By Dominique Paliani
Special to Niagara Frontier Publications
During this national pandemic whether you are in quarantine or trying to get used to this new normal it takes a lot on many individuals mental health, that is not really talked about. Even though these past couple months have been very stressful to a majority of people.
Take quarantine for example, before this pandemic most people probably had not heard this word and now its apart of our everyday language. Quarantine is defined by google as a state, period, or place of isolation in which people or animals that have arrived from elsewhere or been exposed to infectious or contagious disease are placed. During this pandemic it deals with individuals having to quarantine if exposed to the corona virus for 14 days, to see if they are positive or not. Even when negative the individual needs to still self-quarantine to make sure they do not end up getting any symptoms, along with if an individual test positive they need to quarantine for 10 days since it is believed that after 10 days symptoms or not the individual is no longer contagious.
During quarantine there is no seeing other individuals if you would like to see them you need to do that through a screen and that is when the mental health comes in. Individuals in quarantine are so self-isolated it gets lonely. According to a consultant psychiatrist, Dr. Sanil Rege, quarantine related symptoms of stress have been reported to be associated with several negative outcomes such as low moods, irritability, insomnia, anger, and emotional exhaustion. Which he explains in his blog post on the Psych Scene Hub (https://psychscenehub.com/psychinsights/the-mental-health-impact-of-quarantine/). Dr. Rege has six different fears that are believed to be big stressors during quarantine. For starters the about of time the individual is going to spend in quarantine and the longer the time the worse the mental health outcomes. The fear of disease also, when the Corona Virus was first introduced it was so chaotic since no one knew what to expect. Along with the fear of the disease is the information given, this virus is still so new and unknown that it is frustrating for people because it seems as everyday new facts about this virus is coming out. In the beginning of this pandemic everyone was going crazy with what to buy. Which would be the stress on supplies, which made it even more stressful because companies were not expecting this so they were not prepared and stocked up which lead to limited supplies on essential items. Then there is the financial problem, if people are in quarantine, they cannot necessarily do their job. Since not all jobs can be done from home, it leads to the individual losing out on money that they need for basic necessities. The final stressor is frustration and boredom which happens to be one of the most important. With just sitting at home or the designated place quarantine the loss of social contact can be very hard on certain individuals. Along with leading so unhealthy ways of coping such as higher consumptions on alcohol.
Brendan Smith and Mariah Carson two sophomores at Niagara University who were exposed to a positive case so the school sent them to quarantine just to be cautious. Smith is quarantining at the Riverside Hotel and Resort, by himself in the hotel room. That means he is not allowed to leave the room for any reason for 14 days anything that he needs has to be brought up to him and he can get the item or food when the person who delivers it leaves. “I feel very isolated from the world being locked into this hotel room which leads me to feeling depressed,” Smith said. Carson decided to go back home to Rochester and quarantine in her room in her house. Even though she is quarantining at home it’s not much better. “Anytime I leave my room whether it is to use the bathroom or get food from the kitchen I must make sure no one is around, along with wearing a mask and disinfecting anything I touch,” Carson says about being home to quarantine. Even though she is so close to her family she still is unable to be around them like she normally would be just for the reason of being on the safe side and protecting her family members. These two college students are used to being surrounded by friends and peers, so being by themselves is much different and lonely, especially for 14 days. They both spend most of their days very similarly lots of laying around in bed and sleeping along with just watching television and the occasional homework. Then the next day all repeated which becomes very repetitive. The only plus side to Carson quarantining at home is that she can actually go outside and get some fresh air along with different scenery. Whereas Smith looks at the same things every day in his hotel room.
Both Carson and Smith being forced into quarantine has not been easy. Both individuals losing interest in doing simple things that they once loved doing. Smith and Carson both agreeing that they do not want to do anything even doing a simple task like a homework assignment. Having no motivation but laying around since it is such a common thing to do during quarantine. Also, with not a lot of food option Smiths is starting to grow tired of the food he has already been eating the past week, with another week to go. It is also frustrating for them being in quarantine since they have been so careful all semester. Since they were in contact with an individual that was not as careful, they unfortunately need to quarantine.
No matter where individuals are quarantining there is no “fun” quarantine, it is awful and from day one individuals cannot wait to get out. It is a long two weeks for individuals to have to go through, especially with constantly trying to have a positive mindset. Which sometime it’s just become so frustrating and difficult that the individuals feel as if they are going crazy. Even though quarantining is becoming a part of the new normal in our society and protecting others, it may also be doing some harm to those put in quarantine.
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