BY ELENA VALDEZ
Staying inside all day and night is routine for many diagnosed with depression or various forms of anxiety disorders. However, as laws become stricter amidst the worldwide lockdown that the dangerous virus COVID-19, or coronavirus, has caused, those suffering from mental illness find it harder to stay inside and alone.
Mental illness is dictated by a number of things, from genetic factors to even one’s personal environments. In the treatment of such illnesses, controlling one’s environment plays a large part in their stability. The control of their environment refers to their ability to stay away from potentially triggering or upsetting situations that can add included stress to their lives.
Under the practices set in place during the coronavirus pandemic, some are left with no choice but to be in a place they are not comfortable in or around things that may worsen their mental illness.
As of April 2020, there is mandatory social distancing and self-isolation if one suspects that they have the virus. Public places are even being closed under state legislation unless they are essential. This means that restaurants, arcades and other entertainment-type businesses are shut down, leaving people with literally nothing to do. All schools and colleges have closed as well, causing the most prominent forms of socialization in society to be nowhere to be found.
People need to see people.
People need to see people. Human interaction oftentimes provides tiny reminders that those with mood, personality and traumatic or stress related disorders depend on for stability. Knowing that they are not alone or that there are people that care about and want to be around them is an outside source of reassurance to keep them afloat.
Without these people they depend on, they can easily sink. Quarantine has made it difficult in certain cases to maintain this circle of positive influences, especially if family or living arrangements are a source of stress rather than relief.
This ability to sink easily without interactions extends past actual people as well. The lack of things to do cuts back one’s ability to distract themselves or keep busy drastically, and this is an important tactic used by many with overactive minds or anxiety to keep themselves going.
Without keeping busy or having a long list of things to do, there is nothing left to do but sit and think. For people with mental illness, thinking is as dangerous as eating a whole chocolate cake when you’re diabetic.
For people with mental illness, thinking is as dangerous as eating a whole chocolate cake when you’re diabetic.
Staying in the same room or house all day with very few opportunities to leave can leave one in a negative headspace where they will just seem to continue to spiral downward, losing their sense of self, or even their motivation.
Social media may lessen this blow, as friends are still able to interact and families may keep in touch. However, the vast amounts of negativity found online and on the news– especially now– paints everything in dreadful, hopeless colors as well.
Those with mental illness are suffering alongside the rest of the world, with their own well beings at stake. In times such as these, when the world seems distant and unable to function, we should be watching out for those we care about, and if they do suffer from mental diseases such as depression or anxiety disorder, we must acknowledge their feelings and reassure them that this is temporary.
Photo by Makinzi Burgs