Mental Health and the Pandemic

Mental Health and the Pandemic

Abby Bozek

This article is not meant to discourage anyone from quarantining and or following CDC regulations. Wear a mask, social distance, and quarantine if need be. This article is only meant to shed light on the difficulties of mental health during this time based on personal experiences. 


The quarantine of 2020. An amazing way to stop the intensity of the spread of the infectious Covid-19. Yet as I lived through this, one thing became glaringly obvious; my mental health was deteriorating. 


I had already gone through mental health struggles the previous years, and the pandemic/quarantine made them exponentially worse. The big thing not many people realize, as they never had to, is that the factors of a quarantine are the opposite of what’s supposed to be done for someone that struggles with mental health. Staying inside all day, not interacting with people outside your house, and doing the same thing every day is detrimental for mental health; especially if you are someone that suffers from depression. The repetition of nothingness day in and day out makes life feel meaningless, and not worth living. A coping mechanism that many people who struggle with depression, as well as problem behaviours, utilize is distraction. Yet during the great quarantine, this was nearly impossible. Every day you were faced with the same set of options, nothing to distract you from yourself. 


Personally, I suffered from this exact problem during the quarantine period and even to this day with the decreased regulations. I found myself struggling with problem behaviours that I hadn’t engaged in before, and now struggle to stop doing. I also found myself in a DBT group, something which I loathed with a passion yet nonetheless had to spend forty-five hours in. I even found myself getting another dog, just to see if I could be happy. Getting out of bed and brushing my teeth was near impossible, so the notion that school work was to be done was not realistic to me. Regulation of medication also found itself in a difficult position, to where I was prescribed something different every week as nothing seemed to work. Luckily some things have changed since regulations are decreased in New York State, yet I still find myself recovering from the difficult time I had during the quarantine. 


So what can you do? If you have a friend that suffers from something like this, check up on them. Make sure they know you’re there and that they can talk to you about anything, anytime. If you find yourself in this position it’s important to seek professional help. Parents and friends can aid your recovery, but they will be unable to fully help you alone as more often than not medication will need to be involved. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, and if you already have professional help and feel trapped don’t be scared to ask about outpatient/inpatient programs. And remember you are important, you are not worthless, and your life is worth living.