Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Coping During Quarantine

Dear Darlings, 

Since the declaration of the outbreak of COVID-19 (Coronavirus disease), the world is in a panic and people are living in fear of uncertainty and being bombarded by the constant news about the pandemic. Everyone is going through the same thing and being concerned about this virus is understandable, but for many people suffering from mental health problems, it can worsen their mental state.

It is affecting everyone in different ways and no matter what you're upset over, it isn't invalid and you have a right to be sad. But please, don't let it consume you. Since the outbreak, my college is closed and my A-Levels, which I have worked so hard for over the past two years, has been cancelled. My 18th birthday is coming up and my plans aren't going ahead. I miss my family and the situation overall has worsened my mental health. It is really upsetting that I have spent so many nights working hard, even had sleepless nights, stressed, cried, put so much effort into these exams and now they're cancelled and I don't need to be in college anymore. It was very abrupt so of course, it has taken a toll on my mind as I am completely out of routine. But I know that it wasn't a waste. College got me out of a very dark place and I gained confidence in going out again, walking on my own and being in a classroom surrounded by a fear I had kept to myself for so long. People. As soon as it was announced I went into complete panic mode, I couldn't sleep and I would be pacing my house at 4 in the morning, my heart pounding, I couldn't stop fidgeting, my legs were like jelly and I felt like I was going crazy. And then I thought of my great-nan and my nan, who both suffer from health problems, and how I wouldn't be able to see them and the fear of the unknown of when I was next going to see them has been killing me.

Thoughts have been racing through my head non-stop, going at 100mph and I haven't been able to stop them. How am I going to cope for weeks in the house? When am I next going to see my family? What if I can't do this? What's the point? These have consumed me. I know what self-isolating does to my mind, it has destroyed me. I've went days, even weeks not wanting to speak to anyone or leave the house and what helped me was getting out the house. And the fact that I can't do that is terrifying to me. The thought of being in my bedroom, suffering from my own thoughts, is so scary and this is when I'm at most risk of relapsing.

So, I started writing a plan of things I could do to occupy myself, to give myself some sort of routine. It's the best that I can do as this situation is completely out of my control and there is nothing I can do. I have spoken to many people and this has helped me understand I am not alone. I want to tell you, the one who is reading this who is struggling, that you are NOT alone. We are all in this together and helping each other is the best thing we can do.

The government is telling us to stay at home and to wash our hands regularly. I can't express this enough, please stay inside. Do the same as me, create a new daily routine that priorities looking after yourself or trying something new. Whether that's reading, trying a new instrument, finding a new hobby like drawing etc. Whatever it is, use this time wisely. Find yourself. Learn who you are. Do you like mornings or at night? Do you enjoy the sun rising or the sunset? It can be anything, no matter how little the things are, find out what you like. Facetime family and friends. Meditate. Become more spiritual. Help people. Try yoga. Binge-watch your favourite series for the 10th time. Watch that new film you have wanted to for so long but never had the time. Listen to new music. (Judy Garland and Doris Day's music have really helped me get through this, and I promise it will put a smile on your face) Hug those around you.  Look out the window and appreciate the flowers, the sky, even just the ability to see what's outside and know that you are breathing and you are alive. Appreciate these little moments. This is what will get you through this awful time and remember, this is temporary, this will all be over soon and when it does we will appreciate life so much more. We will hug people more. We will not take for granted even just walking outside and greeting new people. Once this pain is over, we will have been a very valuable life lesson, to never take those little things for granted ever again. And if you ever need to talk, message me (Instagram @_aimeedarling_ or email me, aimeebryanxoxo@gmail.com)

Please, stay indoors. Take care of yourself. Stay safe.

Aimee