Apr 28, 2020
By: Natalie O’Neill |New York Post
The phrase “will life ever go back to normal?” has spiked dramatically in Google searches as the coronavirus crisis continues to rage this week — and with good reason, psychiatrists tell The Post.
The number of people searching the term doubled globally in the past week, according to the tech giant’s coronavirus trends page, which also notes “how to feel normal” and “will life ever be sane again?” were also frequent queries.
Folks may be turning to their keyboards to cope with “fear of the unknown,” New York psychologist Peter Provet told The Post.
“This pandemic is tragic and unprecedented, and we’re all searching for answers,” he said. “What we’re doing now by quarantining — and isolating ourselves — is not ‘normal;’ it goes against the fabric of human nature.”
He added, “That has great psychological impact.”
The world-upside-down feeling is worsened by social distancing-induced loneliness, and can trigger anxiety, experts said.
“The external world has been completely upended, and the normal lifestyle we’ve grown accustomed to is gone. That is anxiety-provoking,” said Manhattan-based Psychiatrist Benjamin Srivastava.
To cope with those “not normal” emotions, Provet recommended trying to find joy in small things at home.
“Now that you’re home, see it as opportunity to take out that exercise bike that’s been folded in the closet for two years, or to pick up a great novel or have a meaningful phone conversation,” he said.
“Try to make the best out of a tragic situation by focusing on healthy habits, productive work and positive relationships.”
Online meet-ups and virtual calls may also help with feelings of isolation, he said.
“It’s not a solution long-term but as a stop gap measure, it’s what we can do,” he said.
But ultimately the answer to “Will life ever go back to normal?” might simply be “no,” he said.
“Life after this worldwide wake-up call might not go back to normal as we know it,” he said. “It will hopefully bring and new, better type of ‘normal.’”