Doctor says Filipinos now in ‘disillusionment phase’ amid pandemic

A doctor said Filipinos are now in the ‘disillusionment phase’ or the point of emotional low four months after the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic began.

Dr. Gia Sison said in an episode of “Quarantined with Howie Severino” that the is also affecting people’s mental health.

“We are at the disillusionment phase,” she said. “Nandiyan na lumalabas’ yung triggers like loss of jobs, sa financial security, spike in case.”

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) defines disillusionment as the fifth of the six phases of disaster:

  • Phase 1, the pre-disaster phase, is characterized by fear and uncertainty.
  • Phase 2, the impact phase, is characterized by a range of intense emotional reactions.
  • Phase 3, the heroic phase, is characterized by a high level of activity with a low level of productivity.
  • Phase 4, the honeymoon phase, is characterized by a dramatic shift in emotion.
  • Phase 5, the disillusionment phase, is a stark contrast to the honeymoon phase. During the disillusionment phase, communities and individuals realize the limits of disaster assistance.
  • Phase 6, the reconstruction phase, is characterized by an overall feeling of recovery. Individuals and communities begin to assume responsibility for rebuilding their lives, and people adjust to a new “normal” while continuing to grieve losses.

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One expression of the disillusionment phase is donor fatigue.

“At first ang daming nagdo-donate, ang daming willing mag-shell out,” Sison said. “But we have to realize that tao rin ‘yung nagdo-donate and that now nade-deplete rin ang resources.”

SAMHSA said the disillusionment phase may take months or even years and can be prolonged by trigger events.

Sison said that while the reconstruction is likely over a year away, however, it is vital for the public to find ways on how to cope with the and practice self-care.

“I think having a support group is very important. You don’t have to talk about the disaster in itself, the pandemic, but you can just talk about how you feel,” she said.

The doctor also said that physical distancing should not limit our social connection with other people.

“That’s where technology comes in,” she said. “A phone call, a text, reaching out to a colleague or friends, saying, asking, ‘How are you?’ That’s actually very powerful.”