I had plans for 2020. I am sure there is not one person that was not affected in the mental illness community that was not affected by COVID-19. One of my major plans was to lower Seroquel to a more manageable level that I feel less like a zombie in the morning, then the novel coronavirus hit, and I was using Zoom to meet my psychiatrist.
One of the fears is that not seeing me in person means that the trust that I spent over a year building that was crushed by the coronavirus. It is not that the trust was not there, but instead, you never know as a medical professional how isolating like I was advised to do would affect me in different ways. I understood this, but I was also frustrated. There is no doubt I had to learn patience (this came in life coaching.)
The idea of waiting is new to me, but not all is bad. After months of back and forth and resisting the urge to make changes on my own, I decided to broach the subject again, and the result was more to my liking. It was an incremental change from 400mg to 300mg, but it has made a difference. I still sleep, but I am waking up at a better time while still being rested. It is important to note that having my CPAP machine helps me get to sleep quicker, and that is important to note as to why the case I made was valid over time.
There is always this point that I need to make: medication changes should always go through your psychiatrist or medical professional. They are the ones that got you on these medications, and they are the professionals. I can’t stress that enough. Change is good but in the right way. The next step is the continual work on my social anxiety and panic attacks, which have been better if I am honest. That has been in the changes that have happened to my approach to stay in the moments of now. The tools I learned in life coaching have helped me create space with my own physics. Thank you as always for reading.
My Life Coach can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you feel suicidal, Kim specializes in helping those who are like me; I recently had my own brush with suicide again in October, and Kim was a pivotal part of why I am still here with her life coaching alongside her ASIST training.
A COVID-19 world, where shelter in place orders and social isolation is the new normal, there is still one sure thing. You have to eat food, and therefore you have to go shopping. Yesterday, after about four weeks of isolating and not leaving my house, I went on an adventure! If only it were so simple.
Anxiety in the Worst of Times
I have probably talked ad nauseam about my anxiety of just staying indoors. The fear of the unknown. Of what tomorrow brings and if being an introvert is enough to get me through this social isolation. I was never a social butterfly, but I did leave my house. Writing in coffee shops have a certain ambiance that is so helpful when writing. The fantastic coffee helps as well. An introvert usually can be in a social situation without participation, but now we live in a world where social distancing and isolation are encouraged. Rightfully so, but I miss being in the world.
A trip to the store should be one that is relaxing—getting food so that you can live. Not so much when my anxiety is out of control at this point in my life. I had to go out, and it was a solo trip because they advise it as the best way to limit the people. It was a sight I was not ready for at all. The entrance to the grocery store was fixated to restrict the people. There were lines set up by shopping carts and yellow tape that police carry herding people into the store. A security guard stands at the front making sure people have masks on. There were lines in which you have to follow to make the flow in the store better and efficient. It was out of an Orwell novel, but it is our new reality.
Every five minutes or so over the PA, they remind us that social distancing is encouraged and to only grab the items that you wish to buy. The process is slow as you wait for people to leave an aisle so that you can go down and pick your items. When you hear someone cough or sneeze (which I did because of my allergies), you get looked at like a social pariah.
I was overly anxious before even stepping in the door, and it was worse when I got in. I had to move fast, which is impossible now. It did not help that breathing in a mask is uncomfortable, but with glasses, you have to contend with the constant fogging when you breathe too hard. I almost passed out from the anxiety twice. Somehow I prevailed and got my supplies for the next four weeks. It was perhaps the worst experience so far since COVID-19 took over the world.
After putting away my groceries, I took the rest of the day off to recover. My anxiety was still through the roof until I finally laid my head down for the night. I feel better today, having put the experience behind me, but I know it is a matter of time when I will once again have to shop for food. Perhaps I can try the online shopping and pick up option and see if that helps. Who knows. I will put it far from my mind because it is a problem for another day. Stay strong in the fight.
