Mental health is a major component of our everyday lives. Despite knowing how important mental health is to us every day, I would minimize how much it affects us daily until it happened to me. Like many people, the idea is that oh just smile more, bad days won’t last, pray about it, or even some other approach to feeling better. Although many people believe beating mental health challenges are as easy to fix as tending to a small cut, there are many people who don’t believe the challenges exist at all. Again, I was the former who thought you could just easily process through these challenges and boy did my body make me a believer. I had a bout with PTSD from a bad car accident, which truthfully still plagues me when I am in situations like my car accident. I’ve even experienced depression. Yet, I battled with anxiety throughout all of that which hit me in my mid-20s but now I better manage my symptoms with help from various places such as therapy, diet, exercise (when I do), and even some…
But friends, Big Rona mixed with daylight savings time has got me fucked up. I’m not myself and I’m not okay. Pushing through these feelings is hella hard and I honestly don’t know what to do.
I don’t typically have seasonal affective disorder (SAD), which is typically depression that spikes during a specific season, most commonly winter. According to psychiatry.org, “About 5 percent of adults in the U.S. experience SAD and it typically lasts about 40 percent of the year.” This means one out of every 20 people experiences seasonal depression. Now, let’s add Big Rona to the mix, according to Kansas Health Systems, “The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on many people’s health, including their mental health. A survey by the National Center for Health Statistics shows that nearly 30% of people are experiencing symptoms of clinical depression, compared to 6% at the same time last year. In addition, the survey showed that 36% of people are feeling more anxious about life right now compared to 8% last year.”
Bitch, W T F! Woooooowwwww
The semester ended for me before Thanksgiving and you would think with all of my additional free time I would be basking in it. Typically, that would be true. While Big Rona is here I take a week or so after the end of the semester and I do nothing outside of work. Then I fill my time with projects, video games, movies, and whatever around the house things. Before Big Rona, I WOULD BE IN THESE STREETS HONEY! I would be at whatever restaurant, lounge, bar, or club but, here I am social distancing. So far this year, social distancing has been totally fine but since the time change, I have no concept of anything.
Daylight savings time hit and it was a HUGE wtf moment for me. Typically, I am going to work and coming home, despite being dark I had some momentum because I was already in the motions. However, now, I wake up and the sun is coming up before I even get off of work the sun is going down and I am just… at home, the whole time. It seems to always feel later than it actually is and I find myself doing less than I did before. What has happened to me?
I don’t keep my space clean the same way I did before, I don’t even do my favorite chore, washing and folding, the same way either, I am not tending to my plants the way I was before and I find myself less likely to want to talk to anyone else. I just go from my office to the couch to the bed at like 830pm. I tried several things to pull myself out of this kind of funk but it’s starting to feel more like quicksand. Quicksand made of living by myself, being thousands of miles from my family, not being able to be social, days being shorter, colder and whatever else. When I was coping with my worst go at depression this girl would tell me to get up and just start cleaning until I’m done and see how I feel. Surprisingly, it helped me feel a bit better when my space was clean and together. It was like the sun that had been clouded beamed through once my space was clean. I’m still not sure why that seems to work, maybe it’s the completing tasks, the clean space, or even just getting up and moving. So, I thought maybe if I cleaned my space it would make me feel better but somehow I never finish the cleaning or I clean most of my space but not my room which doesn’t help. I thought pushing myself to do projects would help and that did not either. I even whipped my notebooks back out to start making a weekly and daily to-do list so that I don’t linger too long without doing things I should be doing.
The thing that makes all of this worse sometimes is that we are 9 months in this thing with Big Rona, so, no one asks or wonders if you are okay anymore. I know that I have fallen off on checking on the mental status of the people I love and I don’t hold it against them when they don’t check on me as well. We are all struggling with this in our own way, it just fuels that quicksand by making me feel more alone than ever.
During this tougher time than normal indulge yourself some. I am leaning into not doing anything since I always could relax more. Maybe this way I can remove some of the pressures I have created myself and spend more time enjoying the free time utilizing some fluidity. I won’t beat myself up for not cooking, not putting up my clothes. I am not sure how I will navigate this time but I find comfort in confiding in you.