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Mental Health

How I’m Dealing With Loneliness During the Pandemic

When I received my admission to Boston University this summer, I was filled with joy and enthusiasm. I imagined myself walking down Commonwealth Ave, surrounded by an array of soul friends. I was driven with motivation and so excited to wake up every day with Boston’s gorgeous streets in front of me.

Photo by Elisabeth Lindsay on Unsplash

As classes began, I realized that the vision in my head of this school year didn’t exist. It took a while for the reality of online classes to sink in. In the first couple of months, I found it extremely difficult to have little to no social contact while still motivating myself to attend classes. I was also overwhelmed with the amount of work and felt like I was in the midst of a tornado. Pulling my claws out of the rug, I repeatedly tried to suppress my loneliness and aim for perfection. I wanted to be the most perfect and learn as much as possible, despite the world’s current circumstances. 

However, depression has crept in several times for me throughout the semester. Every time that it hits me, I feel powerless. I feel propelled down a deep, dark ocean and swallowed into my very own void. Many voices in my head convince me that failure is inevitable and that everything around me is ultimately meaningless. As I’ve found myself plummeting into obscurity, my higher self screams to me, “Pull yourself out. It’s in your hands.”

The colossal boulder laying on my back inhibits me from standing on the sun and fighting past my demons. I find it easier to lie down in the void and feel the emotions. I know that I am in pain, but it’s in those intense emotions that I find my suppressed feelings. The void can be a comfortable place to lie when a person wants to avoid transformation and remain in their comfort zone. When I feel myself integrating into numbness, I remember to do a few things to welcome the earth below me. I wait until I am ready, and then I leap.

First, I push myself to go on a run to feel the earth pulsing underneath me and breathe in the fresh air. When I run, I face the understanding that my head does not control nor overpower me. As I embrace the trees around me, I take every deep breath and release. I release my inner demons, and I remember that perfection is both unattainable and overrated. I tell myself that completing one assignment, one class, or even one run, is a huge accomplishment. In our current climate, we need to congratulate ourselves on the smallest victories. Even waking up in the morning can feel like a grueling task, and it will only get harder during the upcoming wintertime. 

Then, I like to phone a friend. My depression’s main trigger is the extreme loneliness that I have been feeling during the pandemic. I have not been able to meet many people since most of my classes are online. Therefore, I spend most of my day-to-day life alone. As much as I love living alone, I need to include a healthy amount of social contact to avoid intense depression. I always remember to negate the voices in my head and make plans for Zoom dates with close friends. I call my mother whenever I need to and have meaningful conversations about my feelings. I find clarity when I express my emotions and thoughts to my friends and family. 

Woman with curly hair waving and saying hi to someone through her laptop.
Photo by Yan from Pexels

I also love to write my emotions down in poetry. I can truly reach the root of the issue or the underlying hidden truth when I write abstract thoughts. I find myself escaping my thoughts and viewing the bigger picture, and I understand myself that much better. 

computer hands writing in journal on table
Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

Finally, visiting new (and old) cafes to study has made keeping up with school work much easier. I find it hard to always complete assignments in my apartment by myself, so I enjoy active noise around me. 

Depression and loneliness are heavy, impersonal words since they are so different for every single person. However, during this challenging time, we need to give as much attention to ourselves as we can. So please don’t aim for perfection; instead, create an objective for growth.

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Hi, I'm Serena! I am an English major, and love theatre very much as well! I am writing for this magazine as a personal therapeutic outlet, but also to help others! Feel free to message me if my writing touches you or helps you in any way!
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