There is so much information out there about COVID-19, and there is essentially national and local information that we need in this ever-changing world we are now living in. Is it possible, though, that we can be too caught up in the death tolls here in the United States and around the world that it is causing a global issue of anxiety? I have to say the answer is a resounding yes, and here is why.
I always come from a position of experience. I found myself lost yesterday on my iPad, looking up statistics, information, symptoms, and personal stories of the “novel” coronavirus. Yes, for some reason, all the articles seem to call it a novel virus. I will admit that it is probably to get me to read the article. Good Job there if I am honest. Or instead, for more honesty, I logged onto Facebook after promising myself that I wouldn’t and saw story after story about COVID-19.
I was inundated. I found with each article, whether accurate information or not, that my anxiety was growing with every second. I know better than to allow these stories to take over my life, and there are plenty of other things that I could spend my time on. I am editing my novella today to attempt to get it ready to publish. With my recent stomach issues, interestingly directly enough connected to the increase in stress in my life, I was in bed and could not help myself.
My point is this, we are masters of our own world. I made the decision to keep reading. If you have to do what I did and absorb all the information that you can, perhaps do not do it on social media. Look for the positives as well. There are plenty of people that have recovered, bout that is less sexy than the worldwide growing death toll.
I know that with every new day, we learn new things about the coronavirus. I understand that the people in charge have not been doing all that they can to combat the virus. There is uncertainty in the world. I also know that pushing yourself too much into anxiety can be very hard on your body. In 2017, I ended up with bleeding ulcers directly connected to the mounting stress in my life. I had several panic attacks a day, and it took its toll quickly on my body, hospitalizing me for a week.
Stressing yourself out will only end badly. There was some positive to yesterday’s excursion into the social media world. I saw some fantastic food that people are cooking. For me, I will be focused on school and writing for the rest of the week, staying away from the temptation to continue to stress myself out. Stay safe out there in this crazy world of isolation.
If you need something to read, my memoir, The Bipolar Writer: A Memoir, is now available for purchase, or it is free if you have Amazon Kindle Unlimited; it is free. If you can, please purchase my book to learn about my experiences since my diagnosis. You can find the link below on my author’s page.
I wanted to open today’s blog post with an apology. I had this grandiose idea of hosting a Zoom mental health party, but my anxiety and depression took a significant hit this weekend. I was lucky not to end up in the hospital, but with everything going on and hospitals overwhelmed, it would serve no purpose. I will reach out to my psychiatrist and let her know where things are in my life.
I have written recently and in the past to say that “it is okay to not be okay.” I am living this idea, and it has been my mantra as I work towards getting my anxiety and depression to a reasonable level this week. It rained heavily here this weekend into today, so going beyond my back porch is impossible. Getting caught in the rain would surely not help. The last thing I want is to be sick.
What sucks about this whole COVID-19 situation is you can’t get away from it no matter what you do. It is essential to stay on top of things. Educating yourself in a crisis is paramount in getting the right information. The coronavirus is an ever-changing dailt thing. At the same time, it can reak havoc on our mental health. You are not alone, it is a novel idea and one I believe in, but many of us are actually living isolation alone.
Many people over the last week have been reaching out in hopes of connecting with anyone. I feel your pain and never be afraid to reach out to me when your mental health is hitting all-time lows. I am a seasoned vet when it comes to this life, and no matter what, I find ways of getting through my day. Writing has been my go-to over the last month. It is my way of reaching out to the world for a human connection.
You are not alone. There are so many of us right now struggling to get through. It can be easy to want to end it all. I know in better times that what we are living in, I have felt the dark abyss of depression. The worst type of darkness that can lead to suicide. What prompted me to write this post came from a story I read where someone with mental illness felt the pressure of COVID-19 and took his life. Fear right now is higher than ever, and so many people are at risk. You are not alone. Please fight!
I want to leave you with a song that has always helped me through troubled times.
They say do not panic. Try telling that to someone who lives daily with anxiety and panic disorder.
My biggest issue over the past weeks has been depression. There is no getting around the fact that when things get severe depression usually hits me.
