Why Exactly Quarantine Is Hard On The Human Psyche

April 14, 2020  |  
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effects of quarantine

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Even though I’m a generally very happy person—I’ve been called a ball of joy and happy-go-lucky—this quarantine has shined a light on parts of my psyche that I didn’t know where there. I was able to remain pretty positive for the first couple of weeks. But when the news arrived that the economy would not be reopening on Easter, even though I understood that was for the best, it hit me hard. I had officially been quarantining for a full month when Easter Sunday arrived.

I think we’ve probably all experienced similar mental phases with this, from not believing it was a big deal, to agreeing to stay inside because we were told to but still not fully understanding the gravity of the situation, to finally realizing that this is serious, and becoming rather scared. We weren’t built to wrap our heads around any of this. This is not the normal state of things so we had zero previous practice in mentally processing what it means to be quarantined. Everything about living in quarantine goes against our human instincts. We are having to re-train our minds if we are going to get by and not fall apart. And it’s hard on the human psyche for many reasons.

effects of quarantine

Source: PeopleImages / Getty

We are used to making plans

So much of our happiness and mental health relies on the ability to make plans. We are planners by nature. We plan that summer vacation, we plan that dinner date with a friend, we plan that workout boot camp, we plan our dog’s visit to the groomers. We feel some power in the ability to make plans. And now, we can’t. Even if we are thinking of something we would like to do six months from now, many of us are saying “It’s not safe to make plans yet.”

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