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End lockdown, save lives.


2 months ago3 min read

Dr Mike deBoisblank, a doctor at John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek, California, says lockdown needs to end in order to save lives

A devastating toll nobody talks about.

A note of reflective caution, since this fits all my priors like a glove: this is one area and a limited time frame. I truly hope this is not reflective of national trends.

But I've seen too many people dismiss possible mental health effects of our collective (policy and voluntary) responses to the pandemic, as though mental health problems aren't also life threatening and life altering.

If you have never been on the verge of suicide, and want to argue that we can't be worrying about mental health issues right now, you can just go to hell. Depression is not just about feeling sad, or a bit blue. It's about feeling like a worthless human, about feeling like your life is completely out of control and you're a helpless passenger on a crashing plane, about not having the emotional energy to get out of bed and face yet another day of that helpless feeling, and about thinking that if you weren't alive you wouldn't feel that pain, and everyone around you would be better off without the burden of you.

Not a cry of help

As someone, who knows someone that attempted suicide (and succeeded,) I know first hand that people suffering this level of depression feel truly isolated; to the point that they don't even let you know about it. That's not to say that people who express themselves and make a lot of noise about being depressed aren't worth giving attention to, but it is the people that don't give any signals that are the hardest to identify, and indeed likely to go through with it.

We cannot ignore the importance of mental well-being, particularly in a truly dire time like now. Those of us who have the fortitude to see things through will know that the feeling of isolation can be the catalyst which activates the harbouring thoughts of ending one's life. Look out for people who seem particularly distant, hell, just drop them a message and talk with them. Connect with people you haven't spoken to a while. If not to save them from suicide, then it serves both parties a good bit of positive social feedback. We can all do with more of that right now.

As Emmylou Harris sang,

"One thing they don't tell you about the blues when you got 'em, You keep on falling cause there ain't no bottom."


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