THE entire world is quite obviously aware of this virus that is globally dominating every aspect of our lives. Panic buying toilet rolls, social distancing and the country on lockdown, forcing us to socially isolate.
Many people are noticeably hyperfocused on survival, the tangible aspects of how the virus is impacting our lives. This is of course paramount to preventing the spread of the pandemic, focusing on prevention and treatment. However, many people are neglecting their mental health and people with mental illnesses are struggling with isolation.
How I am affected
As I am living with a diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder Type Two with anxiety, this pandemic has proved to be extremely difficult for me to cope with. To provide context with regards to my illness, Bipolar Disorder is when you have extreme mood swings from manic (like a child who has had too many E numbers and is bouncing off the walls) to depressive (suicidal, low self-esteem, upset all the time- that kind of thing). My experience with bipolar disorder during the quarantine has been… awful. It has been and still is, a struggle.
During the routines I regularly partake in, disruption is rampant, I keep dwelling on negative thoughts and ruminating on uncertainties. University is core for my happiness as I get to socialise with friends, I can get out of the house and actually change out of my pyjamas. I never thought I would long for a 9 am class or dream of loitering by the vending machine with my friends waiting for my barbeque Hula Hoops to slowly fall into the bottom of the machine. It’s the simple things I crave.
How Others Are Affected
I am not the only one who is suffering from the mental effects of this outbreak. My parents are anxious, specifically, my dad as he is high risk- he is old (sorry dad) and has underlying health conditions. Meanwhile, my mum is a key worker as she works in the NHS, and is in the thick of it. My 17-year-old brother isn’t at all adhering to government advice as there are constant arguments and tension about him wanting to go out with his friends. He also ate all the Jammy Dodgers we had bought which enraged us all. Sitting on the kitchen floor, crying over the empty packet, my dad consoled me and my mum went absolutely ballistic. Normally, we would just dismiss it, maybe talk to my brother about it, but as these are stressful times a jammy dodger can genuinely make a difference and cheer us up.
As well as feeling anxious, depressed and angry (specifically over my biscuit binging gremlin of a brother), I feel betrayed by some absolute selfish idiots or “covidiots”, who think its a holiday. I’ve seen lads bike around in massive squads- it’s clear to see that they aren’t practising social distancing at all. My local Sainsburys on Station Road in Fulwell has recently been rammed with a car which made me truly upset as I live in the local community that houses many elderly people who rely and depend on that Sainsburys. To have someone vandalise and damage their local shop deprives them of essentials they need to survive. In addition to this, I also feel betrayed by the government (not to get political or anything) as Prince Charles has mild symptoms, as does the Prime Minister, and they have both tested positive for the virus. However, NHS workers are not being tested. NO ONE is. It infuriates me that people are being put at risk. People’s lives could be lost.
On a lighter note, anyone who has a social media account has probably seen the abundance of memes being posted on a variety of platforms. Despite the memes poking fun at singing happy birthday whilst washing your hands or to not go on a second jog, they are sharing a message and promoting how to stay safe during these difficult times. Memes are providing a source of happiness in comparison to the news which is important but depressing. I would much rather have a giggle at a meme instead of hearing about how many people have been infected.
Despite this pandemic almost seeming like Charlie Brooker had a hand in writing it, we can learn from it. Like any Black Mirror episode, it always makes you think, even that weird one where they had sex in VR…
I hope that globally we can become more selfless and kinder to each other. That we can help each other and be there for our friends and family. Obviously being in isolation is difficult, I’m already climbing the walls and having multiple breakdowns on a daily basis. But if we all come together and support each other, I reckon we could do a whole lot of good. So stop buying all the loo roll- the virus does NOT affect your bowel movements! Stop scranning all the biscuits. And don’t go out for a second jog. What you should do, is stay safe, stay inside and WASH YOUR DAMN HANDS.
Cover image: evannave