Mental health during COVID: one student’s journey

Sadie Wyatt

Interestingly enough, right before the pandemic began in March, I was the happiest I have ever been. All of high school I have struggled with depression, anxiety, and OCD. Dealing with it, along with work and the typical struggles of a teenage girl, was not easy. 

However, by junior year, I was happy. I had amazing friends and finally felt comfortable in my own skin. I was at peace with my diagnoses, being able to tame them enough to live a “normal” life. As many can assume, though, everything changed in March.

It began slowly. When the pandemic started, while there was a lot of panic, there was a sort of numbness, too. I Facetimed my friends every night, I did Chloe Ting videos, I made Whipped Coffee. Things seemed like they were going to be okay.

As time went on, though, it got worse. Much worse. I stared at my computer screen all day for school. I saw none of my friends. Every second I wasn’t in class, I layed and stared at the ceiling. Things got worse.

Sometimes the monsters in my mind would nearly paralyze me, gluing my body to my bed and my eyes to my phone until I was numb. The anxiety from the prospect of getting sick combined with the copious amounts of work from school and the extreme loneliness that I felt all the time chipped away at my brain until I couldn’t do anything. It was hard to get out of bed, hard to eat, workout, or leave the house, and the hardest to do schoolwork.  

Climbing out of that hole was one of the most difficult things I have ever had to do. Being trapped at home made everything just feel kind of pointless– work, getting up, bettering myself. 

But slowly, a light began to break through the tunnel of darkness I had been dwelling in for so long. I developed positive habits through words of affirmation and a personal journal, along with the support I received from my caring friends and family. 

I am not going to sit here and pretend everything is ok now. I procrastinate my work more than I ever have in all four years of high school. I spend more time than I like in my bed and on my phone. I still of course cannot see my friends as much as I used to, and even when I do, masked and six feet just doesn’t feel the same as back in February, when we piled on couches to watch movies, shared food we bought at restaurants at 11pm, and slept over at each other’s houses every weekend. 

I discovered that it is all about finding those resources for myself. Setting schedules and making to-do lists to keep myself on track, making sure I facetime my friends at least 3 times a week, getting out of my house every day. These are all little, but they help. 

A journey with mental health is not a straight line. Sometimes I have been okay in quarantine, and other times I have been, well, not ok. To anyone reading this who has felt the same things recently– it will get better. A light will break through your tunnel. Find your resources, find the people that support you, reach out to a professional if you need it. While this pandemic has brought so much loneliness and stress, you are much stronger. And you will get through it like I have too.

Suicide Hotline- 1-800-273-8255      Panic Attack/Anxiety hotline:  1-866-298-0489