“I saw in the news that a 16-year-old boy, at the age of my brother, died of COVID. You do not think it will happen to you or anyone in your family, but it is happening,” said Carol, a young lawyer from the city of Pelota in Brazil.
Just a few days ago, her friend’s grandfather had died of COVID-19. He had just attended a birthday party with over 100 people.
Carolis in a constant state of anxiety. She is alarmed by the rising death rate and feels the grief of all the grieving.
Carol says she has found solace in reading fiction
Brazil is experiencing a record number of infections. And with over 300,000 deaths reported, the Brazil curve shows no sign of flattening.
Carol’s hometown was under an imposed deadlock when there was a dramatic increase in cases. For weeks, businesses and all outside activities were suspended.
But many people ignored the restrictions, moving around the city, not wearing masks. This made Carol very worried. Because she lives with her family, including a grandmother, she had to be careful. Last year, she chose a friend to be the only person she would meet for months to come.
Carol had studied for Brazil’s annual exam for public defenders. But then this was canceled. “I do not want to sound selfish,” she said. “I know people are fighting a lot harder than me and they can’t get work because of the pandemic, but it really is frustrating.”
The study is a solitary process, Carol said: “If you take it (the pandemic) seriously, then you are at home all day, all alone, and just meeting people who live in your home. It’s very difficult. But “If he does not ‘take it seriously, nothing will change,'” she added.
Carol has also been seen on social media as people across Brazil have taken care of the wind and celebrated on the beaches. She blames President Jair Bolsonaro for not taking the pandemic seriously and speaking out against safeguards.
Uncertainty is frightening, Carol said.
But she has found relief in fabrications. “Last year I read more than 50 books,” Carol said. “I’ve never done it before. I like it because it’s a way of transporting myself to another reality. It may sound silly, but it really helped me.”
South Africa: ‘Much longer than we anticipated or budgeted’
In Johannesburg, South Africa, 28-year-old Lindane also made books his constant companions.
“There was nowhere to go, so I just kept up with the books,” Lindane said. “Reading a lot and playing the PlayStation was my coping mechanism.”
Lindane would like the South African government to set up an aid line
When the pandemic first hit the country, Lindaniand his friends thought it “is just one of those pandemics coming and going”. South Africa has a history of fighting AIDS, smallpox and other diseases.
So when the first blockade was implemented in March 2020, many people were unprepared, Lindani said. And within a few months, people realized that this was “much bigger than we anticipated and lasts much longer than we anticipated.”
Lindan shares an apartment with his brother, who works in a small printing shop. They manage to secure his small income. “We are lucky to have money to survive, we did not have to go hungry or go to our relatives, and that gives us hope and confidence,” Lindani said.
He said one of the biggest challenges was shifting to online education. South African students had protested against high tuition fees, but the shift to online classes has now made things even more expensive. Students must have a computer and internet connection to be able to attend classes.
“I depend on a desktop computer, and it’s very difficult because the grid goes down when we have regular power outages,” Lindani said. “I’m lucky to have a computer: Other people don’t even have a cell phone, much less a computer to learn online.”
Financial problems, limited access to education, and exhaustion from stalemate in South Africa on the edge. Lindan says they have the feeling of “walls closing” and everyone is experiencing what has become known as “pandemic fatigue”.
Pandemic fatigue defined as a range of emotions and experiences that result in a demotivation to follow the recommended behaviors COVID-19, according to the WHO.
“We know we have to be home by 10pm, but we find ourselves on the street even after the clock stops, buying alcohol when it was stopped, or at a party where there are more people than we should,” Lindani said. .
Lindane added: “I think it’s normal for people to think ‘we have to live, and if we die, we die too’. … Of course, it’s stressful and scary. So if the government is going to impose more restrictions, “There will be a riot. People are still recovering from previous blockages.”
Lindan’s suggestion is that the government set up a toll-free helpline for people with crisis experience to contact professionals, “because you end up having more suicides from young people and even older people who are trapped. home without work and hungry children “.
Mohit lost his income as a lawyer
India: ‘Survival of the fittest’
Fear of suicide is also prevalent in India. Data from the crime office in the country show over 15 suicides every hour occurring in 2019. And the COVID pandemic is expected to increase those numbers upwards.
“People lost their jobs; lawyers committed suicide,” said Mohit, a 29-year-old lawyer. “Some of my friends were forced to sell vegetables. Doctoral students and professors were forced to do physical work during the jam.” He lives with his parents in Meerut, in the populous state of Uttar Pradesh.
Mohit lost his source of income when the courts closed during the blockade. In India, a lawyer is like a daily bet, it is a war, Mohit said. Gains are not permanent.
The strict nationwide closure implemented in March 2020 cut off the lives of more than 1.3 billion people. Mass unemployment ensued. Some warn of a national mental health crisis.
Mohits suddenly found himself sitting at home doing nothing. “It became a frustrating, self-frustrating suicide,” he confessed.
But he was lucky to get a teaching job at Uttar Pradesh State University. However, he has not been paid since December 2020, as the state claims he has run out of money and points the finger at the central government.
At Mohit University he observes many students and teachers opposing COVID restrictions by not wearing their masks. So he lives in constant fear of infection and bringing the virus home to his parents. Therefore Mohit now spends his free time alone at home.
Uncertainty and a midpandemic career in Moit health last year.
“Now I still feel insecure. I do not know where my career will be. I’m just flowing, like a river, I do not know if I will end up in the Indian Ocean or the Bay of Bengal,” he joked.
Laura suffered mental and physical problems during the pandemic
Germany: ‘Lost Social Sensitivity’
A lack of social sensitivity has become apparent in Germany, said Laura, a journalism student living with a roommate in Berlin. Shefeels has become much harder to connect with people or interact with over the past year.
“It’s really hard to talk about Magnification during class,” Laura said. “It’s not that lively and misunderstandings can easily happen.”
Laura said she “definitely” experienced fatigue and described the feeling as “in a trance, somewhere in space”.
But since Germany introduced the COVID-19 self-tests and started offering fast weekly free tests, Laura has seen new opportunities open up.
“Super super okay to say, ‘I can no longer do this, I have to see another person,'” Laura said.
Laura’s friends treat the situation differently, she said. Some are super strict and do not see anyone, some see a few people a week, and then there are some who even judge you for not doing anything and not staying home, which can be difficult to deal with, she added .
Laura said she had reached a point where talking about COVID-19 with friends or discussing limitations makes you feel stressed and even sick.
Stress over the past year has had an impact on her overall health: She had a dramatic and unintended weight loss of 10 pounds (22 pounds) and developed tinnitus and a partial hearing loss. Her doctor told her that the number of people with similar symptoms had increased exponentially during the pandemic.
“I had to take medication and go to physiotherapy,” Laura said. “But even now I have a sound constantly in my right ear has not disappeared.”
Laura sees room for improvement in Germany’s fight against the pandemic. “Politicians and scientists do not look at personal feelings: They only think about the number of infection or the number of the economy,” she said. “There needs to be more talk about mental health.”
Editor’s note: If you suffer from serious emotional strain or suicidal thoughts, do not hesitate to seek professional help. You can find information on where you can find such help, no matter where you live in the world, at this website: https://www.befrienders.org/
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