March 22, 2020
This article is part of a special series covering the 2020 outbreak of COVID-19.
Isolation and social distancing are important to protect the members of our society that might be more prone to catching COVID-19. Staying away from large groups and the public in general is something that we should all be doing to keep ourselves and others healthy. However, if I have to look at the walls of my home anymore I think I might actually start to consider digging a hole in my floor just for a change of scenery.
Depression and anxiety are something that I’ve always dealt with, but the things that make it better tend to be human contact — a big no-no during a pandemic. Shopping or getting coffee with my friends, having get-togethers and going to club activities are what got me through the week during my college career. These things are no longer an option for me and so I find myself looking up at my ceiling and wondering if it would really be that horrible to catch COVID-19 if only I could have a hug. I can’t even see my therapist face-to-face anymore.
Some of the things that I have done since being contained to my home include: learning TikTok dances, yoga, cutting my own bangs and watching horror movies (but not the kind about pandemics). Some of these have varying degrees of success in distracting me from what’s going on, but I miss hugging my friends and getting to sit next to them in my class. I miss inviting them to events or making plans with them.
The struggle of having a mental illness in isolation is draining. Human beings were meant to interact with other human beings. It’s hard to get out of bed when there isn’t any potential for something that might actually bring joy. And yet, there is hope. Even small conversations with the people I miss have brought me more and more out of the hole I dug for myself.
Now more than ever, we need to be nice to each other and strengthen our communities where we can. Check on your friends and ask them how they’re doing. Skype, Zoom or just call them. These small forms of interaction help. They’re not perfect, but they’re enough to someone who needs that support.
Joey Warren is a senior in professional and public writing. When not studying you can find her watching Netflix in her pajamas, advocating for women and LGBTQ youth or taking pictures of the squirrels on campus. You can follow her on Instagram @jortay_ole.