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Mental Illness and Quarantine

I am a Freelance writer that works on a lot of blog posts, copy and other unique content. I am also a passionate fantasy writer.


My Experience With This Mess

While I have never really been a social individual, I have enjoyed my occasional trip to the park or the super market. When Covid-19 made its appearance, and quarantines and social distancing came to be, it wasn't that different for me to be honest. I thought to myself, "This isn't any different than how I have lived my entire life!" It was true though. I have spent my life social distancing because I know how I can be when I have a manic episode, or just a bad day. So, keeping my distance was something I could handle well.

However, it wasn't that simple. When it was by choice, keeping my distance wasn't that bad. I would go out once or twice a week with friends, who happen to double as a support group as we all live with a different mental illness, and we would unwind and share stories of our week and plans. That is when it got hard. I can't afford the therapy I most likely need to stay stable. Even with the medication I am on, it is hard to fight off the emotional states my mind throws me into. So, that once or twice a week to speak with like minded individuals helped me more than I thought. Having that taken away was just the beginning.

Now, I tend not to fear or worry about death, even living in a dangerous city like St. Louis. This Covid mess, however, did strike some fear. Maybe my meds began to show signs of Treatment-Resistance, maybe the paranoia that comes along with my anxiety played off the media scares, maybe I am subconsciously scared of this virus because I can't control my demise under sickness. Whatever the reason, in the beginning, I was frightened.

That is when it had become very apparent that this piece of history I was living out would be harder to muster through than I had originally thought. It isn't so much the separation from my normal routine of going to the park to walk, hitting the gas station for a bite to eat, and other tiny things I did to fill my day with positivity, but instead it was the fact I no longer had control. That is one of the biggest issues with people who live with some sort of mental illness, in my opinion, control. We are not able to control our emotional states, actions, impulses, so we compensate by building routines. We take control in one way, shape, or form. Having that stripped from me has sent me into a downward spiral.

The numbers are rising, They show no signs of dying down. That just means my fear, anxiety, and manic states are only going to get worse. My main focus is finding a way to take control again, in hopes that I become stable once more.

The purpose of this piece is to not to complain or play the pity card. Instead, it is to show someone, anyone, everyone, that they are not alone. We live our lives thinking of how we will make it through the day, how we will make it through our issues, but we overlook the fact that we are NOT alone.

So, from here, where do I go? I have begun to throw caution to the wind, and spend time with my supportive friends once or twice a week. Instead of sharing a blunt, passing the bottle, and coping in unhealthy ways, we have found ways to make game nights entertaining while maintaining safe measures in case someone is sick.

I am talking to my primary mental health doctor about my meds, hoping to find something that will level me out. Most importantly, I found online support groups. i have met so many people, so many friends, that share the same issues and concerns as myself. That has opened a mental door to emotional freedom. I was able to be myself in these groups and not feel so alone. I began to help others through their hard times, if only just by listening to their problems and being a friend.

I am no saint, and I don't have full control, but I understand. Maybe that is what this world needs to get through this pandemic, understanding. I know that understanding isn't enough to beat a virus, but it is enough to stop a friend from committing suicide in these tough times. Check on your loved ones, check on strangers. Make sure you are available to those who are willing to be helped. That is all we can do.

Would it be any easier if I wasn't Bipolar? If I didn't have anxiety and wasn't clinically depressed, would I be able to cope better with what is going on? I don't think this is easy for anyone. Knowing that we are all in this together, and we are still fighting with each other, that would make it hard on anyone. I don't like to dwell on what life would be like if I didn't have my mental hurdles. That's like wondering what it would be like to be born a donkey instead of a human.

In conclusion, life is what you make it. When you are living with a mental illness, it can dictate what you make life out to be. There is no toughening up, or walking it off. You can't walk away from your own chemical imbalance. I would also like to state, if you are reading this because someone you love has a mental illness and you want to understand them, then talk to them. Take my words and try to relate. Find some part of your soul that has felt broken, and multiply it. That is how we feel at times. be supportive, love us, and be patient. I know it isn't easy to be around someone who is suicidal, bipolar, schizophrenic, or suffers from some other chemical imbalance that makes functioning 'normally' hard, but just imagine how it is for them. An open mind, and some understanding goes a long way. God Bless.

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