Life & Style
Dealing with anxiety and fear over dengueConcerns over getting infected by dengue negatively impact our mental health.
Because of the ongoing dengue outbreak, the infection has become the hottest topic of conversation among those living in Kathmandu Valley. Thousands of people in the valley and beyond have been infected by dengue. And at this stage of the outbreak, we all know someone who got infected by dengue. The swiftness with which the outbreak has spread has already (knowingly and unknowingly) caused a lot of mental distress among people.
If you think that dengue is all about drastic weight loss, fever, headache, and reduction in platelet count, you probably have not considered the emotional and mental toll the fear of getting infected by dengue has taken on us.
As human beings, we tend to place more emphasis on maintaining our physical well-being, but we do not put the same importance on our mental health.
We have all seen or heard of the physical toll and suffering dengue patients go through, and this has made us worried about getting infected. By now, many of us have also read and heard medical experts say that symptoms worsen for those who get reinfected with dengue. All of these factors surrounding dengue have us constantly worrying for ourselves and for our loved ones. We are more anxious than ever, and we find ourselves constantly asking questions like, “Have I carried my mosquito repellent cream?” “It is hot but should I still wear full sleeves?” “What if I get reinfected with dengue?” These unsettling questions keep playing and replaying in our minds, keeping us locked in a vicious cycle of anxiety and stress.
Just because we are physically strong and healthy does not mean that we can handle a high level of constant stress. To be able to deal with mental anguish, we must be mentally and emotionally guarded. I hear many of my clients say how anxiety leads them to think about the worst-case scenarios, which in turn affects them so much mentally that their daily routine gets impacted. And, if not attended to, anxiety can worsen significantly.
The last few years have been particularly stressful for us Nepalis. The 2015 earthquakes devastated many parts of the country, and this was followed by a border blockade that lasted for months and severely disrupted our normal lives. The stress and anguish we experienced in 2015 were still fresh in our minds when the Covid-19 pandemic gripped us in 2020.
Now in 2022, the dengue outbreak has many of us worried. Many have even stopped stepping outside their homes over fear of contracting dengue. While staying indoors might keep us safe from dengue to a certain extent, being anxious and remaining indoors can be detrimental to our mental health. In these stressful times, socialising with friends and families serves as a coping mechanism.
We must adopt all necessary precautions, like applying mosquito repellent creams and liquids, but continue our social life. Staying locked indoors is not the solution.
Apart from socialising, make sure you take the time to meditate and exercise. Doing so is good for both your mind and body and will aid you in staying optimistic and positive. No matter how trying these times are, try to stay positive and calm.
Last but not least, strictly follow health and safety protocols to stay safe from dengue and keep your mental well-being in mind.