I get my largest tastes– or meals, rather– of depression are when I am at home away from school. Much of it has to do with the lack of friends I have here alongside triggers and memories of unpleasant high school experiences. The most notable times I struggled with depression was during winter break of my freshman year of college and this past summer after my first heartbreak.
And I’m really hoping that I dodge depression among this Corona situation.
I am really mad. Upset. Heartbroken.
This is my senior year. This is my very last semester of college. I’m graduating in less than two months from now.
I did not see this coming.
I knew that this virus was going around and being talked about for a while, but I didn’t realize how serious and prevalent it really was. When I heard speculations that my university was going to move all classes online during spring break, I rolled my eyes and laughed. But soon after, a seed of doubt planted itself into my stomach and started with watered, growing with each additional news of a school being shut down physically, moving classes online.
And then my school closed. All classes were officially moved online, and students were encouraged to stay away from campus and town.
I was in denial. This is my last semester, my last time to cherish and thrive in my experience as a college student. It was supposed to be my grand finale of college, a last hurrah for me to spend time with friends and deepen relationships with them, with my professors, with my academic advisor and peers. Happening suddenly and rendering me unprepared, the comfort of my college environment– my home of the last three years– was stripped away from me. The normalcy of my life, in all its craziness and happiness, has been taken away from me.
And I’m not mad at my university for this change. I understand that it’s necessary and imperative that these measures of physical isolation are incorporated because Corona is a real threat to many, not just in terms of their health, but even in terms of their survival. It just breaks my heart that this weird, scary, strange and isolating thing is actually happening.
The fact that I am forced to be away from my people.
I don’t feel purposeless; my fingers itch to type and write, my mind craves to read, my body craves exercise and I am looking forward to getting my undergraduate degree. I’m looking forward to being an alumni, an official graduate of my university. I am still so excited and grateful to have secured a teaching position that will allow me to give back and learn so much after I graduate. I am going to do whatever it takes among this sadness to pursue these dreams. I am going to chase the light at the end of this freaking Corona tunnel.
But it’s not– and it’s not going to be– easy and “not that bad.”
I often see posts on social media chastising people to stay home, saying that it’s not that bad. And while I agree with and promote that people should be staying home for the sake of reducing the spread of the virus, especially for the sake of especially vulnerable people such as the elderly and people with immunodeficiency struggles, I’m sick of people downplaying the challenges of staying home.
Depression is a challenge for me and for many others. And with me staying home on top of not being able to go outside and mingle with friends and not being able to go back to college with my dear people, I’m especially susceptible to this mental illness.
Staying at home sucks. It’s not “not that bad.” It can be horrible– especially if I get depressed. Staying at home itself, yes, that doesn’t sound too bad. What’s so bad about being able to be cozy and stay in your pajamas all day and to be surrounded by your pets and loved ones? It’s not bad inherently. But being forced to physically isolate and confine yourself? That’s fucking hard. A challenge. And when that leads to depression, it fucking sucks.
When I’m depressed, it fucking sucks.
And while I highlight the struggles of staying home and physical isolation that many including myself face, I’m not downplaying the necessity of staying home to protect others. I’m just saying that it’s not “easy.”
And what about those stuck in abusive households who are unable to escape the hell that they face every day? God protect and help them.
I’m praying that I dodge the depths of depression that I often fall into when I am back home. I’m praying that people whose situations are like or worse than mine get through this and are given comfort, peace and ease. To cope, I’ve been trying to occupy my mind with reading good fiction books, especially uplifting ones such as romantic comedies. I’ve been watching episodes of That’s so Raven which give me the comforting vibes of my childhood. I’ve been keeping in touch with my friends via FaceTime or phone call, but it definitely doesn’t beat physical face-to-face interaction.
I pray that we all get through this and that the danger of Corona ends soon.