Is freedom important for mental health? The answer to this frequently debated question is yes. Good mental health is characterized by having the freedom to make personal choices.
While the government is there to protect our freedom of choice, it is also there to preserve the peace and order needed to enjoy those basic freedoms. Then again, unrestrained freedom can lead to all sorts of trouble, which ultimately threaten the definition of freedom itself — that which is for one’s good. Thus, you and I function within the limitations of our own boundaries we consider for our good. For example, it’s okay to be work-driven but not to the point of becoming a workaholic. Or consider a drug-addict who seeks an escape from the weariness of life and abuses his body to capture his illusive freedom from pain or anxiety.
When unbridled freedom overtakes one’s sensibilities, then it becomes destructive. In short, freedom is best enjoyed and maximized within the restrictions we set for ourselves as a manifestation of healthy choices. Whether there is a pandemic, which impinges on our freedom of mobility, or not, we impose our own personal lockdown on the very term of freedom of choice we call our life decisions, which influence and direct our actions. Now, what happens when this freedom is imposed upon us?
Extended periods of lockdown have drastically altered the lives of everyone. What is now emerging is alarming data on the increase of anxiety and depression among the young and the young adults. The so-called “new normal” has not been normal for them, most especially. There are urgent calls by health professionals to better understand and address mental health issues.
School closure, imposition of curfews, closure of restaurants, resorts, parks and places of entertainment and amusement, restricted movements in church gatherings, on events and social gatherings have negatively impacted the youth.
Interpersonal relations have been disrupted, forcing people to connect through technology. The result: Constant exposure to social media and the use of gadgets, the emission of blue light and exposure to electromagnetic radiation/frequencies or EMR/EMFs. The ability to connect with “the world” with lightning speed and yet the incapacity of ease to connect on a personal level with family and friends.
Studies indicate that parents have reported an increase in post-traumatic stress or PTSD disorder in quarantined children and depression and suicide among young adults. The sum total of distress arising from the isolation has become a cause for alarm. While parents have reached this point of concern, it appears that the government has yet to act swiftly to address this situation with urgency.
Factors to address
1. Isolation leads to loneliness. People need people in order to interact. There is medicine in socializing, in friendships and in face to face, physical contact.
2. Fear that there seems no end to lockdowns. Constant assurance that things will improve for the better can ease the anxieties of the youth.
3. Coping mechanism is challenged. Resilience in today’s youth may be more fragile than the past generation. Thus, parents are advised to be more sensitive to the needs and emotional well-being of their children.
It is high time we took full stock of the damage this pandemic has wrought upon us all physically, economically, financially, professionally and emotionally. It is time to end lockdowns.
Yes, we will all learn to live with the coronavirus and all its mutations. And yes, we will learn to live life with more vigilance and caution. But at least, we will get back our freedom, no matter how compromised it might be.
Affirmation: “I am free now and always.”
Love and light!