Since the pandemic started so many people told me they can’t quite put their finger on how they’ve been feeling.
Anxious, yes. This is a terrifying surreal time. But also a little down. I recently suggested to one of my friends that she might have low-level depression.
It’s this simmering underlying feeling where you’re not exactly miserable but you don’t feel like yourself.
In the early months of lockdown, while some people were baking bread, biking, walking or painting bathrooms to fill the hours, my friend couldn’t motivate herself to do much.
And it’s not that she’s been socially isolated during COVID. She has her family. Nor is she at risk for serious COVID complications or in financial distress. In fact my friend is a million times luckier than most people right now.
She’s not one to wallow in self-pity. She’s grateful for her life and counts her blessings, especially now. And yet she feels blah, unmotivated, a little down and has zero energy.
I think that’s how a lot of people feel right now. There’s also thousands of people struggling with severe depression. The kind of debilitating, soul-crushing despair.
These people are overwhelmed every moment of the day trying to pay their bills and keep their kids from going stir crazy. Then once school started after parents spent weeks wondering whether to send their kids face to face, online or some combination, half the time their kids couldn’t logon to their classes because of some technical problem.
And for some kids who generally don’t do well with virtual learning, homework assignments might now demand more help than either you or your child’s teacher can give right now. Everything feels out of control and in chaos.
People are terrified their aging parents might catch COVID. They’re terrified they might catch COVID, or their husband or their sister on the front line. Widows and senior citizens are falling deeper into social isolation and loneliness.
Eviction seems inevitable for some and for the first time — or maybe again, thoughts of suicide creep in for thousands of people trying to cope.
A recent study from JAMA finds that depression has more than tripled during the pandemic.
Everyone is grieving the loss of someone or something precious right now. I think that’s the inexplicable feeling my friend was feeling. Loss. The loss of normalcy replaced by dread.
Our collective mental health is in serious crisis.
2020 has been the perfect storm for depression. A nightmare of many stressors converging all at one time to beat people down to an emotional and psychological pulp.
– Social isolation
– Grieving a death
– Fear of COVID based on age and/or underlying health conditions
– Financial distress
– Pre and post-election stress
– Estrangement of a loved one due to the election
– Fears about healthcare
– Seasonal affective disorder
Some people are experiencing all of these right now. Every. Single. One.
So if every morning you find yourself just trying to hang on or you don’t feel like yourself, please consider talking to a mental health counselor.
Of course we can’t compare losing a loved one to “just” feeling a little down, but everyone deserves empathy right now. No matter how seemingly insignificant your pain it’s still pain.
Don’t beat yourself up because others are “suffering so much more than I am right now I have no right to complain.”
Complaining all the time about COVID inconveniences while others suffer isn’t cool. But talking about how you feel emotionally and psychologically because you’re have a tough time is a whole other story. In one way or another, everyone is having a tough time.
Maybe you’re not comfortable seeing a mental health professional in person right now. If that’s the case please consider a telehealth service.
Telehealth mental health resources:
LiveHealthOnline – Psychiatric care
Inpathy – Psychiatric care, medication management, and therapy
Talkspace – Individual therapy, couples therapy, therapy for teens
Betterhelp – Individual, couples, and teen counseling
Regain – Individual and couples counseling focused on relationships
Online-Therapy.com – Cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT (read more about e-therapy here)
Pride Counseling – Counseling for the LGBTQ community