Try to imagine being at your lowest ebb. At a point where everything seems against you and it feels as if nothing is going right for you. Try to picture a life ruled by depression, anxiety, grief or loneliness. For so many it feels like a hopeless place with no escape.
Now try to imagine that same place but with something extra. Something heaped on top that actually makes it worse. It didn't seem possible for anything to have that effect but here it is anyway.
It's as if a committee formed to figure out whether there is anything that could possibly be introduced that could somehow worsen the effects of things like depression or grief on those that are suffering.
And the answer is......... Lockdowns and enforced isolation.
Think about it. If you're struggling with loneliness or feelings of grief about the loss of a loved one, the last thing you need is to be denied human contact and support. These are the only two things that can make a difference and they have been forcibly removed. Snatched away.
What must it feel like if you have anxiety and you are then told that if you were to venture out to do something as basic as buy food for yourself, there is a possibility that you could pick up a disease that could kill you. Then be reminded every day about how many people have died.
What effect would it have on your depression if you've been furloughed from work and told your job is at risk and you are not sure if you can pay your bills, feed your family or even keep a roof over your head.
There is no easy way to deal with this extraordinary health crisis but it is vitally important that we understand the extent of what is going on with the population.
People that never suffered before suddenly start to feel fed up, worried and a bit lonely. Those that already felt a little like that start to deteriorate further. And those that already had full on depression, grief and anxiety are now taken to dangerous levels of mental health risk.
As I said before, there is no easy answer to all of this, so each person has to take some responsibility for themselves.
If you know you are struggling, do not struggle alone. Reach out. Talk to someone. If you have friends or family then use them. You may even be able to reach out to a person you suspect is having a bad time and offer help to them in some way. This can also raise your mood by knowing you're doing a good thing, so you both gain.
If there is nobody there for you then Samaritans are available around the clock. You can find their number, along with some other useful helplines, by clicking here.
Many counsellors are working online now so you could receive therapy while staying a home if you are unable to attend face to face sessions. Read more about online counselling here.
The important thing is that you don't hide how you feel. You cannot fix it by ignoring it. Unlike you, things like depression, grief, anxiety and loneliness will thrive on isolation and lockdowns.
Acknowledge how you feel and admit you need to help yourself in any way you can. Whether you have people to turn to or have to seek out professional help, all that matters is that you do something.