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Living through a pandemic while living with a mental illness

Growing up with anxiety, I have always been known to worry and overthink pretty much everything. 

When I was a child, my parents used to write my worries on a piece of paper, put the note in an empty jar and read them out loud when I felt better. They would call it my ‘worry jar.’

Right now, I feel like my ‘worry jar’ would be absolutely filled to the brim with worries, whether it be for the world around me, my online classes, or my health.

I feel like, since the pandemic started, I have been constantly on-edge.

It’s an understatement when I say the novel coronavirus pandemic hasn’t been easy on anyone. It completely changed the way we were living, and it seems like everything is always changing.

The hardest part of the quarantine, in my opinion, is being alone with my thoughts. It’s really hard not to fall back into that dark hole when you really don’t have much to distract you.

One of the things this pandemic has made me really anxious about is the thought of dying. 

I know that I’m young and healthy, so the chances of me dying from the coronavirus are slim, but I still find myself going over the what-if’s late at night. 

I am also anxious about the online schooling that has come from the pandemic. I find myself worrying about my grades a lot more than I usually do because I am afraid I am missing assignments, or I am worried about my finals. 

With how this pandemic has played out, it’s very hard not to be worried when it feels like everyone else is panicking around me. I can’t turn on the news or scroll through social media anymore without feeling scared of the world around me. 

It’s even harder to leave the house and go into public. Simple tasks, like going to grocery stores or going to work, feel completely different. Everyone seems to be very fearful of each other, and that’s probably because you never really know who could be walking around with the virus.

Everyone says that if it scares you,  just don’t talk about it, but it’s hard when the coronavirus is literally all anyone talks about. 

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The advice that people give is the usual, like going for a walk or starting a new hobby, but somehow those dark thoughts still find a way to cross my thoughts. I keep hoping that everything will be better once we are able to leave the house.

Unfortunately, no one really has a set date for when this pandemic will end. Even when it does, it will probably be a while until we feel comfortable again. Being in a crowded lecture hall or going into public places without a mask on will feel odd. But, life will eventually move on from this and feel normal again.

Trying times like these are hard to get through. With the pandemic, we are so consumed with social distancing and our physical health, but we especially need to keep our mental health in mind right now.

As much as the pandemic is an important thing, we need to take time to check in with ourselves. It is really important that mental health is taken seriously at a time like this. Also, it’s important that if you are feeling bad, to reach out and get help. 

miskem@miamioh.edu

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