, leaving so many people in sustained isolation, some having lost their jobs and feeling trapped with anxiety and fear—all while taking on increasingly active caregiving roles. The mental health and stress people are experiencing due to COVID-19 is extraordinary. The large-scale interruption of our daily lives continues to have rippling effects on our emotional and mental stability. The Pandemic has created a toxic cocktail of stress, anxiety and fear combined with social isolation and this is creating a global mental health crisis within a crisis.
The challenge with this global mental health crisis is that, in most African Countries there is a lack of awareness and apathy for mental health. There is a great need for coping skills and mechanisms to deal with mental health crisis during this pandemic. Unfortunately, our cultural beliefs and social conditioning leads most Africans to see mental health as a taboo subject to discuss, let alone seek treatment. The danger with this dangerous attitude is, signs and symptoms are either missed or ignored. I am neither a psychologist nor psychiatrist, or an expert in mental health, but common sense dictates that we seek help, or talk to someone when we start experiencing the following feelings and emotions: Persistent sadness or feelings of hopelessness; Dramatic changes in eating or sleeping habits; Appetite and/or weight changes; Decreased energy or fatigue; Excessive fear or worry; Extremely high and low moods; Aches, headaches, or digestive problems without a clear cause; and Irritability. If you have been experiencing any or all these feelings and think you are alone, trust and believe YOU ARE NOT ALONE! YOU must not feel embarrassed or hesitate to have healthy and productive conversations with friends and family concerning these issues. Hello, I am a strong, confident, and audacious woman. Heck I am fearless and ready to meet any challenge head-on. BUT let me reiterate, these are not normal times, and I am not ashamed to admit that I have experienced all the above. I have watched my mother look at me with a look of helplessness as I come out of my room after refusing to eat all day because I have no appetite. I have hidden in my room with the curtains drawn staring at the ceiling. YET, I will jump on social media and engage with folk as though my life was honky dory, as we say in London! On the few occasions that I will meet up with friends, I will stoically hold my own and carry on like I did not have a care in the world. Sounds familiar?… Good grief! Is that the time? Akua Dede As3mp3 loves to BLOG! … I SHALL RETURN