Dear, guys – welcome back to Letters From Liz.
For many of us, we are weeks into the quarantine phase of this whole COVID-19 outbreak. Living in NYC, it’s been extra stressful for us to live in a state that has become the epicenter of the virus in the U.S. Living in a predominantly Asian neighborhood, nearly everything is closed, once a crowded area is now deserted, and it’s just an intense time to be living, in all honesty. It’s scary, but we’re all trying to get through this time as efficiently and safely as possible.
With that being said, it’s not only important to focus on our physical health, but our mental health is just as important! Being home without any other social interaction besides whoever lives in your household (which sadly some of us live alone) can take a major toll on your mental health. Like I mentioned in my letter about COVID-19, some of our home environments are not the most healthy spaces for us to be, and our jobs, schooling, or just routines out of the house are the things that keep us grounded and our mental health in a healthy state. When those things are taken away from us so abruptly like it was, it’s difficult to transition into the current new “normal”.
Personally, I find myself not only getting back into old behavioral patterns, but I’m also aware of just how depressed and “not myself” I’ve been lately. I’m aware that the last time I felt this way, I was unemployed and stuck in the house for most of my days for the majority of last year. I know this because a lot of my thinking feels the same as it did, and slowly but surely, I’m finding it hard to be productive, stay motivated, honestly to just get out of bed. It’s the uncertainty, it’s my surroundings, and it’s just my cycle coming back around, and this time I don’t have my routine to help control it.
Of course, I am probably not the only one. In fact, I believe many of us are in the same boat, whether or not they are diagnosed with any mental disorders. It’s a difficult time for everyone; it’s the anxiety of contracting the virus and harming those with compromised immune systems, it’s the anxiety of sheltering and living under this quarantine with very limited supplies left, and it’s the depression of all of this plus the fact you feel like you have no control of your life and what to do with it. Sure, we could watch all the TV, videos, and movies all we want, but we are social beings. Once our body needs that social interaction with other people other than the people in your household, we want it.
Sadly, there are going to be people in situations where they are constantly triggered and to not have an escape to go to, things could get dangerous and serious.
That’s the scariest part.
Being in an environment that’s mentally draining and unhealthy for your mental health plus the anxiety and depression of COVID-19 could leave anyone feel like they have no control over their own lives. The fact that we have all this time now to overthink and sulk in our negative thoughts, it could be potentially dangerous for those with more severe mental illness. There’s no routine for those who rely upon it, there’s no actual “getting up out of your house to go to therapy” anymore, there’s not even a damn escape place you can go to because everything is closed. It’s that feeling that you have no control over anything that makes everything feel ten times more difficult.
This letter isn’t making you feel any better, I know, but I just wanted to voice out the concerns and the misunderstandings that people may have about this time; it’s more than just “getting the virus”. It’s the fear that comes behind it, it’s the day-by-day life and how that looks like for most of us, it’s not knowing what type of security we have financially; it’s a lot of things, and our mental health is the thing that takes the biggest toll in times like this.
So please, try to take care of your mental health throughout a time like this. It’s so easy to get sucked into all this madness, but make sure you check-in with yourself mentally: how am I doing? Do I feel happy/sad/angry/drained/okay today? What are some things that I could in the house that can help keep me focused on good energy?
Stay safe, and take care of yourself!