Coping with COVID: Mental Health Is On the Rise

by | Jul 14, 2020 | COVID19, Eating Disorder Recovery, Mental Health, Self Care | 0 comments

If you haven’t had the chance to watch the Netflix limited series “Coronavirus, Explained” I would highly recommend it. It puts the entirety of the virus, the vaccine, and its impact on the world in a way that the average person can comprehend.

No, you don’t need to be a rocket scientist to understand.

The latest episode is all about coping through the global pandemic and the impact it’s had on people’s mental health.

Depression during quarantine will have lasting effects that go beyond this unprecedented time.

That’s just the truth of it.

Check out these statistics from Hartford HealtchCare:

  • 24% of 42,000 survey respondents reported new and significant signs of major depressive disorder.

  • 30% of those had generalized anxiety disorder.

  • 42% of people ages 18-29 reported having anxiety and 36% now have depression.

  • 34% of people ages 30-39 reported anxiety and 28% reported depression.

The pandemic is hitting younger people harder than it is older people who are more susceptible to it. Probably for many reasons, but mainly because we live in a society where these recent generations thrive on going out to bars, seeing live music, being around friends, going to school, actively pursuing their careers.

Now, people are told to stay home and wait it out until further notice.

We all have to figure out different ways to cope.

So how do we do it? How do we fight the good fight every single day with depression and anxiety on the rise?

  • I’ve seen people start online businesses they have been talking about for years.

  • I’ve witnessed some of the most creative DIY projects that people have prolonged for far too long.

  • More people are giving back with their time, money, and talents.

  • People are caring more about their friends and family as they finally realize the importance of human connection and relationships.

Even myself, I’m writing more than I ever have before. That is how I am coping, and let me tell you that it’s not always easy.

Playing music is a way for me to cope during COVID-19 to help battle my depression.

So Lauren, how do you cope with an eating disorder and depression during COVID-19?

I’m glad you asked, because I think it’s incredibly important to share this.

Let’s take a trip down memory lane to the beginning April…

I was living in a new apartment, freshly discovering an uncharted path I was initially excited for. Yet despite how much “freedom” I thought I was gaining, I still felt like I was trapped. I couldn’t escape the idea that control didn’t exist. I was at a pretty darn low point.

Through a lot of therapy and hard work, I managed to dig myself out with one very important coping mechanism: writing.

Obviously I can’t write every moment of every day. So I found other ways to keep myself motivated by literally focusing on myself by asking the question. “What does Lauren want and need?”

What I wanted, what I needed was to take a step back and look at the creative ways which help me thrive.

I needed to get in touch with my inner wild woman.

So I shared my story. I wrote about it. I made a video about it. I made a plan to actively participate in conversations which I usually steered clear of because you know, that whole vulnerability and confrontation thing I struggled with for so long. That many of us struggle with every single day.

As days progress, I continue to ask myself that same question every single morning:

“What does Lauren want and need today?”

  • Sometimes, I need a day to simply survive with my puppy and binge watching some garbage show.

  • Sometimes, I need to get my body moving and will dance around the living room for hours on end.

  • Sometimes, I need to work on my meal plan and take inventory with myself to say “Hey, how are you treating and feeding your body today?”

  • Sometimes, I want write until my face falls off.

  • Sometimes, I want to clean everything.

  • Sometimes, I want to take photos or make videos to remind myself that life can still be magical regardless of the situation at hand.

  • Sometimes, I need to drive two ours west and hide away in the mountains.

  • Sometimes, I need to play my guitar and sing at the top of my lungs.

  • Sometimes, I need to call my mom and cry because I miss her.

  • Sometimes, I want to pull out a book and sit on my balcony for six hours and read it from start to finish.

  • Sometimes, I want to play the game with myself where I take whatever is left in my cabinets and try to make something that actually tastes good from it. (Seriously, it’s actually kind of fun).

I’m not saying that every day I wake up and crush it. Hell no. There are days when the heavy wave comes in and all I can do is be pissed off at quarantine, hiding under the covers.

But for those that are new to this anxiety, depression, lack of sleep type of thing, I am here to promise you that it is manageable. It won’t just go away on its own. Those little monsters don’t work like that.

You have to find ways to shift the focus on what YOU need for yourself.

And I get it, I’m in a very different situation than others. Some people have children, and jobs, and homes to maintain. Some people don’t have any of those things and are struggling just to make ends meet. That is when I need to put myself in check and, even when the little monsters try to make their way into my ear canal on full blast, I remind myself that this time is a privilege.

Because the reality is, this whole quarantine thing isn’t very new to someone like me who forced themselves into isolation due to previous conditions. I’ve run into the brick wall where I find myself staring off into the distance. You know, that feeling where you aren’t looking at something, but rather through it and the world is a blur. For years, honestly.

It’s like, having these previous mental health conditions, in a weird way, prepared me for life in quarantine like a doomsday prepper.

So give it a try from someone who has been through cycles of isolation throughout a majority of her life.

Ask yourself today, what do you need? What do you want?

Today, what I need and want includes playing with Luna, writing my feelings, working on new music, and taking pictures in the park.

It’s as simple as that.

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Meet the Author

Hey, I’m Lauren Dow. Author, advocate, and feeler of the big feels. I’m here to provide a safe space to normalize the conversation about mental health and reinforce self-love. Thanks for joining me on this wild ride.

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