Coping with holiday depression during a global pandemic

The Rebound
Posted at 9:42 PM, Nov 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-24 21:42:15-05

(WXYZ) — Depression in America during this pandemic is through the roof. And now, with the resurgence and the upcoming holidays, people not only fear losing their lives but their livelihoods as well.

In tonight's Rebound Detroit, we look at how people are surviving in the midst of chaos and give you the tools you need from the experts to make it to a brighter future.

Latanya Carter was surrounded by the love of her life, her husband of more than 20 years, and their two adult children when joy turned to sorrow the last week of March when she could not breathe and after 20 hours of sleep was afraid to close her eyes.

"I felt like I had a panic attack," Latanya said. "I felt like I was going to die if I went back to sleep."

With the assistance of her daughter, Latanya went to the hospital. One check of her pulse and the race was on.

"They literally snatched me out of the car rolled me right through... that was the last time I would see my husband," Latanya said.

Hydroxychloroquine, three days on oxygen and weeks in the hospital. But the return home for Latanya was bittersweet.

"I was literally in tears for days once I got home," she said. "I was thankful for being at home but I wasn't healed."

Latanya heard countless news stories of people recovering, including the president. But for her pain, there was fatigue, losing clumps of hair and she was barely able to walk.

"I was very depressed," Latanya said.

More than 250,000 people have died from COVID-19, and symptoms of anxiety disorder and depressive disorder have increased considerably in the U.S. over the last nine months, as discussed during the governor's press conference last week.

Many are feeling the mental drain, not just from the vicious spread of this deadly virus but its major impact on the economy.

"You start thinking about your livelihood. You start thinking about all your dreams, everything you thought would happen may not happen," said Kathy Morrow, a clinical psychologist.

Experts say seven percent of small businesses will never reopen but that number jumps to 40 percent if the business is owned by people of color.

Laurel and Eric Ness have owned Jungle Java, an indoor play space for kids for 18 years.

Eric says when legendary actor Tom Hanks announced he was COVID positive, the bottom dropped out.

"The next day when he announced that he had it by Thursday, we went to a trickle by Friday," Eric said. "It didn't matter if they did a shutdown or not we didn't have any business."

Eric and Laurel are optimistic their business model works and once there's a vaccine customers will return. Laurel is more concerned about employees.

"How do you know when you're truly depressed, or you're just sitting at home and a little sad?" Eric said. "There's a difference right? Yeah, it's different. The thing is the average person doesn't necessarily know they're depressed."

But here are the signs: lack of motivation, problems sleeping, lack of concentration and focus and the danger zone.

Morrow says to ask yourself two questions: what's the biggest challenge I'm facing during this pandemic and what aspect of it makes you feel the worse?

"Once you've identified, you can come up with possible solutions," Morrow said.

If you are struggling to make ends meet and need help now, go to Psychology Today and click the link that says find a therapist. There are plenty of experts who work for low cost or for free during these times of need, or community mental health is another option.