Managing Mental Health in a Pandemic – My Brain’s Not Broken

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I wrote my first post about the coronavirus pandemic back in March. Like most of us, I had a little naivety about the situation (to be fair, what happened in the US isn’t very surprising, but that doesn’t make it any less disappointing). Regardless, my first post on mental health during this pandemic focused on how you define success at this point in time. I hadn’t thought about it in a while, but after hearing recently that a friend felt like she was in a COVID burglary, it clicked. These questions still remained open. What does it mean to be successful during a pandemic? How do we define what it means to be productive? I didn’t know much then, but one thing I still knew then: It is still important to find those moments during a pandemic, especially when it comes to our mental health.

I love being on Twitter, and one of the more interesting tweets I’ve seen on my timeline over the past month is a variation on people saying it’s wild, “how people just decided the pandemic was going to happen is over”. And people really have it. It felt like some people played “quarantine” like you played “house” as a kid and at one point they just decided we were no longer in a pandemic. But we were then and we are now. So how do we keep doing what we need to be happy and healthy? There are a few ways to do this and we can use mental health as a guide.

In the past few years I’ve developed a real sense of ownership over my sanity. While I have the love and support of friends, family members, and mental health professionals, the biggest improvements I saw were when I realized how much I could improve my own mental health. I wouldn’t say it has been sunshine and rainbows since then, but I have more faith in my fight. My journey doesn’t have to look like anyone else’s, and where I end up it is no more or less successful than others because it is relative to my own life. Sometimes it means celebrating a personal breakthrough and sometimes it means literally surviving the day. And I’ve done my best to maintain that stance in 2020.

It’s understandable to get caught in a COVID slump at this point. Some days it feels like we’re just on hold, waiting to get the signal that we’ve done the job to get back to normal life (I would argue here that life isn’t too should return to what is “normal”). is, but that’s a post for another day). But I don’t know when that day will come and I won’t live thinking that everything has to be terrible until it happens.

Mental health isn’t always linear, and to be honest, it doesn’t go through a pandemic either. Some days we just need to take the victories where they are and take the time to feel good about ourselves. Some days we’ll feel bad because the world is a little removed from its rocker. It’s okay to acknowledge that. And the days when we feel like we are out of control of this pandemic, find something smaller to take control of – a FaceTime with a friend, a book to read, learn some anti-racism. It’s not much, but we have to get through this time as we can.

Have you ever been in a “COVID slump” this year? Share your experience in the comments! I wish my readers all the best as we continue the insane ride that 2020 has become.

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