Is Delta Variant Bad for Cave Syndrome?
The end of summer is here. Kids are returning to class, offices are reopening more than ever since Covid hit, and even concert tours and events are popping back up all across the country. Things are - we thought - getting back to normal. But a wrench was thrown in the gears.
The “delta” variant of the Covid virus has taken the world by storm and some states in the nation are doing a little worse than others. For example, my practice is located in South Florida, one of the worst-hit regions.
Part of the natural progression of a pandemic is that the virus will evolve and eventually become a bit more contagious and severe. Although we knew what to expect, a slower than expected rate of vaccinations combined with regional spikes have shaken people up quite a bit.
Every day I see more patients who thought they were going to re-enter public life only to be thrust back home with a mind full of anxiety and paranoia.
Even for vaccinated individuals, the delta variant has been shown to cause illness in the infected. Yes, the vaccine protects against hospitalization and death in these instances, but some still fall quite ill. At the very least it sounds rather unpleasant and let’s face it: no one wants to get sick at all.
Is Cave syndrome getting worse?
For people who were suffering from Cave syndrome and refused to come back into the world before, this new development may be absolutely paralyzing. The added destabilizing and uncertainty might deepen pre-existing anxiety, depression, and maybe even PTSD. It can be devastating for their confidence in carrying on.
The pandemic created a surge in mental illness due to lockdown, anxiety about the virus and the future, substance abuse as a coping mechanism, and trauma about returning to a fearful closed-off state of mind. All of these stresses and behaviors can compound and become even worse. What we need is a way to stay safe, but stay sane at the same time a reasonable way to move forward while acknowledging that life moves on.
The solution? Stay reasonable!
How can we cope with the fear of getting sick but avoid the suffering and hopelessness of Cave syndrome?
Stay safe! But stay safe without getting into a horrible mental state.
Put your mind at ease with reasonable measures. What did we learn from the beginning of the pandemic? Well, we know that mask wearing helps a little. Stay away from crowded places as keeping close quarters with others can act as a vector for the virus. When it comes to your immune system, remember to eat healthy nutritious foods. Get the proper amount of sleep at the same time each night. Also rather important for the immune system: don’t let stress build up. Remind yourself that you’re taking all the proper precautions, and relax. Do what feels right for you.
Finally - and this one is important after the isolated year and a half we just had - maintain social connections. Meet with vaccinated friends, keep up with the Zoom meetings, and if you feel like you’re building confidence, go to a restaurant (maybe with outdoor seating). Loneliness and social isolation can have disastrous effects on our immune system, not to mention mental health. Stay in touch and share a laugh, it will help more than you think.
Finally, if the advice from this blog still doesn’t help and you feel stuck and unable to function in daily life, please reach out for professional mental health guidance. Bregman Medical Group offers online psychiatric and therapeutic services right to your device. Simply schedule an appointment at www.bregmanmd.com or call 305-740-3340.