When I first heard about coronavirus, I felt the way many of us felt, that it was sad what was happening but felt too far away to feel real to us or to see that it was a big deal. The classic, “this won’t affect me” mindset.
Growing up, I always thought mental health problems was someone else’s problem. I never thought a struggle with mental health would affect me.
Both times, I was wrong. It’s often not until we are facing the thing we once thought wouldnt affect us, that we realize the validity of it.
Right now with coronavirus, so many of us are struggling with something. People are losing out on experiences, losing jobs and faced with all of a sudden being a full-time stay at home parent. People are experiencing loss of connection from not having friends and family close, loss of joy, loss of meaning, and feelings of uncertainty. I have seen more people band together in support for others, than I have before in my lifetime. I hope this situation teaches us that we all struggle. I hope this situation shows us that mental health is something we all have, and a topic that needs to be talked about.
Right now, people are seeing how much this situation is impacting people and causing mental health issues. Right now, people are being faced with feelings of anxiety and depression, that they never thought would affect them. Right now, many of us are coming face to face with mental health problems, and I hope because we are all feeling some sort of pain, confusion, sadness or loss, that we can be more kind to others and their struggles when this is all over.
I hope that when someone says they need time away from their sport, their school, or their club, that we don’t judge them. I hope we can look back at this moment where an entire world felt much of the same feelings at the same time, and remember that it’s okay to not be okay, and it’s also okay for others to not be okay. I hope when someone tells us they are having a tough time, that we no longer tell them to suck it up, but that we can listen to them with a compassionate ear. I hope that when we see someone upset, we don’t look the other way and pretend we didn’t see, but that we instead offer support.
I hope you realize from this that you are not alone. There is a community around you that feels the same things you do. I hope you remember that even when it feels lonely or confusing, that even if someone else isn’t as hurt from the same scenario that you feel hurt from, that your feelings are still valid. I hope you remember that it’s okay if you are still struggling, even if friends and family are doing better.
I hope we remember to take this journey day by day. That is what I am trying to do. Some days, I can still find joy and motivation. Other days, like today, I have burst into tears a few times and feel disconnected from the world. Both places are okay to be. I cherish both of those places, and allow myself to grow from them. That’s what self-love is all about, being patient with yourself, being okay with having bad days, and being more than okay to ask for help.
I am hopeful, that once we come out of this, we will support each other on a whole new level. We will know that struggling with your mental health is nothing to be ashamed about. That gives me hope.
Keep holding on. Keep fighting. You are not alone. Remember, you can ask for help to help you through this. There is no better time than the present to start.