I suffer, among other things, with seasonal affective disorder. April is generally a transitional month before my life picks back up. We are living in unusual times, and that means learning new things. Right now, anxiety is deciding that it’s going to fight for its own place in my life.
2019 was great for me as a human being from about May to November. I wrote the novel that I have been working on for years, and generally, my life was great. I had no real complaints. I was beginning to find my place and leaving my house more and more. Then the unimaginable hit me, I lost my mom, and with that loss, I lost myself. Depression was my friend for most of January and February, but I was getting out in the world.
March was supposed to be great, but as we all know, life changed. We had social distance ourselves more and more. Now it is getting even more restrictive to leave your house as things are not going so well out there in the world. My anxiety, already on its edge, has shot up over the last week. I have been dealing with intense panic attacks and anxiety that seems to have no end. I have been here before, oh so many times.
I can admit the fear comes from the possibility of catching the coronavirus. It compounds my anxiety when I have to inevitably leave the comfort of my home. Sure, you can go weeks at a time without leaving, but eventually, you will need something essential and have to go out. You can wash your hands, carry hand sanitizer, and be as careful as you can, and it is no for sure thing you will not catch COVID-19.
Then there is the fear of if you can get things delivered. My medication was due this week, and my pharmacy is asking that we do only deliveries. There is real anxiety that, through no fault of their own other than the fact that they essential. That someone down the line had to deal with them that are infected with the virus. Even though I had no direct connection to the delivery driver, he or she has to be interacting with people. There is no guarantee they could not carry the virus. Perhaps if there is more testing it would be different, and maybe it would elevate some of my anxiety.
Fear can be a dangerous thing for our mental health, and if there was a good chance that the government actually cared, it would be different. I have never been much for giving into the types of fears. Things such as the coronavirus, it feels different. Like it is an inevitable thing that you can catch because, from some of what people that are working on the front lines, 1 in 3 people are carriers.
I wondered today, am I being irrational? I would like to hear from you.
As always, one last thing. If you have to go out into the world, make a plan, and limit yourself to exposure. Get items delivered if at all possible and make sure that you sat thank you to those who have to work in this crisis. If you see a nurse, paramedic, grocery store worker, delivery drivers, or anyone who still has to brave the world because they are essential, be kind. These people are the real heroes of this pandemic. Always stay safe.
There has been something weighing heavy on my mind lately. We are living in a different world than we were at the start of 2020. People are inside more than ever, and every day our lives are changing because of the coronavirus.
Yet, I have seen so much compassion for those on the front lines. People are reaching out to those that are losing members of their families. For those who are the unfortunate ones that have gotten the virus. I am amazed by the outpour of support of one of my contributors of this blog, you can read about her story here. I see it on social media. I see it everywhere. I make it a point to thank those people who still have to go out in the world where they are at risk every day.
Yet, we are not always compassionate when life is good. We forgot in these times that there is still real hate out there, and it affects our society as a whole. Look at the Asian Americans that are being attacked simply for being Asian. The coronavirus knows no race, color, religion, or sexual orientation. Is it not possible that we, as a whole society, can be these empathetic to everyone we come across? Not just when we are in a pandemic. A wise person told me recently that we are more alike than different.
When this is all over, let’s be better people. Let us put people in power that want to help the people without a voice because they are the disfranchised. I hate getting political here, but we have seen how politics are being chosen over helping people. Let us remember how, since people have been sheltering in place that the environment has been helped and improved in a short time. Let’s have compassion for people dealing with anything that is taking over their lives. We can be better people, we have been doing it for a month now.
I am by no means not part of the problem. How many times have I not said thank you for someone doing their job? I know that sometimes I feel disconnect because I am an introvert, but now more than ever, I crave connection to others. I want mental illness to be recognized by all as a real thing that we have to solve. There are so many problems in the world that we need more compassion and empathy. We are the human race, and we need to do better, not just during a pandemic.
