By David Perez, student journalist for Minarets Press
While it isn’t the most likely of connections to be made, there is a measurable correlation between COVID-19 and mental health. On the surface level, it may seem ridiculous, but if you analyze the course of events that led to where we are now, it’s not. Being isolated, having virtually nothing to do, no one to talk to, and cabin fever, seemed like perpetual suffering.
Most students romanticized the idea of taking a few weeks off of school to let this blow over. Some of them even thought that COVID-19 wasn’t real and it was all propaganda. Little did anyone know what actually lay in store for the world. When I was first informed that school would be shutting down, I was convinced that my dream had come true and I was elated when I got this news. In hindsight, I wonder how I could be so blind. I was enjoying home life, reveling in blissful naivete. Then I started to become worried that maybe this wasn’t everything I made it out to be. While watching the news, all any of the reporters would talk about was COVID-19 and how it was quickly gaining traction and spreading like a wildfire.
Soon it became a global pandemic and still, I decided to cover the sky with my hand, so to speak. I blocked everything out and tried to live out the rest of this blissful ignorance in peace, but quickly, it was swallowed up by what would become one of the darkest places of my life. Online school was really the only thing keeping me afloat because it provided some form of structure. But the days passing by basically melded together. It felt like an endless loop of repetitiveness, waking up every day, practically sleeping through my mundane classes, and being bored for the rest of the day. I was slowly losing my mind, and time, while it seemed to fly by, also dragged its heels. I tried to occupy my mind slowly spiraling out of control by reflecting and remembering good times but that only seemed to make it worse. The nostalgia I felt in those moments only made me feel more alone and the only thing I could think of was how far I had fallen and how everything was crashing down.
Finally, I saw a light at the end of the tunnel, and that was coming back to school. In the end, I learned that struggles are essential to life and that they can teach you lessons and help you appreciate what you have. After getting back in contact with everyone I knew, I realized I was no longer struggling and it was cathartic to return that structure to my life. As it turns out, I’m not the only one who feels this way. Sophomore Eli Goodman thinks so, too.
“Quarantine was an incredibly substantial change for me because it broke the consistent pattern of me attending school for the last seven years before it,” Goodman commented. “I think that after quarantine I became more extroverted because I had a lot more pent-up social energy.”
In the end, I believe a lot of my peers and elders changed over the course of COVID-19. Unfortunately, because of social distancing and other restrictions, it can be difficult to identify these changes.
“I still haven’t talked to a lot of my friends in over a year so outside of a few different habits, I haven’t noticed any distinct behaviors I wouldn’t associate with aging,” Goodman explained.
While it might not be a very prevalent topic for such a negative subject, there can also be benefits to experiencing a trying time like this.
“Hardship and struggles are an essential part of life but don’t let the negativity overshadow what you can learn from the experience,” Goodman said in finality.
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