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Mental Health

Non-Silent Treatment: COVID-19 and Mental Health

There is a false rumor going around that in order for the coronavirus to make you unhealthy, you have to contract it. I am here to tell you that that is not the case. COVID-19 can have unimaginable side effects on anyone— even those who test negative. And they can be debilitating. 

A vector illustration representing the Earth wearing a mask.
Photo from Pixabay

 

For those with generalized anxiety disorder or depression, these are trying times. I have seen this firsthand in people I love. No doctor would ever prescribe these individuals with an inescapable amount of alone time and seclusion, a cancellation of all predictable life plans, and a significant decrease in the intake of vitamin D. But, doctors are not in charge here. Doctors, and the rest of us, now answer to a stubborn, uncompromising virus which tells us to stay inside. This is devastating for those living with mental disorders, and I sympathize with their pain.

 

So, where can you turn when you can’t walk away? I suggest we turn towards each other.

 

The one unique—but strangely beautiful—thing about this virus is that it is a massive equalizer among human beings. There is not one person on the planet whose life has not been disrupted by this pandemic. This means that there is always someone with whom you can talk. It also means that there is always someone who needs a listening ear. So, reach out. Check on the people you love. If you miss someone, tell them. They probably miss you back.

 

I know it is hard to look on the bright side here. I have struggled with it a bit myself. But, something that has helped me is knowing this is not forever and knowing that I will be so much more appreciative about the little things from now on.

 

For example, post-lockdown, the first time I was able to eat at a restaurant was not just a meal but a whole event. The first time I hugged my friends from school after the quarantine was one of my happiest moments in college. And, there are so many firsts to come. There will be a first time you attend a concert. There will be a first time you get to go to class and hug your classmates (without a mask). There will be a first time you get to go to a party without a worry. 


people with their hands raised during a concert
Pexels

It is rare in life to get a re-do of firsts. We get to look forward to plenty of them. So, hang in there. There will be the first (and last) time that the world defeats this pandemic—and there will be many firsts to follow.

Tess Shannon

Notre Dame '22

Junior at Notre Dame (but new to Her Campus!) Neuroscience and Behavior major Email: [email protected]
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