One last thing. If you have to go out into the world, make a plan, and limit yourself to exposure. Get items delivered if at all possible and make sure that you sat thank you to those who have to work in this crisis. If you see a nurse, paramedic, grocery store worker, delivery drivers, or anyone who still has to brave the world because they are essential, be kind. These people are the real heroes of this pandemic. Always stay safe.
I was asked recently about my feelings about something that each of us has faced in this mental illness life…
Is it okay to not be okay?
The answer is easy. Yes. There is nothing wrong with not being okay. This question is especially important to me as we continue to isolate because of COVID-19. I had to admit to myself first that currently, I am not okay. My depression has been peaking for the past few weeks. I am dealing with it like always with writing and one other way.
Love Yourself First
I always have to tell myself that, even though I am not okay, it is okay. The second thing–love yourself first.
Loving yourself first is where the healing really begins for us. We have to love yourself before that we can start the healing. If you’re like me, you forget when you are lost in depression that things always get better. This life is all about the ebb and flow of symptoms. How you deal with symptoms in the present, can mean how long your depression or anxiety affects you.
I always like telling this story because it is so vital to a blog post like this one. At the beginning of my diagnosis, I didn’t believe that there was something wrong with me. For years I fought to distance myself feeling that if I gave into being Bipolar something was wrong with me.
I lost three years of my life to this belief. I barely left my house. I became a shut-in. I could count on one hand the times I did something outside my home. Life started to pass me by. It took me years to get my life back.
It is okay to not be okay. The stigma that surrounds mental illness makes us believe that if we have a mental illness, we are outside of the normal. I believe that all of us in the mental illness community are the strongest people on the planet. Even in these unpresidented times we have to stay strong in the fight.
Okay, so I wasn’t going to write anything about the pandemic. However, I’m in the middle of a very personal experience with COVID-19. I knew I’d be a little bit paranoid about this virus – especially because I work with the public. I never imagined my fear would actually come true. I haven’t gotten my test results yet, but I want to share our story thus far.
On Monday, March 16th, my 7-year-old daughter developed a cough. At first, I assumed it was her asthma cough since she was running around outside. However, the cough had gotten more persistent and deep by Tuesday. Tuesday night, at 11:30 pm, she spiked a fever of 104.2. We made a Dr. appointment the next day. I wanted her to be tested because, it turns out, we’ve been exposed to the virus via 3 positive cases at my brother’s work. He also just flew to NYC a few weeks ago and was in 3 different airports (Pittsburgh, NYC, and Dallas). The Dr. refused to test her and I had to force her to at least test for the flu.
When I left the Dr.’s office, I called the department of health to see if we could get tested without the Dr.’s referral. They put me on a mandatory 14 day quarantine and said I needed to go get her tested. I called a testing site in Pittsburgh, who told me they wouldn’t test her because her fever had broke. Fine. We’ll just finish the quarantine. But, by Thursday night, she was taking 40 breaths a minute, which is twice the norm. Her pulse was 107, which is 20 beats per minute faster than norm. And her cough was even worse.
We went to the emergency room at UPMC Northwest at 2 am on Friday, March 20th. The triage nurse didn’t warn the hospital that a possible COVID-19 case was coming in, so they sat us in the waiting room where we put our germs on the chairs. They had me use the check-in kiosk, so that my germs were on the screen. They had me sign a paper with a pen that all other patients use. They took us to a room that wasn’t set up for the virus. They weren’t wearing proper PPE. However, they did take good care of my daughter. Turns out, she developed pneumonia from whatever virus she has. The hospital wouldn’t test her. They sent us home with a note saying that the Wolfe Center would contact us about a test.
I waited a week for a call, and it never came. I waited so long because I’d already been told by a testing site that they won’t test unless all of the symptoms are present at that time. Well, I started to cough on that Friday (March 20th) we went to the hospital. And, a week later, it hadn’t gotten better. I was short of breath and I was wheezing. But I didn’t have a fever, so I didn’t try to get tested.
