My Mental Health During COVID-19

Although I usually keep my articles light-hearted, I wanted to talk about how the pandemic has affected my life. I wanted to break down how this has affected aspects of my life, both positively and negatively.

In mid-March of 2020, UW decided to send all of us home due to the threat of the virus spreading like wild-fire across the world. I was disappointed that the second semester of my first year of college had ended prematurely. I lived in the dorms my first year and I met so many great people, getting good grades, experiencing independence for the first time, and I felt I finally had a place I belonged. I hated my high school experience and I hoped my college experience would be better, and it proved to be everything and more that I could’ve asked for. So, yes, I was very disappointed to leave a place I called my new home. Moving back home felt like I backtracked in life, that my life was put on hold. I was glad to see my family, especially my brother, who attends CU Denver. I’m very close to my brother and being in different states is hard, especially when one of us is struggling. Although I was grateful for the extra time I got to spend with my family, I couldn’t help being depressed about leaving. 

I am someone who has struggled with depression for years now and being isolated in quarantine worsened my mental state. I relied on my friends as a distraction from school work while I was at school and without them I felt consumed by stress and depressive thoughts. Although we have the technology to keep in contact with the important people in our life, it doesn’t compare to being with them in person. When I experience depressive episodes, I distance myself from the people in my life so the forced isolation made it worse. All I wanted to do was go on a late night drive with my friends and forget my problems for a while, even if it was only a few hours. 

One of my recurring depressive symptoms is loss of appetite and I’ve struggled with this since my freshman year of high school. My hunger has never really come back, and by that I mean that I no longer feel the sensation of hunger when I am supposed to. I will feel it on occasion but it’s no where near what a normal person would experience. Because of this symptom my weight has fluctuated quite a bit, going back and forth between being normal weight and underweight. Since I had more time at home, I was able to change my diet and workout. Over the summer I gained ten pounds of muscle and I was finally a healthy weight. This is an obstacle I’ve wanted to overcome for years and the pandemic allowed me to finally get my eating habits in line to be truly healthy. I couldn’t be more proud of myself for that. 

Once the 2020 fall semester started, I found myself having a hard time coping with the changes. I had all of my classes in person the previous semester and now I only have one class in person. I was able to see anyone I wanted without fear of getting sick or being potentially exposed to the virus. I was able to attend lecture halls and sit right next to my friends or my peers. I never thought I would take a lecture hall for granted but now I would give anything to sit in a room with other college students without masks or social distancing. I was disappointed when I figured out most of my classes had moved to all online instruction. I was concerned about my social life, how would I make new friends if it was all online? Fortunately, I’ve made a few Zoom friends, but it’s not the same as being with them in person. I took one online class my first semester of freshman year and I never wanted to take one again because I found it much harder to focus. Now that I’m forced to take online classes, it takes longer to comprehend information and I hate staring at a computer screen for hours. I think the worst part is staying in relatively the same place everyday. I move from my room to my kitchen to my living room and I repeat it over the next day, I feel like I’m just going through the motions at this point. 

A positive energy in my life is my two roommates, Kaylie and Clara. We all get along really well and it’s helped me so much. We talk about everything from dating life to mental health and everything in between. I know I can rely on them when I’m feeling down and I’ll do the same for them. We have self-care activities we do every week to ease the stress and anxiety of school, work, and living in a pandemic. In a previous article, I listed four self-care activities that help me on a weekly basis. My roommates and I paint our nails multiple times a week as a form of self-care, it’s relaxing and we get to discuss what’s going on in our lives. 

Although I’ve had quite a few struggles during the pandemic, I’ve found positive things too. I know it’s a hard time for everyone, but none of us are going through it alone. 

Here are a few resources if you’re struggling:

Crisis Text Line:

  • Text HOME to 741741

National Eating Disorders Center Helpline:

  • (800) 931-2237

    National Suicide Prevention Line:

  • 1-800-273-TALK (8255)