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It is Mental Health Awareness Month, led by Mental Health America since 1949. The theme this year is Tools2Thrive, a toolkit of coping strategies and information to boost your wellbeing.
The team at Panama Fertility are all too familiar with the impact of infertility on your metal health and have a number of strategies in place to help our patients through the dark days. In this blog, we are starting the conversation about mental health.
In next week’s blog we’ll look at the specifics of certain reproductive conditions that can impact your mental wellbeing. We’ll also explore if it’s the other way around – does your mental health impact your fertility? And finally look at some circumstances created by infertility that can seriously influence your state of mind.
The main take away from these blogs is that you are not alone, many couples face infertility and all of them are impacted by feelings of isolation, guilt, anxiety and ultimately depression. Together we will overcome the obstacles. At Panama Fertility we treat you mentally and physically.
Firstly, let’s look at how the pandemic could be contributing to a decline in your mental health.
A worldwide pandemic on the scale of COVID-19 has not been seen for many many generations. This has affected every human being on earth. It has evoked feelings of insecurity, fear, hopelessness and isolation. It has led to depression and anxiety.
We as the human race have worried about our own mortality and worried for the health of our loved ones. We have lost friends, colleagues and loved ones. We have lost sleep over the financial aspects; will my business survive? Will I still have a job? Will we lose the house? The list is endless as this pandemic has had repercussions in every element of our lives.
Worrying is like praying for something you don’t want to happen
Over a year on and we are now living with the new normal, but it has all taken its toll on our fried brains. As the vaccine roll out globally gives us hope that our old lives will return, you may be feeling anxious about that too.
You may be filled with dread at the thought of going to see a movie in an enclosed room full of strangers. There are even new sayings like FODO and JODO…..fear of dining out and joy of dining out! All of these feelings are normal for what we have encountered and what we are still going through.
IT IS OK to NOT BE OK
Added to the pandemic is the emotional burden of infertility, then the icing on the cake was having treatment postponed or cancelled. The European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) Annual Meeting in July 2020 reported on three separate studies.
These studies all concluded that infertility patients were facing increased anxiety and depression because of the pandemic. Patients in the studies reported the change in delivery of care, postponement and cancellation of treatment had all contributed to a heightened state of anxiety. We as healthcare providers have taken these findings on board.
We have all lived through this trauma and some people have coped with it better than others. If you are not coping, then you have taken the first step by recognising that. You can start with taking a mental health screening test here.
That will provide you with coping tools and strategies. If that test highlights that you maybe suffering from a mental illness, then the next step is to talk to your Physician about how you are feeling. You can also talk to us about our PanaMama Relaxation Program, which includes counselling sessions to help you cope with the negative aspects of infertility.
Be kind to yourself
As human beings it is in our nature to pack. We like to gather in numbers. The pandemic has meant that we have had to deny our basic instinct and avoid others. For those suffering with infertility, the feeling of isolation is not new. Nor is avoiding social gatherings, that sadly also comes with the territory.
Our goal is to help you understand your diagnosis, equip you with the tools to cope and most importantly not to worry about treatment being postponed or cancelled. We are open for treatment and have a strict Covid secure policy to ensure you can travel to us safely for treatment.
Try to think positive and next week, we’ll shed some more light into the dark areas of some reproductive issues that have mental health implications. If you have any questions then please do reach out, our experienced team would love to hear from you.