By Sunday, March 29th, I decided that I wanted to try one more time to get tested. I decided to call Meadville Medical Center. They decided to test me because of the exposure I had, the symptoms I had, and the symptoms my daughter had. Even though I didn’t have a fever. That’s exactly what should have been done to begin with. Not everyone shows the same symptoms. Turns out, I did have a fever when I went to the testing site, and my pulse was 125. My lungs sounded “junky”. They stuck the test swab so far in my nose it felt like they were scraping my brain. It is terrible. The results will be in sometime in the next 72 hours – 2 weeks, depending how backed up the lab facilities are.
Throughout these 14 days, I’ve been on a roller coaster of emotions. Not only do I have to deal with the fact that I have no income right now, but I don’t know when I’m returning to work, and I still don’t know if I have the virus. I had to deal with the panic of watching my daughter struggle to breathe and hear her coughing 24/7 and have her temperature be 104.2 for 24 hours. It was terrifying and I live alone and am quarantined, so I went through all of it by myself. I started having trouble sleeping. I lost my appetite. All while being sick with whatever I have. It’s been tough. Let’s not forget, I’m bipolar, and this is definitely a stresser. I have been on top of my mental symptoms and went back on my anxiety and sleeping meds for the time being.
I’m here to say that, maybe we shouldn’t be panicking about the pandemic, but we most certainly should be taking it seriously. If this is what I have, it is no joke. People who have any kind of respiratory issues (we have asthma) are at a higher risk, and it’s no fun watching someone you love struggle to breathe. Even if you will be fine if you catch this virus, your vulnerable family member or friend may not be. Please take this seriously, stay home, and fight for your right to get tested if you have reason to believe you have symptoms or exposure.
This type of post is not my usual thing, but I asked a nurse friend of mine to write a post about COVID-19 or coronavirus to give a perspective from the front line. Her name is Katrina San Juan RN, MSN, CSRN, PCCN, CCRN. Katrina is an expert in her field, and I trust her work. Please read it carefully so that you can get an idea of what we are up against! I truth the author of this post, but at the same time it is important to continue to educate yourself.
“Grab a Corona, Lets Talk about COVID-19”
Corona virus strains (and yes, there are numerous strains of them other than our now famous Wuhan Strain) are a group of viruses which, prior to 2003, was thought to normally cause similar symptoms to the flu, ranging from a cough, sore throat, fever and runny nose. Four specific strains have become notorious for the cause of the common cold in humans.
Corona viruses were first isolated and studied over 50 years ago, with one of the first reports in 1949, but it was not given its Latin royal name until the virus was observed under an electron microscope where its morphology resembled a “crown-like” appearance. They infect numerous species, responsible for a sweeping avian bronchitis and were the cause of an endemic gastrointestinal infection to swine’s, causing a largescale death of baby pigs in the 1970s-1980s.
In November of 2002, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, commonly known as SARS, fueled the emergence of an epidemic virus in China, causing an estimated infection of 8100 between November to July of 2003. It killed an estimated 800 people, having spread globally to Europe, North and South America and Asia.
This write up would also hardly be accurate without mentioning Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) which was first reported in Saudi Arabia in 2012, likely originating from an animal source (they were thinking via camel) totaling 2519 infections and 866 deaths; two of which were confirmed cases in the United States.
Fast forward 17 years later from the severity of SARS -a brand new respiratory infection has emerged, as the entire world now faces the pandemic results of the Corona Virus Wuhan Strain, AKA COVID-19. It is a new strain of corona virus which was not previously observed in humans, its origins thought to come from wild animal consumption of bats and possibly pangolins (armadillo-like mammals). It was first reported in November of 2019 as doctors in Wuhan discovered a pneumonia-causing viral infection which was not responding to treatment.
Not Feeling Well?
It has now been about 4 months since the outbreak of COVID-19 in Wuhan, and now that China has finally entered a phase of decreased new cases, life is finally beginning to return to semi-normal life for its people. Needless to say, Chinese scientists have accrued vital new information. Though it may take quite a while to fully comprehend the entirety of COVID-19.
