7 Days of Hope – Day 1
by Dr Veerle Van Tricht MD
It is me, Dr Veerle, I am talking to you from lockdown UK. I work full time as a doctor at a tertiary COVID-invested hospital in Newport, Wales.
Correct me if I am wrong but I thought it was important to talk about your mental health during this pandemic.
I see a lot of people around me who are fearful and this is a normal reaction because we are confronted with a viral infection we cannot see, it is an invisible enemy which kills people across all age ranges. Children as young as 5 years old have died, there are young people in hospital with the virus on ventilators. Unfortunately, this is a reality we don’t often get confronted with. There is not much you can do. But being in lockdown means that the risk of getting infected and dying an early death is greatly reduced.
There are 4 main fears which are keeping people awake at night during this pandemic:
- Fear of dying
- Fear of losing a loved one
- Fear of losing your job
- Fear of a loss of income and bankruptcy
My colleagues and I are working in a busy hospital with lots of COVID-19 infected people. Many nurses are infected and absent. People who are working on the front line are putting themselves in a lot of danger and are in fear not only for their own lives but for the people they love. When they go home after a shift, they could be carrying the virus with them unknowingly as you can be infected and not become ill until a week or two later. So, although frontline workers really want to help, they can also succumb to stress and anxiety.
That is why I want to talk to you as: BEING ANXIOUS DOESN’T HELP!
Being careful helps – washing your hands helps, social isolation (if you can,) helps, not touching everything in the grocery store helps.
There are a lot of things you can do to keep yourself and your family safe during this pandemic. But people working on the frontline need a bit more help. I know this is very controversial and not everyone is going to like this:
THE MAIN FEAR PEOPLE ARE STRUGGLING WITH AT THE MOMENT IS THE FEAR OF DYING.
In Western culture in particular, young people are not confronted with the idea of death. As you get older and perhaps have had a few health scares like me, you know that death is inevitable, it is part of life and will happen one day.
Once you have accepted this, you are not afraid of dying per se but you become ANXIOUS ABOUT LEAVING YOUR LOVED ONES BEHIND (children, partner, others you care for).
For instance, I am a single mum with no family backup in the UK so if anything happens to me, my 3 teenage children are completely on their own and they are not mature enough to take care of themselves. So that is my biggest fear. During week 1 of the pandemic I sat with my fear of dying and I came to the following conclusion: I have been in intensive care a few times and what I realised is that it is going to happen one day and being anxious is really not helpful.
In my memoir, I wrote about one of my near death experiences when I was drowning in the ocean in South Africa. This is what I experienced: When I gave up the fight and accepted the inevitable, there is a peace which comes over you. When you see the movie of your life pass in front of your eyes, you might spot questionable decisions. I had no regrets and then I was saved! You can read all about my story in my book ‘My Surgeon Talks To Angels My Journey From Science to Faith’ available from Amazon. If anyone has been through something similar they will realise that there is really nothing to fear.
Losing my partner is the most painful thing I have ever been through. I lost my husband, the father of my children, when he was only 45 from cancer and it is absolutely heart-breaking to have someone you love so much being removed from your life permanently. It is also painful for everyone else who is left behind with a big hole in their life where the person was physically, emotionally, spiritually, a presence that is no longer there.
So I understand what people, who are losing loved ones because of a COVID-19 infection, are going through at the moment.
It is heart-breaking. YOU really need to get help if you find yourself in this situation (through grief counselling and/or journey work) etc.
So, the fear of dying and the fear of losing a loved one are the two things we are most afraid of at the moment.
A lot of you will be scared because you have lost your job and your income. In some countries such as the UK, people are getting help from the government and banks are trying to help too.
Remember that job loss and income loss may be making you anxious at the moment but these things are not permanent. It is not always bad to lose a job as it may take you on a path in a different direction and you could end up with something a lot better.
This is a time to sit down and decide WHAT YOU REALLY WANT TO DO WITH YOUR LIFE!
- Do you know the reason you were born?
- Would you like to know your life purpose?
If you are interested, I have a guided meditation on how to find your life purpose so please contact me and I will send it to you FREE.
Furthermore: you can find a nice collection of inspirational and educational health and well-being blogs on my website https://www.burnoutexpert.co.uk which you may find useful.
Over the next few weeks, I will be posting more subjects such as:
How to deal with stress,
How to deal with loneliness,
How to avoid Burnout,
What to do to avoid boredom and
Tension healing techniques for people who are in a relationship and in lockdown together.
Contact me by firstname.lastname@example.org for one to one coaching. Or for a 15 minute complementary call.
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