Mental Health

Sorry, this entire time has been a trip. Time has not been the greatest to me since Covid started happening, let’s just be real. Mental health has really taken its toll on everyone.

At the onset of the pandemic, average steps decline from 10,000 to 4,600 steps per day, sleep increases by 25 to 30 min per night, time spent socializing declines by over half to less than 30 min, and screen time more than doubles to over 5 h per day. Over the course of the pandemic from March to July 2020 the proportion of participants at risk for clinical depression ranges from 46% to 61%, up to a 90% increase in depression rates compared to the same population just prior to the pandemic” comes from Lifestyle and Mental Health Disruptions during COVID-19.

Guintella, Osea, et al. “Lifestyle and Mental Health Disruptions during COVID-19 | PNAS.” PNAS, edited by Douglas Massey, Proceedings of the National Academy of sciences of the United States of America, 2 Mar. 2021, https://www.pnas.org/content/118/9/e2016632118.short.

Just today, I lost myself by falling into a pit of my own despair. I heard a song that triggered an exceptional amount of emotions. The song “Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World,” by Isreal “Iz” Kamakawiwo’ole, triggered me into a culmination of negative emotions of the people that I have lost over time. It was the first time that I had felt grief to a considerable extent. I am sure there are song out there that can be a trigger to others as well, “Dancing in the Sky” by Danny and Lizzy; “Save Me” by Jelly Roll; “Tears in Heaven” by Eric Clapton. The list goes on and on depending on what evokes those emotions within different people.

For me to say that I lost myself means that I legit lost myself, sense of character and time, due to the grief I felt today. Usually I write things out in my own journal to get a grip on my emotions, but today I thought that I would write them out here (albeit this writing is a bit formal). I like to try to rationalize my thoughts, and my previous therapist said that that was a good tool. Thinking of the different types of comfort or coping tools, this writing could be considered one, kind of like a form of narrative therapy, a therapeutic therapy.

So here is my story:

I lost my friend, my best friend, around March 8th. We had rough patches and we have always stayed connected and if one of us would need the other even after not talking for almost two years, we were there. I lost my best friend to an OD and was the best guess, but I have always had suspicions about foul play. That is a part that always crosses my mind, even though it has been 7 months now. There are times when I feel an overwhelming sadness when I think about her. It is usually during holidays because she wasn’t so close with her family at times, she would invite me over and we would celebrate on our own time.

It was during these holidays that we would tell each other the recent 411 on each other, delve up old traumas or new ones and tell stories of them. This was the way that we would handle our holidays or just whenever we felt the need to be around each other; the reasons being loneliness, boredom, or the need to get something off our back is why we would hang out. When we hung out, it was usually at her residence because she always wanted to cook. Cooking was her way to express herself because whenever she cooked there was usually a story to what she was cooking. Now, my best friend would say whatever was crossing her mind. The thoughts may have been simple to the more vulgar side of things. I always told her that she could tell me whatever because we called each other best friends and between us there were definitely no secrets.

It wasn’t much long ago before her passing when she came over to my apartment and we were talking chatting about things we seen on social media. On that night, I showed her some of the features of the settings and we came across the “legacy contact.” That night is when she placed me as her legacy contact. She later lost herself to previous bad habits.

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That was my friend in a nutshell and all the times we would hangout around the holidays hits me every time we would celebrate. Halloween is right around the corner and grief has stricken me again. This time I am in school and I also work a full-time job. Normally when I was younger and I had things to do, I would normally disassociate with myself, the world, but I have lost too many people to just keep myself silent. Just recently within the past month or so, I have lost 2 people to suicide and another friend got shot. Keep in mind, I don’t live in a very big city (Lake Delton, WI). Events like these are traumatic when they happen in a small community. This is what kicked all these emotions of grief/loss back in my mind and created a vortex pulling me down into an abyss that has a grip on my mental state.

To say that I do not ever feel like harming myself isn’t true, because what most people don’t see is the internal and external harm done by depression. I am referring to the statistics above in the quote. Internal harm is the negative emotions or thoughts about myself, my worth, my lack of action; external harm being to my body because of the lack of sleep, eating, and communication to those that want me to feel well again. Physically harming myself by suicide is something that I have not considered and hope that I never will consider. Losing others is like losing a part of yourself that you built with another person, and that losing a part of myself is what hurts the most. There was no one else in this world that knew me the way she knew me, but I will always remember her in the way she allowed me to know her, as kind, thoughtful, caring, awful (humor), and a laugh that made me glad that I was her friend.

This is my truth, and this is just my perspective. I cannot imagine what others may be going through, but I wish you well with combating with your demons or the demons of another.

National Suicide Hotline: 800-273-8255

National Alliance on Mental Health: 800-950-NAMI or text “NAMI” to 741741

Sexual Assault Hotline: 800-656-4673

The Trevor Project (LGBTQIA+): 866-488-7386

Enjoy IZ’s “Over the Rainbow/What a beautiful world.”

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