I had been depressed throughout my teen years but then like 2 years ago I found my drive, I started volunteering a lot and I joined many organizations and just, did stuff with my life that meant something to the world and other people, u know, kinda like found my purpose, and now all of those things just dont seem to matter during corona cause i cant do like 80% of them and people around me just dont get that im depressed again? like - they see me drawing (a big hobby of mine) 24/7 (i don't even eat or sleep enough lol) cause i do love it but mostly its a distraction, i cant bring myself to do the 20% of things i can still do because i just stopped seeing the point and people around me just try to convince me im actually happy because im drawing? like yeah drawing is great but not when you have to do it 24/7 to avoid all your uni and other work because you dont see the point in it anymore. I know people have it worse and i should just adjust somehow but i cant? idk like, I'm so angry with myself because i just cant change the things that are important to me and i lost everything that was important to me (that actually got me out of depression last time). and im really frustrated and disappointed in myself (and i dont know how to admit this to people) because i seem to just.. not be able to adjust like everyone else around me did. like -i dont understand how people arent just... having mental breakdows every day during this time???
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I can promise you that you are not alone here at all. Quarantine has done a number on a lot of people’s mental states; people who have struggled with depression or anxiety in the past are struggling again, and even people who have never before are now. A lot of people said that 2020 was going to be their year, but that did not happen for them. Let’s face it, navigating a quarantine isn’t easy regardless of the time period.
If it makes you feel any better, I was struggling last year, too. In a society where one’s worth as a person is measured by one’s productivity, it’s hard to stop working, producing, or just doing things. I feel like the world was long overdue for a break in the rat race, but this brought everything to a screeching halt. That is what made it hard for a lot of folks to adjust. While it seems like everyone around you is creating things, starting their own businesses, tackling those home improvement projects, or long-neglected chores, it feels like even though everyone is supposedly stopped, they’re all still going and leaving you behind. The truth is, you’re not behind anyone; sometimes, all you can do is hold on and keep going.
I have some articles about how to gauge and protect your mental health during lockdowns:
Some of these also talk about ways to get mental health help safely. I highly recommend it because it’ll be nice to talk to a neutral third party who won’t keep invalidating your feelings. Your friends need to recognize that depression doesn’t just look like someone sitting in the corner of a room crying all the time; many times, it looks like numbness, fatigue, or irritability. Their comments aren’t helping you here because it looks like they genuinely are unaware of your current state. Do you feel like you can open up to them and rely on them? If not, then that’s another point in the ‘seek therapy’ column. This is because being around people who don’t understand you and don’t put in effort to do so can be exhausting and unhelpful for you.
Please know that you aren’t a failure or weakling or anything; so many people in the world are struggling one way or another. At first, the virus was very new and scary. Then, people started acting out, which scared people more. Now, I think a lot of people are just worn out from feeling so frightened and worried. Did you notice that folks who struggle with forms of anxiety or depression seem so tired all the time? It’s because they’re always fighting against their brains, so they’re drained from that. I think that may be what’s happening to you, too. You’re struggling with depression, so everything feels harder than normal. Thus, you’re fighting against your brain being a jerk to you. It’s easy to beat yourself up and think that this is all your fault and that everyone else is doing fine except for you, but the truth is that A LOT of people are struggling.
Didn’t you notice the memes and posts from people around the beginning of the lockdowns that said they felt oddly calm about everything? Some people who have been dealing with depression, anxiety, or other forms of mental illness realized that they had some really helpful coping mechanisms already in place. Others realized that their stress levels were already fairly high, so this wasn’t ratcheting them up further. For those who weren’t panicking, it became harder to avoid it when people got selfish and started panic-hoarding instead of just buying a little extra every week. So sometimes, it’s not the events themselves that are stressful; it’s other people’s reactions to it that are.
Living with depression, or any mental illness, is kicking the difficulty up on even the most mundane of tasks. What’s most important to remember here is that recovery is not linear and that progress is the goal, not perfection. Every single day that you get out of bed and do something- whether that’s drawing, showering, or eating- is a success. Take all those little successes and celebrate them because smaller successes beget bigger ones. You got yourself out of this hole once, and you can do it again- one day at a time.