What It's Like to Deal With Multiple Mental Illnesses During the COVID-19 Outbreak
Boredom during depression is something I’ve written about before, but right now it’s made even worse by the current COVID-19 pandemic. The coronavirus (COVID-19) is the new viral strain in the coronavirus family that affects the lungs and respiratory system.
I’m currently in a depressive low, which means I just want to lay in bed all day playing on my phone. However, that’s just making my anxiety worse. One minute I’m playing games on my phone, trying to make me feel better by matching cats to get different cats, and the next minute I’m suddenly on social media scrolling through endless panic and insensitive memes. I’ve already deleted Twitter off my phone as well as Facebook, but even Instagram and Buzzfeed —my usual happy places when I’m depressed — aren’t safe right now. In the beginning, I thrived on seeing good news, but now I don’t even want to see that. Even the mention of COVID-19 just makes me more anxious.
So naturally, this means I should do something other than lay around. Go for a walk, clean my apartment, work on a project. These are all things that could help my anxiety. However, I don’t have the energy for them right now. My anxiety needs me to get stuff done, but my depression wants me to do nothing and right now the depression is winning but my anxiety is making me feel even worse for that.
As an introvert with depression who works from home pretty often, I’m used to spending a lot of time alone by myself so people may think that this is just another day for me. It isn’t. My routines are all over the place and every mental illness I have is being affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in a different way. Like I said, my anxiety needs me to clean all things while my depression wants me to lay in bed scrolling through social media and feeling even worse. My OCD is having a really hard time with the fact that I shouldn’t be touching my face. My BPD is really struggling with abandonment issues due to this.
Things are getting canceled and postponed and we’re supposed to be practicing social distancing. These are all reasonable ways to stop the spread of the virus, but even the thought of them makes my BPD think that I’m being abandoned forever. Reasonably I know I’m not, but it’s extra hard to deal with being alone with all my thoughts right now.
So what am I doing to deal with all these mental illnesses that are fighting and dealing with the pandemic in very different ways?
- Be gentle with myself
- Try to take care of myself and still eat well, drink water, exercise
- Watch Disney movies
- Read lighter books when I feel up to reading
- Limit social media
- Validate my anxiety
- Deep breathing and meditate
- Journal my fears
- A cope ahead plan of what I’ll do if I get it
- Calming phone games
- Since I know I’m going to touch my face, I’ve been washing my hands more frequently
- Playing with my hair instead of picking at my face
- Trying to be more mindful of how often and when I touch my face and trying to stop it
- Text/call friends so I don’t feel alone
- Play and cuddle with my pets and remember they love me
- Remind myself that it’s not permanent
- Watching a movie with friends over the phone
None of these are perfect solutions, but like everyone else, I’m just trying to get through this as best as I can. My compromised immune system is making my anxiety very high, but I just need to remember that I’m not alone and that my feelings about this are valid.
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GettyImages photo via gud_zyk