Everything is Crazy Right Now, But We'll Be Okay

Since everything was shut down for COVID-19, I’ve been having incredibly vivid dreams and waking up more tired than I was when I went to bed. It feels like falling asleep on an airplane and not being able to block out the humming of the engine or the sun shining through the window across from you. I often wake up sweating and confused. I even have nightmares, which I haven’t had since I was young.

I’m not alone. People are more restless than ever. My family is having big arguments over stupid things. My friends are calling me in the middle of the night crying and panicking. I’m getting PMS-like symptoms when I shouldn’t be. Everyone is cranky, stressed, depressed, lonely, bored, tired, hungry, sick. And to think that we have it good compared to those who are actually suffering, whether it be from COVID-19 itself or the social and economic consequences of the pandemic. I feel guilty for even complaining.

I shouldn’t, though. This pandemic affects us all, if not physically than mentally. In fact, I’d even say that the impact of COVID-19 on our mental health is almost a pandemic itself. Some people have been lucky enough to still be employed, to not know anyone personally who has the coronavirus, to be able to continue to avoid it, and for the pandemic to ultimately not have a very big impact on their lives at all. And yet it will have an impact on all of us whether we know it or not.

A lack of social solidarity is plaguing us. We’re all trying so hard to protect ourselves that I think we’re forgetting how important it is to support each other. Stopping the spread of a global disease outbreak is a team effort. While not everyone has the means to stop it (though if you do have the money, resources, social influence, or physical capacity, please please please help healthcare workers! They need us as much as we need them!), we can all provide shoulders to lean on (metaphorically, of course). 

This is a crazy, terrible, literally once-in-a-lifetime situation. We have no idea how to deal with this emotionally. Everyone’s stress levels are at their peak, and we’re reacting in accordance with that. We have to take that into consideration when dealing with emotional friends and family members. Maybe you’re tired of hearing everyone crying and complaining. Maybe you think they’re acting irrationally, and you’re seeing their behavior through the lens of a pre-pandemic world. But you can’t. Not anymore. The next time you’re mad at someone for saying something you didn’t like, remember that these are no ordinary circumstances and that stress may have caused them to say something they shouldn’t. The next time you’re confused and scared as to why you’re not acting like yourself, remind yourself that it’s okay to be irrational now.

The most important thing to remember is that we’re all in this together, and we need to stick together if we’re going to make it through this.