To call this past year an emotional roller coaster is like saying the Titanic's maiden voyage was a bumpy ride. As the COVID-19 virus spread across the world, people weathered enforced lockdowns, isolation from friends and family, the fear and reality of mass layoffs and financial instability, and the loss of loved ones. And (yes, even in the cases where people survived mostly unscathed) it wreaked havoc on their emotional and mental health.
A full one-fifth of American adults are currently experiencing high levels of psychological distress, found a February 2021 survey conducted by the Pew Research Center. And it's not just that fear and worry are living rent-free in their heads; 17 percent of respondents reported having physical reactions—think sweating, trouble breathing, nausea or a pounding heart—when thinking about the coronavirus outbreak, the researchers noted.
Anxiety disorders were the most common mental illness in the United States before the global