The impending doom we are all living with and how to help

7 Jul 2022

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"We are living in a state of the slow-moving apocalypse," says Dr Jordan Lewinsky, an expert psychiatrist and chief psychiatric consultant in the Clalit Health Services Community Division. "There is a term, or mental state, called Impending Doom, 'the impending doom.' We are all living with”.


A beautiful name for a hard feeling.
Even those who are not harmed in health or finances are harmed. It's an unending event that is more like what we call Complex PTSD, a state of ongoing trauma; something falls on you, and another, and another, and it's not over.

One of the hardest things about this situation, according to Dr Lewinsky, is trying to hide the difficulty:
"People behave as if passion is the most important thing, but in terms of mental health, it's the last thing that matters. The more the crisis, the stronger the fall. The American Psychiatric Association warned at the beginning of the epidemic that it must prepare for a mental crisis. And now it is happening."


Talk to the kids or hide it?
Children see everything. If you think you can hide the distress from the children, the first thing you do is lie to yourself. If you do not tell them, they take the blame. Children should be told, according to their age. They are part of the event. Hiding only aggravates the situation."


How will this manifest?
There are studies from the period after the twin towers disaster where we see that the percentage of depression and anxiety rose sharply. It produces significant mental illness.
At the beginning of the corona, everyone was busy surviving, but now, after a few months, we see a significant increase in referrals.

"They haven't been in touch for years. People get out of balance even if nothing has happened to them. The situation affects us in many ways."


What can we do?
Focus on what you can do and have control over, home and family operations, things that will make you attractive in this job market as well. You need to recognize that you are in crisis and help the environment. There are also many frameworks of help and support, and the state needs to put money and resources into these.

Are some people more resilient than others?
Resilience is the ability to momentarily disconnect from the immediate experience and think ahead, what you can do and how to proceed so that the immediate experience does not paralyze you. It can be likened to the five stages of grief. There are people who do it fast, those who are durable, there are those who take time.


"A big part of the feeling of distress," says Lewinsky, "is because there is nothing to hold on to, including leadership. To get out of a crisis you have to hold on to things and slowly establish an experience of control. The bodies that run us only intensify the feeling of uncertainty. Look at countries that deal with the virus. Their great power is that there are plans and consistency.

What should those who have not been affected do?
Do not immerse yourself in the endless chatter on networks and television, but engage in the concrete, be emotionally available and acknowledge the fact that everyone is in distress. Just because you are in distress does not mean you are weak, it means you are a human being.


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