I was listening to the news the other day and heard a comment that somewhat scared me. It was talking about social distancing and how this whole pandemic is going to cause a significant increase in mental health related illnesses because of the fact that we are not able to leave our homes.
According to HealthTrends, “Short periods of isolation can increase anxiety or depression within a few days.” And to make matters worse, social distancing “may lead to risk for many health conditions, including high blood pressure, heart disease, cancer, or stroke.”
As if the pandemic that we are facing hasn’t already been enough, we now also have to worry about our mental health more than ever.
Who Is At Risk For Mental Health Illnesses During Coronavirus?
First of all, everybody is at risk of experiencing mental health-related diseases at any given time, nevertheless during a global pandemic.
With how uncertain times are, the fact that so many individuals are losing their jobs, falling ill, or losing loved ones, and the fact that everybody is having to adapt to a new normalcy for the foreseeable future, everybody is at a higher risk than ever before.
As I started to think about this more, though, part of me wondered how bad it would get for those who have already been suffering mental health-related illnesses.
Truth be told, I began to wonder if those who already deal with depression and anxiety-related illnesses may make it out of this stronger than ever. Here’s why.
Having Lived With Depression and Anxiety
Personally speaking, the days when my depression was at its peak were by far the hardest days of my life. No matter what I did, I just never felt good enough. I didn’t think that I amounted to anything, that I had a future ahead of me, and there were times when I questioned if my life was worth living.
But through it all, I somehow found the strength to continue to move forward. It was a long and challenging road, but because I never gave up, I am now living the best days of my life.
I can’t believe that I am about to say this, but in times like the ones we are currently facing, I am actually grateful for having gone through the struggles that I did and for what my depression has taught me.
It is because of my previous battle with depression that I am able to see the light at the end of the tunnel. It’s because of my depression that I know there are going to be amazing days ahead. And while I get that times are tough, with every challenge that we face in life, my depression has taught me that each and every one of us has the power and strength needed to overcome any challenge we face, just as long as we keep moving forward regardless of how big that challenge may be. I don’t think I am the only one who feels this way either.
Having Experienced Depression vs. Never Dealing With It
When I first heard the news talking about the rise of mental health-related illnesses during the pandemic, part of me started wondering if maybe those who have experienced mental health-related illnesses in the past were going to be the ones who would prevail during this time. My reasoning behind that is that they have been through similar challenges already and have seen what life looks like on the other side. They are the ones who know that there is hope.
While I don’t wish mental illnesses on anybody, I truly believe that it is those who have suffered in the past who are going to remain the strong ones through this all. Unfortunately, it is everybody else (whether they have never dealt with a mental illness in the past or haven’t come to terms with it) who are going to have a difficult time adapting to a new normal.
To put it simply, I feel that one has to go through “shit” in order to see the true strength that they possess. Those who have experienced depression have gone through the shit before. For us, this lifestyle of social distancing, isolation, and of having to adapt to change is nothing new. We have done it before and have come out on the other side a stronger person because of it. That is how I know we can do it again.
But for a lot of the population, this lifestyle that everyone is having to adapt to is new. It’s scary, it’s lonely, and it’s challenging.
There’s one thing that I want you to know though. No matter what your past is, how much shit you have or haven’t been through in life, or how lonely and depressed you may feel, NEVER GIVE UP. From somebody who has experienced many dark days in the past, just know that there are brighter days ahead – brighter days for us all.
Managing Mental Health During Social Distancing
Now, more than ever before, it’s important that everybody makes their mental health a priority. If you are struggling during these times, try implementing some of the tips below to help you with managing your mental health during these times.
– Create an organized space.
If you want a clear mind, try creating a clear space around you. The more clutter you have around you, the more cluttered your thoughts are going to be.
Clean up your house, organize your work desk, and try creating a dedicated workspace to keep your home and work life separate.
– Stay connected.
Whether it’s with family, friends, and coworkers, do your best to stay connected. Keep in touch with them through texting, calling, FaceTiming, social media, or any other video apps that allow you to connect with those closest to you.
– Build a new routine.
During challenging times, try to find some structure. Create a morning routine, get dressed right away when you wake up, get your body moving, and either workout or go for a walk on a daily basis. Whatever you can do to find some routine and structure during this ever-changing time, do it.
Before You Go
If you are struggling with managing mental health during social distancing, just know that you are not alone. Everybody is going through changes right now. There is no shame in admitting that you are having a difficult time adjusting to new times right now. In fact, it shows strength to be able to admit your weaknesses.
If you are struggling with managing your mental health during social distancing, make it known. It isn’t going to do you any good to hide how you’re feeling. Let it out and reclaim your life.