Let’s start with the basics: symptoms. Data published from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention show that 80% of people experienced mild symptoms (about 1 in 5 people), which appear anywhere from 2 to 14 days and range from (or combination of) fever, fatigue, sore throat, dry cough, body aches, runny nose, and in small cases, diarrhea. In severe symptoms, patients exhibited dyspnea, or difficulty breathing, chest pain, altered mental status and cynanosis (bluish discoloration of the skin due to diminished oxygenation). Thus, these patients require careful monitoring in an Intensive Care Unit, many of which will be intubated, their life supported by an artificial ventilation tube. These are known as severe cases, resulting in about 14% of COVID-19 occurrences and about 5% being critical cases.
Who Is Most Effected?
Chinese researchers have now found that both men and women carried an equal chance of contracting the virus, but the impact on men were much higher. Men had an estimated 64% chance of facing fatality to the virus, versus 36% of women, thus concluding that men were effected much worse. The same research found that 90% of pediatric patients were asymptomatic, with one case of a 14-year old boy dying and 6% were severe/critical cases. It is unknown why children were not as ill as adults.
However, as I mentioned earlier and repeat again, the virus has no regards to borders or age limit. As more and more cases in the United States are coming into light, the Centers for Disease Control has reported that about 20% of 508 patients that were admitted for COVID-19 symptoms and requiring hospitalization were within the age of 20 to 45 years. From a count of about 121 patients transferred into the intensive care unit, 12% were also within that age group.
This graph shows severe cases and ICU admissions from US cases reported between February 12 to March 16, illustrating that no age group is immune from the virus.
This Does Not Sound Desirous…What Can I Do Against the Virus?
Case trials are underway to help develop a vaccine, but this could take months, possibly even years. Therefore, the best fight against COVID-19 is preventing exposure to the virus. Most up to date studies as of March 23rd show that the virus can linger in the air for up to 3 hours, remain on copper surfaces for 4 hours, cardboard up to 24 hours, and plastic and stainless steel for 72 hours. Be mindful of cleansing metallic surfaces carefully as Chinese studies have found COVID-19 can remain viable on these surfaces for up to 9 days. So be vigilant about toughing handrails and door handles. Cleanse these regularly in your household with a disinfectant. Please visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/prevention.html for an extensive list and guidelines for disinfection.
Most important points to consider…WASH YOUR HANDS. And often. With good’ ol” soap and water for at least 20 seconds, exercising friction between the soles of your fingers and thumbs. If soap and water are not currently available, utilize a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% of alcohol, again rubbing this in carefully between your fingertips until the surface of your hands are dry.
DO NOT touch your face with unwashed hands, and cover or blow your cough or sneeze. Keep away from those that are sick or appear sick, and stay home if you are sick. COVID-19 is spreading in all communities. Studies have also shown that the virus can actually travel up to 15 feet, however it is being encouraged to remain at least 6 feet apart during the current “social distancing” phase with those that are not of your household. Remain up to date with expert advice, travel bans and restrictions and your state’s/country’s current activity restrictions. One of the best ways of prevention is practicing prevention outside of the household. These precautions are to protect us ALL.
If you are sick, wear a facemask or if you are taking care of those that are sick. If you are not sick, please consider those who truly do require these, such as your health care providers. There is a worldwide shortage on facemasks, please consider use of these rationally.
Once Someone Is Infected with COVID-19, Can They Get It Again?
Unfortunately, it is too soon to know whether people who have recovered from COVID-19 will become immune to reinfection. Scientists are aware from experience that reinfection is a concern in regards to the common coronaviruses seen during the winter seasons, causing illness time and time again despite a person having been exposed to the same viral strain since childhood. And despite the body’s production of immunity the antibodies eventually decline allowing vulnerability once again.
