A little guidance to protect our mental health during the covid-19 pandemic and its uncertainty
What is worrying you the most during this pandemic?
There’s a number of mental challenges people may face as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic and it’s coverage on the media. Hygiene guidance and the fear of being infected may fuel health anxiety and also make people who have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) tendencies more difficult. Whilst many people can laugh off the issue and cope with the uncertainty with humor, it is important for the community to understand that some people may be genuinely afraid and rightfully so, since they may be part of an at-risk group, elderly or have a pre-existing illness or they have friends or family who are particularly vulnerable.
For those with OCD or health anxiety going on public transport during this time may feel like a nightmare. We also want to acknowledge that it could fuel a lot of struggles such as suicidal feelings, paranoia, feelings of hopelessness and helplessness and much more. It’s hard to provide reassurance when something like this is invisible to the eye. Perhaps it is so anxiety-provoking because we cannot see what or who is infected. However, we should all be aware of where our fears actually lie and whether or not it is the uncertainty surrounding the issues that is making us feel a little uneasy. Collectively there’s a sense that we are out of control but this does not have to lead to panic.
As Muslims we are fully aware that Allah SWT is Al-Hafeedh (The Preserver, The Protector), and He is ultimately in control of the affairs on this planet, and only intends what is best for us – even if we can’t understand it. So even if this threat is unseen, and is a source of anxiety, we can be rest assured that if we “tie our camel” and rely on Allah SWT everything, in the end, will be okay In Sha Allah. This translates to staying calm, as calm as we can be, through putting our trust in Him and knowing that this is temporary and it will pass. Our patience, compassion and resilience is being tested, and we will come out stronger. Always try to emulate the Prophet (ﷺ) and his companions, ask yourself “what would the Prophet (ﷺ) do?”.
Regarding “tying our camel” or to put it in another way, taking due diligence to protect ourselves and others from harm, it’s also difficult to trust which advice you should follow when there are differences of opinion and a range of different voices on the subject. In times like this it may offer some comfort to listen to clear government guidance and simply disregard other opinions in order to reduce confusion. This is an exercise in trust, and frankly if people give in to hysteria there will be a lot more to worry about than the difficulty of finding toilet paper. Current advice can be found here: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/ and https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-the-public.