Covid-19 related PTSD and Cabin Fever are setting in!
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April 17, 2020

Covid-19 related PTSD and Cabin Fever are setting in!

EDITOR: The current global pandemic has affected just about every country in the world save a few, SVG being no exception. As a matter of fact, the side effects of this scourge is already manifesting itself in undesirable actions. COVID-19 is throwing both odd and curved balls at the same time and even with 20/20 vision our middle stumps are being knocked out/down.

I have noted in other forums that this calamity is medical, economic and spiritual. Medical, because people are getting sick and dying, economic because businesses are forced to close and persons forced out of jobs, and spiritual because the Good Book predicted that in the last days these plagues among other things will happen.

What prompted me to write however, is the robbery that took place at Randy’s supermarket recently. What transpired from analyzing the footage from the security cameras is abnormal (all robberies are abnormal), but here are certain pointers that lead me to conclude that this robbery could have been our first case of ‘COVID MADNESS’.

First observation, the man walks in casually, no mask on, with a cutlass in his hands and actually waits in line for the person in front of him to finish collecting his goods, then proceeds to rob. Since when do robbers wait in line before they start their evil actions? The traumatized cashier runs for her life and the robber proceeds to empty the contents of two cash machines … absolutely no hurry! After cleaning out the second cash machine he exits the building and returns to close the cash drawers of both cash registers!!! Since when do robbers return to close a cash pan? Then finally before exiting the supermarket a second time, he performs a kung fu move, then the video ends.

Any social analyst would conclude that that man is not normal and possibly mad. But what would cause anyone to behave that way? The answer is clearly, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD. But what causes PTSD?

For the past few weeks we have been bombarded with announcements to stay home, practice social distancing, healthy hygiene, self quarantining and isolation. Every local and international news media has the same message and for good reasons too … these are the most effective ways in which we can prevent/control the spread of this dreaded virus, that at the time of writing has claimed the lives of more than 65.000 human beings (these are the official figures, but history has proven that the real figures are always about 15 to 30% percent more than the ‘official’ figures, as many deaths in rural areas are not reported/registered).

Let’s now return to our local scenario. A daily labourer is out of work because he has to stay at home, so NO form of income. At home the food runs out and there are four or five children crying out for hunger. You as a parent, not working and without any money will be faced with a MOST STRESSFUL situation. Currently the government has no known financial relief mechanism in place that is functional, no charitable organisations are providing food packages in rural or urban areas. So what are you to do as a poor person with no form of income in a situation like this? That is when TRAUMATIC STRESS sets in.

The government, working with civil society organisations from EVERY community needs to start distributing food baskets to all the needy. Giving cash at this point will not guarantee that food will be bought, so food packages must be distributed, as well as prepared meals for the old and children, observing all safety protocols, including social distancing and wearing face masks while in public. This is where government, opposition, in short, all of civil society NEED to join forces to ease the pain that ALL of us are facing at this crucial hour.

Another problem that will arise during this scenario is ‘cabin fever’. Due to extended periods of confinement, persons will naturally want to ‘get out’, but here are several activities that could be conducted, like back yard gardening, planting short crops like black eye peas which grow easily and which are an excellent source of vegetable protein, lettuce, tomatoes, sweet peppers, spinach and mint, all which grow well with some personal care. You can teach children how to make their own face masks which are reusable, how to prepare meals, hone their musical abilities, learning to draw … the possibilities/activities are numerous to prevent cabin fever.

And finally, the spiritual dimension which many of us overlook or neglect. Now is the ideal time to reflect on your life. Death could be at your door and you don’t know … how would you spend eternity if you are not prepared? You weren’t always here, but you are here now, but you will not always be here!!! Are you going to be like Pharoah and refuse to obey the commands of the Almighty. That’s your choice and mine.

Donald A. De Riggs