Imagine it is January 2022. The vaccine roll-out has taken longer than expected and coronavirus is still impacting day-to-day life. You’re in another six-week lockdown after multiple lockdowns in 2021. A family member passed away and you could not attend the funeral or say goodbye in person.
In January 2021, only school children were out and about. That stopped by March again. All businesses are promoting online work. You “meet” your team online and your “social” is online. Social media is king and it’s your only way of connecting with your friends and family. You haven’t met anyone new in person throughout 2021. Funny, only two industries call their clients as “users” - social media and drugs. This year has been big for both.
You used to enjoy drinking with friends and family, but that appears to be a thing of past as you’re now drinking alone. And there’s always cannabis to fall back on. On nights when you could not sleep, you used to take something, and it helped. Then it didn’t. You started taking more and now that doesn’t help either. A “friend” told you about opioids and amphetamines that are available easily on the dark web. Now, you can’t stop taking them or you get sick.
The year 2021 started with enthusiasm that faded away as the year progressed. You knew of the stressors that 2020 put on you. If only you had taken steps early in 2021, you could have prevented a lot of heartache. You could have sought professional help early in the year and that would have prepared you for the coming year.
If only someone had told you that mental health is as important as physical health and needs looking after the same way.
Now, you can tell people your journey through 2021 and how things may have been different. You could have made plans with family and friends to reconnect online. You could have just looked after your mental health better and would have had a different outcome. You could have had a better 2021 than 2020. If only...
By Dr. Navneet Singh Khosa
Crescent Heights Village’s Smart Clinic has a family practice as well as offering addiction treatment and mental health services. Discreet, online help is available.