Almost a week ago, Egypt’s Ministry of Health realized the negative effect of the quarantine and the coronavirus pandemic has been having on the country’s population, and decided to allocate two hotlines to offer psychological support to everyone who needs it – (080) 8880700 and (02) 20816831.
Like many of us suffering from stress and panic over the current situation, I decided to give them a call yesterday morning to see if I’m going to get any kind of help, and if so, what kind.
When I first called, one number was unreachable, and the other was busy. I gave it a few more tries and was delighted to have someone answer the call. I was welcomed and asked about what I was suffering from. I explained that following the news has become overwhelming because it doubles my fear, the self-quarantine has become depressing because it’s lonely, and even communicating with people has become tiring and exhausting because the virus is all they talk about, obviously with no solutions, and therefore only causing anxiety.
I was then asked for my name and number, and told that someone will contact me later in the day. And being the realistic, or maybe pessimistic, person that I am, I thought it would just end there, with no calls back.
However, they did surprise me with a call from a psychiatrist later in the day, where I was asked, in a very friendly way, what I needed to talk about, how I’ve been spending my time at home recently, and any symptoms that I’ve witnessed on myself lately.
After carefully listening to everything I had to say, the doctor, who was very sweet and conversed with me in detail, asked me to train my body through meditation or breathing techniques to relax, and my mind by taking note of my thoughts and differentiating between thoughts that accurately reflect reality, and unreal thoughts that emerge only out of fear.
The conversation definitely helped in easing my stress and making me feel like I wasn’t alone in this, and I’m planning on following the advice I got from today to hopefully make the entire situation more bearable.