Almost 2 weeks ago, I tested positive for Covid19.
The emotions that overtook me went from utter shock, to anger, to sadness, and a lot more mixed in-between.
How could I have gotten this? I wear my mask everywhere, I don’t go out to eat, I don’t go to social gatherings at someone’s home, I don’t do anything. How could I have gotten it?
That’s unfortunately something I will never know the answer to, but what really concerned me was my mental health.
The Reality of Isolation
As someone who has been battling depression and anxiety since I was 10, knowing that I was going to need to isolate by myself was daunting. Knowing I would have to spend a minimum of the next 10 days by myself, in my room, was terrifying. And it had nothing to do with the fact that I had a virus that has caused a pandemic and thousands of lives have been lost.
It was terrifying. Although I am a full-blown introvert, and only really open up when I get to know someone. Still, the idea of sitting by myself really messed with me mentally. I wouldn’t be able to run my own errands or get my own medicine. I couldn’t see my parents (which was already limited) or my nieces who mean the world to me. And I couldn’t LEAVE MY HOME. Just the SOUND of that would send a chill through anyone. Knowing I would have to be alone for so long made me think I had nothing to live for. When someone is already in a poor mental state, doubting if they should be on this Earth, being stuck by themselves could drive that point home.
Isolation and Mental Health
COVID19 isolation hit my mental health hard. My depression increased. At my virtual appointment with my doctor, he looked at me and stated quite plainly, “You look . . . droopy.” If that wasn’t the most SPOT ON description of how I felt, I don’t know what would be. Instead of just waiting to “see if I got better,” he prescribed Prozac. He also scheduled a follow-up in 3 weeks.
I’m not saying everyone’s mental health will be effected the same way mine was; maybe if you’ve had COVID, you won’t feel any difference in your mental health at all. And if that is you, then great! I’m happy for you for that. However, don’t discount someone who is experiencing a mental health struggle from having COVID. It’s not talked about in the media that COVID is effecting someone’s mental state, when truly it should be talked about just as much as the virus itself.
How to Help Someone Who Must Isolate
If you know someone who has COVID, even if they haven’t tested positive but are experiencing symptoms, reach out to them. I truly found out who my truest friends were during my isolation, because of the phone calls I received every day, the text messages I received every morning when I woke up with encouraging words and heartfelt acknowledgment, and the amount of care I felt. Now I know who is standing beside me every step of the way, always there to encourage me during my loneliest moments.
COVID is a terrifying time, and everyone is experiencing different symptoms and outcomes. I lost my sense of smell and taste (my smell is back with a big THANK YOU to Flonase, my taste not so much), and it absolutely sucks not being able to taste my foods. What’s beyond weird is I can tell if something is sweet, sour, or has a spice, but I can’t taste the actual food/drink that it’s attached to. It’s weird and doesn’t make sense, but according to my Dr., it’s normal.
Check on Your Friends
I luckily survived COVID. Yes, survived. The symptoms could have been worse, since I have some immune issues, but luckily they weren’t. I consider myself lucky. It’s not lost on me that thousands of lives have been lost because of this virus.
My main point is: check on your friends, acquaintances, family members, and co-workers. COVID19 isolation could hit their mental health hard too. Let them know that what they’re feeling while battling a virus is right, and that they aren’t wrong for being scared or emotional. Their mental health is being affected, and they deserve to know you have their back and are on their side.