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Let me just start by saying that I understand how important this quarantine period is to flatten the curve. I get that 100%. But that doesn’t mean that it isn’t killing me.
Ever since I can remember, I have been an extrovert. I get my energy from being around other people. And for the last three years, I have battled clinical depression and generalized anxiety disorder. Over that time, I have learned that the way I cope is through distraction and routine. It has taken me a painfully long time to find the perfect routine to keep my mind off of itself, but I did. And for a brief time, life felt liveable again…
And then this happened.
School, work, the gym. On rotation. Interspersed with seeing my boyfriend and putting this paper together. Naturally, quarantine eliminates all of that, causing me to feel lost, alone, and empty. I wish these were new emotions, but they’re not. Think of them as the background track to my life. A constant presence, minimized only by my ability to make the rest of those things louder.
This isn’t asking for pity, or special permission to circumvent these governmental measures because again, I do understand their importance. This is simply a reminder to pay a little extra attention to your extrovert friends, to your friends whose mental health isn’t always on their side. Even if they don’t ask for it, or seem to be coping with everything fine, this forced alone time is hard, and for some it has only ever happened when they have been on the brink of the end. Find ways to be their distraction. Invite them for happy hour on video calls or challenge them to the app version of board games.
And if you are one of the ones who isn’t dealing with this quarantine well, you’re allowed. I know it might not feel that way with the emphasis of the quarantine’s importance, but you are. Having the thing that has allowed you to live taken away is bloody horrifying. If you were going to therapy, keep up those appointments over the phone. If you weren’t, maybe now could be a good time to start. If asking for help is scary, because trust me I know how much it can be, then stay connected to those that allow you to feel safe in these uncertain times.
The world is scary right now, in so many ways, so please take care of yourself in whatever way you need and always remember that whatever you feel is valid.