Holding On: What Mental Illness In Quarantine Looks Like | Jenngem

With May coming up, which is Mental Health Month, I figured I would talk about what life is like firsthand from someone living with multiple mental illnesses living in quarantine. Life has been essentially turned upside down, for the entire world. I don't think that anyone saw this coming whatsoever.

We all had plans, vacations, weddings, all kinds of occasions to attend. Personally, at the beginning of the year, I was pretty excited about soliciting for my son's school's annual tricky tray. That was the first time that I ever came out of my shell, and we received quite a few donations. I absolutely adored doing it, too. Something I had never done before in my life. I came out of my shell, so to speak. Only to be forced right back into it. 

As someone who has been working from home pre-quarantine, you would think that life wouldn't seem all that different to me. But believe me, there are so many things that have become different for me. It really puts things into perspective. For example, after dropping my son off to school in the morning, we would go and get some odds and ends at the grocery store. There were times that I didn't feel like it, or I thought maybe it was a bit of annoyance.

This sh*t is bananas.

But now? I actually find myself missing going to the grocery store. Can you imagine that we'd find ourselves missing doing the most absolutely mundane tasks that we used to do? When all of this is over, I don't think any of us are going to take for granted the little tasks that used to annoy us. 

Let me tell you, though, even being the introvert that I am, I'm certainly not enjoying this. Staying in the house. Just sitting on the porch, doing nothing. When living with a mental illness, one thing, the one trick that I have learned over the years is that the most important thing is DISTRACTION. At least for myself, distraction is the one thing that I need. Whether that means writing articles for my jobs, blogging, or making jewelry, I have to be doing something. 

However, I've found myself not wanting to go near much of anything. Social isolation, even in a house full of people can be well, isolating, for lack of a better word. Day in and day out, we repeat the same things over and over. I stumbled across this article on Facebook. It absolutely broke my heart. I can relate to what this man was feeling, not that I am suicidal, I am not, just to make that a point. But being isolated has taken its toll on my mental health.

I find my OCD absolutely going through the roof lately. I'm deathly afraid of catching this. I'm deathly afraid of losing anyone I love to it. I have bouts where I cry for various reasons, and then there are the days that I am completely sad for no reason at all. As if I cannot point a finger in one direction to tell someone the reason that I am upset. Quarantine has given me time to sit and think, and instead of thinking about good things (and I do try to), I find myself putting myself down. Calling myself ugly - I'm overweight and missing teeth (from medications I've been on), so it is easy for me to look in the mirror and see a worthless nothing.

But I am writing this blog post to you, out there, you reading it, thinking that you're alone. I promise you that you are not. To the moms and dads out there who are simultaneously dealing with mental illness and who are juggling working from home and virtually schooling their children while trying to balance it all - I see you. I feel what you feel. Need someone to talk to? Feel free to reach out to me via my social channels. I'm also posting some resources below. 

We are going to come out on the other side of this thing intact, and we will be all the stronger for it. Just keep looking for that light at the end of the tunnel. It may sound cliche, but I promise you that it is there. We just have to keep holding on. My family keeps me holding on, my son keeps me holding on, my boyfriend keeps me holding on. So, hold on. We'll get through this mess, together.

Special Shout Out
I obviously cannot also say enough about all of the medical professionals doing an amazing job at taking care of those who are ill, and preventing further spread of infection. Putting themselves on the line to keep us safe. Thank you. 
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