DOES LOADSHEDDING CREATE UNDERLYING ANXIETY: EXPLORING A PSYCHOLOGICAL IMPACT OF LOADSHEDDING-PART 2
On a physical level loadshedding is adding to our anxiety as well. Every time that there is loadshedding, ort evbery time that a new loadshedding schedule is advertised, it is also a green light to criminal elements that there is going to be a reduction in the security at homes, businesses and other places of work.
This now leads to us constantly worrying about our homes or our businesses, and the issue is if the security measures we have in place is sufficient to deter these criminal elements. This too real fear of someone entering our premises while we are not there is compounded by the fear of losing prized possessions, like jewelry, or items that are of high value, such as computers or appliances, or even heirlooms and items of sentimental value.
The opposite is also true. When we are at home we constantly worry about our places of business and if they are secure. Any loss there could be devastating. There are so many micro and small businesses that are operating in survival mode, and any loss of any kind whatsoever of products or assets, loss of operational assets, and even damage to the structure of these businesses, such as the theft of electrical supply cables and/or other fittings may have a devastating impact on that specific business.
In both instances the constant worry about home or business is pushing our anxiety levels so high that it is impacting on our health not only mentally but also physically.
It is common knowledge that anxiety impacts on our mental health. But constant anxiety and stress can cause a number of symptoms of which the most common ones are:
- increased heart rate
- heart palpitations
- shortness of breath
- muscle aches
- muscle weakness
- digestive problems
- general discomfort
- tingling sensations
However, some of these symptoms are also indicative of other non-stress related ailments and medical conditions. When we now face these symptoms, as well as the anxiety we experience, we compound our anxiety as we may now believe that we have other underlying medical problem. Now we are caught in a spiral of anxiety, leading to some of the conditions mentioned in the first part of our blog.
Concomitantly, all of these can cause the release of stress response hormones at such high levels that it may lead to more serious medical conditions, such as high blood pressure and coronary problems, including heart attacks, according to Medical News Today.
Bodily ailments are not the only physical threat we experience during loadshedding. The physical threat against our person is a reality we cannot ignore. Criminals are becoming more brazen in in their attacks as they are fully aware that the constant loadshedding and subsequent long periods of power outages have a negative impact on our security systems, causing them to fail or malfunction. Even security companies have become more relaxed during loadshedding, increasing our potential risk. The threat to our homes being invaded have now become exponentially higher than ever before.
In short, we have become a nation riddled with anxiety, fearful of everything and everybody, not trusting anybody except close friends and family. There is an alternative to all of this, and that is to seek professional support in the form of counselling.
Counselling is a major support we have at our disposal if any of the issues raised become a reality in our lives. All we need to do is to contact a trauma counsellor in our area who will guide us through these difficult times.
By Loekie Swarts