2020 has proven to be a challenge for everyone. For minorities, parents, children, the elderly, the middle-aged, and the average person. How do you move forward in 2020 when the world around us is on fire? Literally.
I am up at nights, restless. My heart aches for those in pain. I am in constant fear this medical device implanted in my mom’s brain will fail at any moment and she will go back into a coma. I worry about the future of our economy and the long-term impact that COVID-19 social distancing will have on the mental health of those around us. Mental health is already an underfunded, chastened issue in our world. Everyone has mental health, whether it is good or not so great. Social distancing has brought on a lot of challenges that those with mental health issues have experience with. As someone with bipolar depression and social anxiety, things were rough for me at first, and I am sure I am not alone.
I was doing pretty okay at first. Everyone thought the world was ending apparently, so they stockpiled meat and toilet paper where I live. Physical therapy facilities weren’t accepting new patients, so mom went without physical therapy for 2 months. Major setback. Then George Floyd happened. I was up until 3-4 am mindlessly scrolling on my phone watching the city of Nashville I loved be set on fire. Other cities were in flames. Protests were happening all around, and rightfully so. That’s when my mania kicked in. Social isolation and civil unrest. I was up at 2:25 am steam cleaning my floors. I found myself craving human interaction more than usual. The mania was in overdrive, and I was trying to distract it by keeping my hands busy. I drove by my best friend’s house to pick up some meat we had delivered from a meat company, and I was in tears because her children couldn’t come outside. I couldn’t touch them, or hug them. They stood in the doorway holding their cat waving at me. That was a different kind of pain. It is still indescribable. Recently, I got to see them and I held them tight. My mom has gotten into physical therapy, and we are learning to live in this new normal.
…but what about the people that have never experienced depression or anxiety before and this is the first time they are experiencing those feelings? It is important to establish healthy outlets and maintain a positive way of life, because life is hard. Even the rich and famous are susceptible to mental health issues, so don’t for a second think someone you know and love cannot be affected by mental health struggles. Lift them up. Be the calm in their storm, and if you aren’t able to be a positive in that person’s life then be neutral. Don’t aggravate their conditions. If you are the one struggling, don’t let people bring you down. Walk away. You are worth choosing yourself!
Ways to combat depression and anxiety during our socially distanced times are to divulge in personal hobbies, eating healthier, attending virtual events, practicing meditation, and exercising. I like to read, but recently I haven’t been able to focus on reading. I got an eCard from my local library and downloaded an audio book instead. My gave me a promo card for Freshly recently. I tried a few boxes, and learned I am a pretty decent cook. I’ve learned and rediscovered a lot about myself during quarantine.
I also started following this group Celebrate Recovery on Facebook. It is a religious based recovery program. Another great resource is The Mighty. They have an app you can download that is similar to Facebook, but its super private and they do not allow direct messaging. You can also visit their website to sign up for e-mails or follow their mental health Facebook page. Whether you are a long-time mental health sufferer or new to depression / anxiety there are free resources out there!
Never be ashamed of your feelings.
If you need medical help seek it. I have been there. You are not alone.
Links / Resources:
Online events: Yaymaker.com
The Mighty: TheMighty.com
Celebrate Recovery: https://www.celebraterecovery.com/
Smiling Mind (free meditation resources w/app): https://www.smilingmind.com.au/