How The COVID-19 Outbreak Affected My Mental Health

I was planning my annual Spring party when my best friend called and told me that the local government prohibited mass gatherings. When I asked why, she said, “The coronavirus has been spreading rapidly. There are already 200 confirmed cases in this city, and the number is still rising.”

I did not have time to process the situation because we had to go under full lockdown at once. I thought it would end after 30 days, but boy, I was wrong. Hence, here’s how the COVID-19 outbreak affected my mental health.

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I Became Paranoid

Before the pandemic, my friends used to say that I could win Ms. Congeniality easily. That’s because I always greeted everyone I met and even treated strangers as if we had known each other for years. As my parents taught me, I had to be gracious to others to receive graciousness as well.

However, paranoia reigned over me from the moment that I learned about the incurable coronavirus. For instance, I tried going to the supermarket while wearing a PPE, but I could not push myself to step on the ground when I saw five other customers in the store. I was lucky that local stores offered home delivery, but I might have starved a couple of times because I was scared of picking up the groceries outside my door until I was sure that 24 hours already passed.

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I Wanted To Stay Isolated Forever

It only took two full months before the city government announced that we could mingle with people again, as long as we were wearing a mask and practicing social distancing. I got calls from my parents and friends soon after, asking when I would host a party. They had always known that I loved organizing social gatherings, so they thought I would jump at this opportunity to do that.

But that’s where my loved ones were wrong. I honestly told them that I did not feel safe to let anyone in my house while the coronavirus was still lurking. After all, I had no way of knowing who they came across before reaching my place or where they had been in the last 14 days.

This news shocked everyone, especially Mom and Dad. They said they missed me badly, and the feeling was mutual, but I was genuinely ready to stay alone forever, considering it meant that I would not catch the virus.

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I Felt Depressed

Of course, depression began to seep in my veins soon enough. Even though I had a firm resolve to avoid my loved ones for a while, I was unhappy about it. I was the most productive while working with the people I cared about; not being around them for God only knew how long it was draining my life force.

Some days, all I wanted to do was sleep. Other days, I could not even close my eyes. I also lost some weight because I felt too tired to prepare my meals three times a day. There was a time when I started wondering, “What’s the point of trying to live when you see nothing but the four walls of the house every day?”

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I Began To Wonder If This Was The End

My outlook did not improve when I heard that parks, malls, and other public places already reopened. In truth, I felt more scared than ever as I imagined how fast virus transmission could happen there. While the people kept a distance from each other, there were still elevator buttons to push, escalator or stair handles to hold on to, and chairs and tables to get your hands on. If an asymptomatic individual touched any of them, it would undoubtedly not take long before other people ended up testing positive for the coronavirus.

As I was thinking of that, I wondered if this was what the Doomsday would look like. I used to laugh at conspiracy theories like that in the past, but what if the theorists had valid reasons to believe it could happen? The thought kept swirling in my head, making me feel crazier than ever.

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What To Do

Hope came back to me when I found out that some vaccines would soon be distributed worldwide. If people got vaccinated, they could not possibly contract the coronavirus and transmit it to others. Then, I would not need to worry about having COVID-19 and being unable to beat it.

While waiting for the vaccine, I decided to look after my mental health. I contacted a licensed therapist and asked if he could squeeze me in his schedule. The therapy session took place online, of course, so I did not have to meet him in person. 

I had been told that experiencing depression and paranoia, among other things, was understandable while facing a global health crisis. Still, the therapist said that I made the right call when I asked for mental help because the conditions might have aggravated. Otherwise, I might not be around to get that vaccine anymore.