Srinagar: 21-year-old Sadiya (name changed) is suffering from insomnia for the last few days. She has never experienced this in her entire life. But she is not alone in experiencing such new and sudden disorders; Covid-19 has caused insomnia, anxiety, depression and other psychological disorders across the whole world.
Sadiya, too, feels anxious and depressed. She tries to constantly keep herself engaged in household activities and watching programmes on the internet. Fortunately, this has worked and she is feeling a little better.
“I have not been able to sleep due to depression and anxiety. I have taken some online consultations with doctors and that has helped. Besides, I’m keeping myself busy with different things at home, and also watching different things on internet to keep myself distracted,” she says.
“I have never experienced such sort of uneasiness in my life. Sometimes it seems like I’ve lost control over myself, but I’m not giving up before this mental and emotional mess,” she adds.
Many people in Kashmir have reported symptoms of stress and anxiety since the threat of the virus emerged. People say they are feeling uncertain for themselves, and bear a constant fear in their minds about contracting the virus.
Psychiatrists say that more people are ringing them up and seeking online consultations, as meeting the doctor in person is difficult due to the lockdown.
Though doctors are trying to provide every possible help by counselling patients on the phone, in some serious cases patients have been asked to meet the doctor at hospital.
Some doctors, nominated by Doctors Association Kashmir for consultations on phone, are receiving as many calls as 50-60 a day. Doctors say that usually people complain of problems of anxiety and sleeplessness, but these are short-term problems and there is nothing to worry about.
Dr Sheikh Shoaib, consultant psychiatrist at JLNM Hospital in Srinagar, said, “I’m receiving at least 50-60 calls per day. People are inquiring about anxiety, depression, and sleeplessness. I try to counsel them on phone that there is nothing to worry about.”
Dr Shoaib said that he tells people to be busy with household activities and play games besides watching shows on the internet. However, the situation has exacerbated symptoms in those with existing mental health problems, the doctor said.
Dr Yasir Rather, a psychiatrist, said, “We have seen a rise in anxiety and sleeplessness problems among people, even among young people. I have been receiving calls from many people and I try to convince them that this is a minor issue, it will vanish once the crisis is over.”
“All they need to do is have trust in themselves and deem themselves safe and fine. It all comes due to fear. We need to stay strong and InshaAllah we’ll overcome the pandemic soon,” Dr Rather added.
The National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences has launched a helpline to help people suffering from mental problems. On the first day, the helpline received 1,000 calls while on the second day it received 3,000 calls.