Mental Health & Covid-19

5/25/2020




Over the past few years my mental health has been all the place. In 2015 I had a great year, and then in 2016 I had a good year. 2017 was okay, 2018 was a downhill slope and 2019 was one of my worst. It seemed like with each passing year I lost some sanity. Or at the very least, control over my brain. Like for most people 2020 has been mentally tough, COVID-19 has created a huge crack in all of our lives and many of us are struggling to not fall into it. However, as someone who has chronic pain and tends to stay home a lot of time, I can't say that the virus has had that much effect on my day-to-day life, yes, grocery store runs and trips to the library are non-existent, but otherwise? My weekly routine is pretty much the same. My down days haven't lessened nor have they multiplied, again, its all.. the same. This is leading me to question whether my mental health and being home are connected. Each day that I log onto social media, I'm faced with countless of posts by people who are struggling more with their depression and anxiety because they're stuck in the house. Each post has hundreds of 'likes' and countless replies from people who are voicing their own demons. Stupidity may of never led me to connect the dots of my own life before, but now it's all I can seem to do. 

In the style of Carrie Bradshaw: I can't help but wonder, have I inadvertently been self quarantining myself for all these years? And if that's the case, is this why I'm depressed?

It's no secret that mental health and self hatred go hand-in-hand, but I'd argue that chronic pain and self deprecation are also connected. Pain imprisons you in your own body, and when the body fails, our brain can sometimes speed up in an effort to avoid insanity. At least for me, on the high pain scale days, my brain feels rotten. It's rather incredible how your own thoughts can bruise you in a new way. But pain or no pain, this quarantine is basically locking us in with ourselves. And quite clearly, that's why so many of us are struggling. It's too much time to spend fighting back the evil voice inside of us. If I'm right, and this is the case, then I've been choosing this life for myself? This endless cycle of fighting with what is essentially my own brain? My own heart? How deeply.. sad. 

When things begin to go back to normal I don't know whether I'll have the power to change the way my days look, but I know I really want to try. I recently read "Maybe You Should Talk To Someone" and to prove a point, one of the therapists instructs the patient to visualize a set of prison bars, you being behind them, and shaking them endlessly in an attempt to escape. You're so busy trying to break the bars down, that you never stop and realize that each side is open. You just have to go around, instead of through. I'm tired of trying to break things down that I'm too weak for. Maybe for now, I just have to go the long way around.

I don't really know what the purpose is of this post, but I felt the urge to write it. Hopefully it'll help just one person to reevaluate their own mental state outside of this lockdown.

How has your mental health been during the quarantine? Let's start a conversation without judgement, embarrassment, or filters. We write to know we're not alone. 


Side-note: I know that in the grant scheme of things, nothing about this is a problem. There are people literally putting their lives at risk during this pandemic to keep us all going, and I'm so incredibly grateful. Heroes are materializing in all kinds of forms lately, and it's a beautiful thing. Thank you to everyone on the front line. However, I think it's also okay to admit to not being mentally stable during all of this - even if our days are just spent at home. We all have weighted backs right now, just in very different ways. Maybe we ought to start helping each other to carry the load. My way of that is writing, I hope you understand. Again, thank you to all the doctors, nurses, hospital staff, postal workers, grocery store workers, teachers, food delivery staff, and all the other amazing humans making a difference. 

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