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It’s Corona Time: How TikTok is Helping My Anxiety During a Global Pandemic

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Chapel Hill chapter.

As a college student, social media is an inescapable constant in my life and is frequently one of my primary sources for news. Since the outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19), and especially since the virus has arrived in the United States, it’s been easy for me to feel panicked and afraid. Fortunately, I’ve found an unlikely source of comfort: TikTok.

With my university being shut down and my friends locked away in isolation, here are a few ways that TikTok is helping me feel like everything is going to be okay.

I Feel Less Alone

As millions of college students flock to their hometowns in lieu of in-person classes, following the COVID-19 outbreak, we’re all struggling with a separate pandemic: how to live at home again. Going home for summer vacation is difficult enough for college students as it is, but being forced out of our dorms and sent to live with our families in isolation is a new level of challenging. College TikTok users are wielding the app as a platform to talk about their many issues with living at home, and it’s comforting to see that I’m not the only person who is struggling to deal with her family members.

Unlike Instagram, where my friends are using their finstas to complain about being home, TikTok users are using the platform to do quite the opposite. Instead, TikTok users are finding the humor in less-than-ideal home situations. It’s incredibly reassuring to see people in similar situations to my own who are finding ways to make their college exodus a little more bearable.

TikTok Makes Me Want to Create

Now that I’m effectively isolated at home, there’s only so much Netflix I can watch without going insane. Everyone is trying to come up with ways to keep themselves entertained while we’re on lockdown, and TikTok has been my biggest source of inspiration for imaginative activities to try while in isolation. The app is overflowing with incredibly creative and talented artists. These users on TikTok have inspired me to try so many new things, from creating videos to painting tarot cards to making my own earrings. 

The whole country is going stir-crazy, and it makes me feel so much better to know that people are using their time in isolation to create, inspire and try new things.

My Anxiety Feels Validated

I am diagnosed with chronic Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). One of my main triggers for anxiety and OCD is germs, so being forced into isolation due to a global pandemic feels like a living nightmare, and it certainly doesn’t help that the whole country is panicking. In addition to an increased number of Skype-style therapy sessions with my psychologist, TikTok has emerged as a surprisingly great form of therapy.

Unlike TikTok’s predecessors, like Instagram and Snapchat, the app is less about being perfect and more about being open and honest. Users talk about their mental illnesses with candor and address the repercussions of COVID-19 on their mental health in a way that is constructive and demonstrates solidarity. People are speaking honestly about their fears and concerns without disseminating panic or misinformation. It’s also nice to hear that I’m not the only person who thinks that buying hundreds of rolls of toilet paper is ridiculous.

It’s the end of the world as we know it, and TikTok users feel fine.

A first-year at UNC-Chapel Hill, Isabelle is double majoring in Advertising and Public Relations and Dramatic Arts. In her free time, she enjoys reading, painting and watching Derry Girls.