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The Quarantine Blues

“Sometimes I’ll walk into your room to check on you and you’ll just be sitting in the dark, wrapped up in a blanket and staring at the corner of your wall. I’ll ask what you’re doing and you always respond ‘nothing’. And I think I’ve come to believe you.”

That’s what my mother said about me when I asked her if she’s noticed any changes in my behavior since Quarantine has started. She’s partially right with her answer. Physically I am doing nothing.

But in my mind, I’m thinking, and that’s the most dangerous thing I can be doing right now.

I’ve suffered with depression and anxiety for my entire life. Both my parents can recount stories of how I would cry every single morning when I had to leave for school because I was afraid of leaving the house. They would tell you how I wanted to leave an hour early for everything because I was scared of walking into a room full of people, and how I needed to know exactly who was going to an event. They would tell you how I used to not be able to walk into a mall, have a panic attack when I had to do something new, and spent 8 hours a day playing video games because I wanted to escape reality.

I’ve made a lot of progress in that time period. I’ve become comfortable in who I am as a person. I’m no longer afraid to go out in public or walk into a room full of people. I’ve become independent, capable of doing new things without having a total meltdown. I still have my bad days where I can hear the whispers telling me how I’m useless and should just die to spare everyone of the misery I’ve said. And in response I’ll curl up under the blankets and stay in bed all day. But that’s okay. The good days started to outweigh the bad, and I was starting to feel happier overall.

Then quarantine struck.

At first, everything was okay. Coming home from living at college and having a particularly stressful semester, it was nice to be able to come home and just relax. But as more and more days passed, and COVID-19 showed no signs of letting up to free me from my prison of home and isolation, I quickly learned that quarantine itself was a parasite. It started to take hold of me, slowly. But when it gained traction, it exploded and hit me with the full weight of years spent fighting.

The motivation was the first to go. That willingness to wake-up every morning and do my schoolwork to the best of my abilities faded overnight. It became just a simple mindset of “get it done” and don’t care about the grades. What was the point anyways?

It was the motivation to get up every day with a smile on my face and try to see the positives in my life.

Then it was the confidence, then the fun when I did things I liked, then it was the appetite, then the passions, then the excitement for the future, then the desire to be myself, then the want to workout, then it was the coping strategies.

My last bastion of defense had fallen. Pandemonium broke out.

“You can’t go out and do anything, you can’t see your friends. Naturally the coping strategies will start to fail. You can’t get a reprieve from them and your mind is starting to get bored of them” my dad said.

Years of progress faded within a few days. I turned from the more confident and mentally strong adult that I had become, to the timid child that fears everything.

So now I sit. Trapped in my prison home and guarded by quarantine. I sit alone, hiding away from the world so I can dwell in my self-loathing and self-pity.

Instead of fighting I just endure it. I let the thoughts run wild and simply bear the burden in silence. I deserve this suffering.

I know that’s a lie. But quarantine has destroyed my ability to tell myself I’m wrong. I’m scared and alone. I’m stuck thinking, and that’s the most dangerous thing I can be doing right now.

--Jonathan Holden


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