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COVID-19 Should Be Normalizing Mental Health Conversations

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There is absolutely no doubt the world we are living in at this time is frayed. It seems we are all going through something, whether it is related to COVID-19 or not. Even if you are fortunate enough to escape getting sick, the social isolation is enough to take quite the emotional toll on not only the mind and body, but the spirit as well. As humans, we are wired to be socially invested to create relationships with others For us, it is very important we remain in close contact with those with whom we have formed some sort of bond.

This virus has put a damper on everything we are accustomed to doing, and essentially, the things that make us human. This has been very difficult and tiring. It seems many of us, myself included, are beginning to become very fatigued not only literally, but figuratively as well. I have found this has been affecting me more so lately than in any stage of the pandemic before.

It has caused me to take the time to reflect on what I used to enjoy and all of the activities I used to participate in. While this can be something positive and bring back a lot of good memories, it can also cause depression because I then think about what I have lost as a result of being unable to hang out with friends and family and do the things I once considered fun.

I am, by nature, a homebody. I enjoy being home, and I am more than comfortable in the space in which I live. However, once you spend so much time at home, it becomes so routine and boring. Boredom is one of my silent killers. I cannot stand being bored and having nothing around me to stimulate me. I do everything in my power to avoid it, and most of the time, I do a pretty stellar job at staying completely occupied.

On the occasion nothing seems to be entertaining me, the boredom bug bites me and drives me completely bonkers. Prolonged times of boredom then lead to depression as a result of having too much time to think about the negative things in my life. I have always struggled with depression. Depression, for me, like everything else in life, ebbs and flows. Sometimes, it will hit for no apparent reason, sending me sliding into an unexpected tailspin of emotional destruction.

As someone who has spent multiple years studying human behavior and social work, I try my best to reflect and truly take a good look at my cycle of depression, and I try to develop my own coping mechanisms so I can take my mental health into my own hands. Luckily, for me, my coping mechanisms are usually effective. I realize many people are not as lucky as I am and cannot manage their feelings and the buildup of emotions on their own. That is perfectly OK, and by my standards, it is considered a normal part of being human. As I mentioned at the beginning of the article, human interaction should be used as a base for survival. Even if you are lucky enough to have a stable support system, it sometimes helps to have someone outside of your circle who will be judgment-free when considering all of your specific issues. It is perfectly OK to need others to get through life.

I understand we live in a society where mental illness is still vastly disregarded, especially in America, where values are heavily placed on being able to sustain yourself as well as your craft. Suddenly, when you start feeling different, it can seem as most of the people surrounding you think you will just get over it or that it is a phase. It is either you pulling yourself up by the bootstraps or ultimately “failing.”

This is a very antiquated viewpoint on mental health, and I personally cannot wait to see the stigmas come to an end. We are all individually created with our own strengths and weaknesses, and I think it is past time to normalize the aspect of mental illness as something that is naturally occurring, in humans who are merely trying to maintain life in the middle of a global pandemic. The moral of this story is you are not alone, no matter how singled out you may feel. We are truly in this together from all corners of the world.

Getty image by nadia_bormotova

Originally published: September 11, 2021
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