Covid-19: Mentally stronger from the Corona Crisis?

10 min. reading time

As a psychologist in a hospital, I noticed something after a few years. The resilience of most people is enormous. Regularly I was called to a ward. A patient had experienced something incredibly intense, a psychologist would be in place there. Often enough I didn't have so many to look for. Sure, people were frightened, sometimes touched - but in many cases they were fine. Let's check if there are no re-experiences (trauma) and leave some details after getting acquainted. A few weeks later a phone call or a visit, and in all those years the first impression was right. Most people are able to deal with such a situation within their own social context.

Another time I participated as a practitioner in a study in which ex-cancer patients were screened for depression five years after they were cured. To then be included for treatment. Maybe it was a coincidence, but where the literature is abundantly written that a large group of people suffer from gloominess or even depression after surviving cancer, the researchers could not find them here.


Also recently a nice message. "Nearly twenty percent fewer suicides in the last two months. A nice message on May 22nd. Whereas experts warned a month earlier for the expected increase in suicides, that prediction doesn't seem to come true. For the time being, no one understands this.

Maybe I experienced a positive bias (I wouldn't mind) or just bad examples (with good results). Still, socially speaking we seem to be doing just fine on that Corona crisis. A moment out of context, a moment of rest, no colleagues/in-law family/teachers in real life. Is that the reason? It seems logical, but I now know that 'logical reasons' often turn out not to be the right ones in the end. Maybe it's because of the good coffee at home. Or: because we're all in the same boat, we don't have to compare ourselves to the group of people who 'still' have it right.

Either way, let's look at the positive side. Before we make ourselves a nocebo, because experts give us the idea that we should be going backwards. Let's avoid stepping en masse into the 'self-fulfilling prophecy' that everything will go to hell now (if we are allowed to believe an article in The Lancet that should be the case).


Maybe we'll discover that we can all have a little more than we thought. I wouldn't go so far as to call it 'enlightened', but realise that it is the setbacks and difficulties of this period that form our character. Just like most people tell us after a long journey that it wasn't always easy, that they aren't quite the same anymore, but that they have become a bit wiser. Antifragile, stronger through adversity.

P.S. Of course there are groups where we know for sure that they are psychologically very likely to suffer. A long IC recording is so intense physically as well as mentally, that emotional, cognitive as well as physical problems are invariably part of 'Post-IC Syndrome'. Still, in those kinds of severe cases you hear people often enough talking about 'what it has taught them or brought them' - although this has regularly involved real (psychological) treatment. There are also groups of people with (severe) psychological complaints, who now develop more symptoms due to the lack of contact with a therapist.

Read more:

Article on  (Dutch)

Wetenschappers vrezen toename suïcides (Dutch)

The psychological impact of quarantine (English)

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