Health care workers, patients struggle with mental health due to virus

Local News

LUBBOCK, Texas — As coronavirus cases continue to surge in Lubbock and across the state of Texas, doctors are noticing that some health care workers and patients are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, as a result of the virus.

“First, it’s denial, then its acceptance, then it’s being really upset and pissed off like how could I like this happen to me how can I make it better to accept it and deal with it,” said Nikki Jelik, who recovered from COVID.

After watching her mother fight the virus, Jelik got sick herself in July. While she has recovered physically, she says for some time, COVID-19 robbed her of her sense of self.

“This isn’t who I am and not being able to understand how to be myself and get through,” said Jelik.

Almost four months later, Jelik still has a cough and is still recovering from the mental toll the virus took.

“I know for me mentally just mentally in my brain my thought processes I no longer think is normal the way I think about things it takes a minute for me,” said Jelik.

Lindsay Schaum is a registered nurse at Covenant Children’s Hospital who was sent on assignment to New York to help hospitals there deal with COVID-19 patients.

“Even coming back to work afterward, people would say, ‘Oh my gosh, how was it? How was it?’ and all I could say is ‘It was wild. It was crazy. Believe what the media is telling you’ like I couldn’t talk about it,” said Schaum.

She says the two weeks she spent in isolation after leaving New York were some of the hardest.

“It was really tough to see that amount of death that amount of sick people that you just can’t help and can’t do anything about it,” said Schaum.

But with the uncertainty of the virus still hanging in the air, many are unsure of what to expect next.

“I think COVID is very nerve-wracking and anxiety-inducing because we don’t know what it’s like. We don’t know who it will affect and how,” said Schaum.

With counselors saying that being more anxious or stressed is normal during a time like this.

“Of course, we are seeing an increase in trauma responses or people feeling really overactive about what ‘s happening or having these really intense responses,” said Licensed Professional Counselor Cristy Martinez.

But Martinez says that no matter the trauma PTSD can show up in a variety of different ways.

“With COVID, what we would be seeing is people who are developing a fear of leaving their home or obsessively washing their hands or feeling like I can’t go out or I’m not going to be safe my family isn’t going to be safe my kids aren’t going to be safe and really concerned or hyper concerned or even hypervigilant about cleanliness,” said Martinez.

And she says for those who need help as they go through this pandemic, there is no shame in asking for help.

“You just have to know that you are going to feel all the feels and that the feels are OK and you are going to get through those feels and at the end of the day you are OK,” said Jelik.

Martinez adding, one of the best things you can do if you are feeling stressed or overwhelmed is to talk to a therapist, a family member or someone you trust.

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