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COVID-19 Has Left Me in Constant Mental Health Crisis for Months

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Editor's Note

If you experience suicidal thoughts, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741741.

For the last five months I’ve been existing and surviving, but barely. I have found a new low that I didn’t know existed, and day after day, I’ve sunk lower. I thought I was at the bottom of the huge mountain to climb and then I sank lower into a valley, with no way to even take a single step upwards to get out of this low. I’ve been clinically depressed and cannot believe how awful depression is. To have zero motivation to do anything that helps me — to try and distract myself but not be able to concentrate on anything, to watch TV but not really be watching it, completely unaware of what I’m watching. To feel exhausted constantly from doing nothing. To have no option but to stay in bed, day after day, just letting life pass me by.

Before lockdown, I was mentally the best I’ve ever been for about a month. I felt relief from some decisions that were difficult but right for me. I was about to start volunteering in a primary school after two years out of work. I felt hopeful for the future and excited about the life I was going to live. I felt that I was creating a life worth living. I was doing very well with dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), using most of my skills every day and learning to be stronger than this thing I’m fighting called borderline personality disorder (BPD). I had plans. I had hope. I knew who I wanted to be.

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To go from this to the lowest I’ve ever felt is not to be looked at lightly. The contrast between how I was in February and early March to how I became in April onwards is extraordinary. Support from mental health services became nonexistent. I was told repeatedly that this was to “keep me safe.” Yes, safe from the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) but at what cost? I have lost count of how many times I have tried to die by suicide during lockdown. The reasons for this is how incredibly low I feel, having no hope for ever getting better and the complete lack of support. These reasons merge into one because the reason I have no hope is down to getting no support from mental health services, I know I cannot get myself out of this pit alone. I’ve done things from which medical professionals are surprised I’m not dead. Last week, I was in the emergency department four times. I feel like I’ve been in constant crisis without a break for months. Is it any wonder I want to die to get this pain to stop?

On a bad day in my “normal” life, I think I just need to get through this day and tomorrow might not be as bad. During lockdown, I know for sure every day is going to be just as bad. There is no end. People told me back in March that this was only temporary and thought that was comforting, it’s now August as I write this. Yes, its temporary, but not temporary enough. It feels like the longest five months of my life. I’ve not done anything to help myself get better; I’ve not been allowed to because of lockdown restrictions.

Living alone with mental health problems during lockdown is nothing short of torture. Forced isolation in my little council flat, with my mental health declining and intrusive thoughts getting worse, there is nothing to distract me. All I have is my own messed up mind for company.

My DBT group is finally going online next week, and I have an appointment to talk about going back to the community mental health team on Thursday. I can see a very tiny glimmer of hope. I don’t believe it yet but I know it’s there. I have to remember I am still alive for a reason; I will again find that reason and purpose in life. For now, I will keep surviving, keep breathing, and that is enough.

Struggling with your mental health due to COVID-19? Check out the following articles from our community:

Photo by Ava Sol on Unsplash

Originally published: September 13, 2020
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