Recommendations for psychological management
of the quarantine situation*
Given the global situation generated by the CoV-19 coronavirus pandemic and the effects of the declaration of the state of alarm, we would like to share with you a series of recommendations regarding the psychological management of this circumstance. We want to avoid that fear becomes an uncontrollable phenomenon that makes the health situation, which is already quite complex in MPS, more difficult and, on the other hand, makes the situation of mandatory quarantine more tolerable.
REMEMBER THESE WORDS:
CALM / CONTROL / CONTRAST INFORMATION / JOIN US / HELP US / SHARE / TAKE CARE / PROTECT YOURSELF
Fear is one of the basic emotions of our psyche and a normal and healthy reaction to unknown, threatening and potentially dangerous situations like the one we are experiencing. It helps us to stay alert and take the necessary measures to minimize risks, either through the avoidance of danger or through control and coping mechanisms. But, fear can also become something that blocks us and prevents us from managing threats effectively, it can lead to hopelessness and paralyzing panic. Fear is controlled much better through our healthy behaviors than through unnecessary reasoning or worry.
However, the situation of being in forced quarantine also can produce sensations that go, among others, from loneliness to uncertainty, going through anger, sadness, boredom, anguish or stress. To recognize what we feel is to begin to prevent these emotions from becoming an emotionally added viral problem, and to ensure that people who has to be quarantined live with calm, intelligence and good disposition, which will generate the maximum well-being for them, you and the population as a whole. Acknowledge your feelings and accept them. If you need it, share it with those closest to you, write a blog…
Remember, all the bad times you have already experienced and overcome. This situation is novel, different and universal. But your strength is fed by your fighting spirit for having overcome many problems in your life as a result of the MPS disease. Whether you have tested positive or are waiting for results, avoid being caught by catastrophic or blaming ideas. It is a collective problem, everyone’s responsibility, which we have to face with responsible and positive attitudes.
You will have plenty of time to find out how the situation is evolving. Consult only official or trusted information channels to avoid rumors or fake news.
Too much information, will probably increase your anguish unnecessarily.
Avoid spreading rumors and misinformation. Before sharing news, it is very important to verify its source. Share only relevant information and avoid making catastrophic comments. They add nothing and take away emotional vitality. Avoid talking about it permanently or sharing anxieties with affected people.
If you have been infected, explain, clearly your situation to the people around you, such as family, friends and people whom you have been in contact with in recent days. This is the way to avoid unnecessary infections and together you can start taking preventive measures for the next few days. Try to maintain a comforting attitude with those around you.
We know that they find safety and comfort in their daily routine. This emergency situation has been blown up. Staying at home is a challenge. During this time we will need to be patient and creative to find different ways to make activities and entertainment for them.
Keep them informed. Don’t undermine their ability to understand you; provide proportional explanations adapted to their level of understanding.
Don’t lie to them, don’t ignore them with silence. Try to tailor the information, do not give them more than necessary.
Reduce their fear by explaining that the people around them know how to protect and take care of them.
We are not used to this situation. Normalizing it, understanding that we can all be tense and nervous, avoid conflict situations.
Reach explicit agreements with trusted people about what your domestic logistics will look like during the quarantine: purchases, or care of the dependent child. Talk about organization and details.
Being quarantined can be a great time to share care and household chores. Sharing them is essential to prevent fatigue from falling on one person.
Living with others is not being „stuck“ all day; Let’s respect different spaces and times. We all need our space and time available only for us.
Try to keep in touch with your family and friends. Call them, send them messages, make video conferences. You will feel closer and less isolated.
Follow the recommendations and preventive measures determined by the health authorities. Trust the science and experience of our healthcare system.
Let us accept that there is a part of the situation that is not in our hands and that we cannot control or foresee.
Learn about the wide range of free online entertainment available online and in the media today.
Let’s use a sense of humor. Humor is an emotion that will help us reduce anxiety and keep another negative emotion – fear away.
IT IS ONLY A TEMPORARY SITUATION. WHEN ALL THIS IS OVER, WE WILL LEARN MANY THINGS FROM OTHERS AND FROM OURSELVES.
Psychologist, Psychotherapist, specialized in Disability, Family and Rare Diseases. Psychologist of the Cornelia Spain Association, of the Catalan Association of Rett Syndrome, of the MPS-Lysosomal Association of Spain. Advisor to the Spanish Federation of Fragile X Syndrome. Coordinator of the COPC Working Group „Psychology + Disability“. DINCAT-Plena Inclusió Trainer
* Adapted from documents of the Col·legi Oficial de Psicologia de Catalunya (COPC) www.copc.cat