Lack of mental health in 2020 is spooky

John Swanson | Photo Courtesy
Isolation has not been helpful for many individuals’ mental health

Quarantine means finding ways to cope

2020 for many people, myself included, has been a non-stop horror show since January first. From the death of beloved celebrities, to COVID-19 entering the US, to murder hornets—the roller coaster never seems to stop. 

There is one secret scare hiding among us, the growing mental health crisis. One of the most common reasons I hear from people who feel it is important not to shut down is the concern over the increasing rates of depression and suicide. 

The CDC reports that there has been a direct impact on the amount of stress people feel in relation to the Covid. Additionally, self-isolation and social distancing are making people feel lonely. 

For some of us, mental health has always been an ongoing conflict. I was lucky enough to have been diagnosed with GAD, or generalized anxiety disorder, since late 2018, so I know myself well enough to have established some coping mechanisms to help with things like mask anxiety.

For others, the stress of quarantine has worsened some underlying and undiagnosed mental health problems. Those without coping mechanisms are hit the hardest. I love painting landscapes, it brings me back home to Alaska and allows me to reconnect with nature without putting others in danger. I have also churned out some pretty good birthday presents. The most recent of which is a fanart of the popular game Among Us which I gave to a friend for her 18 birthday. 

My favorite quarantine hobby by far is gardening which I so spectacularly failed at. In the spring I tried to grow zucchini and some random assortment of flowers. I made it about a month before the wind stole my egg cartoon full of sprouting zucchini seeds. 

The most important thing to combat the corona blues is to maintain hope. People tend to throw around the term “new normal.” It’s easy to forget we have our best people working on an effective vaccine as quickly as they can. 

So maybe this year Halloween was canceled and is going to be lacking in the trick-or-treating department. That’s okay so long as you know that Covid doesn’t have to be a death sentence. Just because we can’t do something this year doesn’t mean it’s gone forever. We need to have hope for the long term instead of the short term.

The easiest way we can help is to always wear a mask while at work and everywhere that is not your home. It doesn’t hurt your rights any more than being asked to wear pants to the grocery store. Even if it did, it shouldn’t matter because it should be our top priority to take care of others who are unable to wear a mask like soldiers with PTSD who struggle to wear facial coverings.

Yes, mask anxiety sucks and it’s hard not being able to have the freedoms we once did. But it’s the only way to truly stop worsening the mental health crisis and put an end to all the isolation. Following the guidelines means that we are one step closer to getting the people who need help back to the doctor’s office. It also means we will still get Halloween next year.

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