Patients infected with SARS were studied and found to have developed antibodies and these were still detected in blood samples despite having been infected way back in 2002-2003. However, the SARS epidemic was resolved within 8 months so further studies of reinfection are thankfully limited. As far as MERS, there were 2500 cases within an 8 year time span, so the case of reinfection also remains unknown. Although immunity was found for up to two years after initial infection.
Spring Is Around the Corner…Will COVID-19 Go Back To Its Corner?
It’s another question that has yet to have a definite answer. All scientists can gather is the same information they have collected from previous virus strains. Take the influenza strains for example. Its peak is in the winter, induced by the decrease in humidity levels not actual temperature. There are suggestions that perhaps COVID-19 may have temperature or humidity sensitivities, limiting its spread in warmer and much more humid climates. Take for example Singapore, Taiwan and Vietnam. There are certainly cases of COVID-19 but the spread has not gone out of control, but also keep in mind they were very much proactive in successfully containing the virus. But many tropical countries may not have as adequate access to testing kits so the reporting is inaccurate. But keep in mind, during the winter people tend to stay indoors, causing potential spread to be less detrimental. There is a current study being completed by physicists at the University of Utah who have received a grant to study the outershell of the virus and its responses to heat and humidity.
We hope for answers soon. Just as we hope for a resolution to this pandemic to end very soon.
In our new reality of “stay at home” and “shelter in place,” many people are doing something they never thought they would do in their lifetime–isolate yourself from society.
Isolation comes with who I am as an introvert, and I feel I have been training for this for my entire life. I wondered how to go about writing this post. Isolation from society, especially since in most areas it is cold, there is an importance of knowing what to do in these situations. As with everything on this blog, these are my own things that have helped me and are nearly suggestions in these troubled times.
Isolation can be dangerous and so it is important to recognize certain signs that can lead to depression and even anxiety.
One of the most important things is to get sunlight. Just because you are asked to stay inside, don’t be afraid to go outside and enjoy a little bit of sun. I have found that one of the most essential things when isolating is to get plenty of sunshine, the lack of sun can lead to depression or even anxiety.
Staying in Touch. I have heard stories of people getting online and having group discussions. There are plenty of sites out there that you can gather socially online. Just because we can’t gather with more than six people at a time in person, we are living in the most technologically advanced time. Reach out, especially to those that might be alone. Grandparents are a big group that may have no one. A phone call and an hour of your time could save someone from feeling total isolation.
Total Isolation is dangerous. If you live alone, no matter what age, this type of isolation can be dangerous. One of the things to avoid, no matter the situation, is to not stay in bed for too long. Yes, it is a comfortable place to work or go to school from home, but beds should be for sleeping. One of the things I learned over my experience of almost 13 years living the mental illness is to separate yourself from your bed when isolation from society is required. Create a work station or get a place outside of your bed to work and do things. Beds should be for sleeping.
Mental Health Days. I may slightly contradict myself, but another vital thing during these times when anxiety is at an all-time high is to take a mental health day. This could mean curling up with a good book and a blanket on the couch and maybe the bed. Mental health days suggest taking it easy and letting your batteries recharge. Perhaps it is working on a car, doing meditation, or yoga. Maybe its all these things that can be done at home. Take up knitting! Just know that all work and no downtime in isolation can be harmful. Just watch The Shinning–“All Work And No Play Makes Jack A Dull Boy.” Writing is my own form of getting through anything. Also listening to music.
Be kind to those who still have to go out and work. In these times of overbuying everything in sight, it is always important to remember that healthcare workers, ambulance drivers, police officers, firemen, people working in the grocery business, and pharmacies are already overcrowded. Be kind. If you have to be out in the world, be safe. Hand sanitizer is always good to have around. Thank the people if you have to come across them for having to still be out there with the risk of exposure because these people are essential. Be patient, and try to not be rude. I am sure plenty of these people would rather be anywhere but at work.
Right now that is all I have other than reach out if you need someone to talk to in these times. Stay safe. Isolation can be hard time but we can all get through it together.