Behind closed doors

Por Jennie Barb, psychologist, family therapist

Quarantine for the Covid pandemic 19 it has multiple faces. We live in an unprecedented historical moment for humanity, that threatens our life, our mental health and the global economy. The experience is a duel that is lived with different intensities, a constant stress that we don't know when it will end. The threat of contagion remains, for some, your loved ones get sick or die, work is lost or suspended, Disappointing statistics are observed and friends are defined, couples and relationships. This experience in itself is transformative and its effects will not end once the quarantine is lifted and gradually returns to a relative normality..

Hugs and emotional contacts with loved ones are longed for. Winds of change are blowing, of painful transitions that will somehow make us grow, hopefully to become better human beings. The task is to survive and be jointly responsible to avoid contagion from other people. The call, stay home. These are times when resilience, emotional stability, the family, solidarity and friendship have special relevance. Affective bonds begin to express themselves creatively, technology shows us its kindest side.

We observe very different ways of living this quarantine. Some live it as a family, others as a couple and many others in solitude. This experience tests our emotional resources, our intelligence and our creativity. The goal is to avoid being recorded as a trauma that affects our mental health and to survive it as intact as we can..

All age groups that are living this quarantine in the diversity of its forms, may suffer from anxiety, anguish, depression, insomnia, high degrees of frustration, irritability, different levels of stress, fear of contagion and death, boredom, financial and labor concerns etc. This panorama challenges emotional stability and exacerbates the problems that already existed in the family and the couple. Even in families where the conflict did not escalate, children are at risk.

Children no matter how small they perceive uncertainty, worry and fear of the environment. They notice that the parents do not leave the house as before, they watch the worry about watching the news and hear without understanding, death and infection figures from the dangerous virus. They don't go to school anymore, because going to school is no longer safe. They listen to parents argue and watch them in anguish. They can't go down to play, nor see their grandparents, nor be with his cousins ​​or his friends. Their lives have also changed. Young children cannot explain that they feel anxious and begin to show changes in their behavior. They become irritable, cry easily, show regressive behaviors, their sleep patterns change, they become demanding, whiny and have nightmares. They fear that their parents or grandparents will get sick and that in the worst case they die. Tantrums become more frequent, as your needs for affection and attention. You need to see what's behind their apparent behavior. Now is not the time to apply strict discipline rules, it is time to be more tolerant, to manifest affection, empathy, motivate the expression of your emotions and validate them by accepting them, naming them without denying or trying to cancel them. Explain to them in a simple way what happens. Reassure them that by staying home we will all be fine, this is going to happen, we just have to wait. Lean on games, in drawings, tempered work, read them stories, spend time with them. This is an opportunity to repair and build as a family.

Teenagers are generally anxious by nature. Being quarantined increases your anxiety. They understand the reasons for the quarantine. They know that the exterior is a danger zone, but socializing with your group of friends is a necessity and the confinement causes them anguish. Their whole routine changes and that produces instability.. They have a special mastery of technology, they can keep in touch with their friends through Whatsapp, Skype, Zoom o House Party. Many fear losing their school year, which increases your anxiety. Maintaining routines and schedules helps them. Being with your parents full time brings shocks that must be avoided at all costs. Parents play a huge role in maintaining family peace. They should be more flexible, use humor, avoid confrontations, share your emotions, listen, show your affection and give them time to talk and get to know each other more deeply. Quarantine is an opportunity to stay close to your teens that is unlikely to happen again.

Older adults are stigmatized for being the most vulnerable and threatened. This diverse group with different aging styles and needs requires family support to stay safe from the pandemic.. If they live alone, the family must be aware of them, call them, assist them in their purchases so they do not expose themselves, show them that, even if they are not with them, they are close. Many older adults are prone to depression, and solitary confinement perceives it as abandonment.. Those very old will depend on their caregivers, these must be supervised and supported in their task.

The people who successfully manage stress in this quarantine are the ones who structure their day. They have a routine, are kept in the here and now through specific activities, this lessens distress. These people establish schedules to exercise, clean up, comer, to work, rest and recreation. Include relaxation or meditation, as well as learning activities that stimulate skills, abilities and skills. If they are believers, oran. Keep in mind that the purpose of quarantine is to save lives. They do not gorge themselves with information, do not open videos with catastrophic images and are only guided by news emanating from reliable sources. They keep in daily contact with family and friends through social networks. They use technology, they make video calls that allow them to maintain eye contact giving the feeling of closeness.

Not everyone experiences quarantine the same way, nor do they live it in the same environments. There are families where in addition to dealing with the emotional effects of confinement, poverty adds, overcrowding and violence. Not all of us at home are safe. Many women and many children live this quarantine locked up with their aggressor.

Intrafamily violence in all its forms increases with increasing stress levels. And in incest, the accessibility of the aggressor to the victim facilitates the crime. These children and women are more than ever at the mercy of their victimizer. The house becomes a minefield powered by quarantine. The frequency and severity of violence increases. Getting away from family violence for both women and children is no longer easy. Support networks, as teachers, neighbors or family are not accessible.

Woman, If you are in a situation of violence, report it by calling 311, 182 and at 323-3281 of the National Institute for Women, INAMU. This can save your life. Keep in mind that your children cannot defend themselves. You must be vigilant. See how they interact with other people. Look for warning signs of sexual abuse, like stained or bloody underwear, pain or irritation in private parts or changes in behavior. If you suspect that you are being sexually abused, you can report it to 147 of the Ministry of Social Development and the Emotional Health Care Line of the Ministry of Health 169. If you are a child or adolescent and you are being a victim of violence, call the Ministry of Childhood and Adolescence at 6378-7876 to get help. ¡Cuidémonos, behind closed doors!

Jennie Barb, psychologist, family therapist.