Depression in the age of COVID-19

Ryland Staples | Staff Writer

Jeff Chiu | Associated Press

COVID-19 has changed the way we see the world. Period. Point blank. Just a few short months ago, nobody would have dreamt of society being told by government officials to stay home to slow the spread of a global pandemic. What we’re going through currently is world history and will be looked back upon as such. But what about the people who’re affected by these changes? It’s not surprising that people are falling into depression because of these life-changing events. But I feel like people fail to realize that the circumstances have changed. The kind of depression people fall into during the current pandemic is something much worse. 

I have had to live with my anxiety and depression for a while now. While at school, I often felt like I was looking at myself from a third-person perspective, flowing through my classes and my life in general, all alone. I would mentally check out for weeks, even months on end. When I looked up and noticed I haven’t been paying attention, I realized that I also haven’t talked to anyone for months on end. 

With COVID-19, that downward spiral has become 10 times worse. Now there isn’t even a routine anymore. If I had to describe the change, I would say that I feel like I have been put into a two-dimensional plane, only moving right and left. When I’m so used to being in a three-dimensional plane, it feels like all of the historical things that 2020 has thrown at everyone, was enough to blast me into an entirely different plane of existence. Every day feels the same, repeatedly; I wake up, do my daily task of school and work, and then go to sleep only to do it all over again the next day. With nowhere else to go, I feel like all I can do is go left and right until I stop moving altogether. 

I feel like this is worse than “normal” depression people dealt with pre-2020. Between the election just days away, the pandemic that has been ravaging the world for all but two months of the year and entire industries of businesses being forced to close down for months on end, it’s pretty easy to feel hopeless during this time. Still, it’s never healthy to go through life not feeling anything. 

You cannot just stick your head in the ground and watch as time passes by. You have to realize that you are your own protagonist. You make life worth living. I remember always being told “Look on the bright side,” or “It could be worse.” That would always get on my nerves, but it’s true when you think about it. Start by being thankful for the little things in your life, the things you enjoy doing, the foods you enjoy eating and other things that bring you joy. 

A friend of mine always used to tell me that whenever I was feeling stressed out and overwhelmed about something, “you should step back, take a break, maybe drink some tea or eat a granola bar and just take some time for yourself.” I know that that helps me destress when things start to pile up in my mind and I start feeling like I’m about to crash. Now that may not work for you, so try making a routine that will help you destress during this very stressful time.

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