How COVID-19 took a toll on my mental health

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Ava Kopecky, Editor

It has been over a year since RB went on it’s first lock down due to COVID-19. Due to the unprecedented circumstances of the pandemic, changes in everyone’s lifestyles have not been easy to adapt to. As someone who struggles with mental health issues, COVID-19 had taken a deeper toll on my ability to cope during the pandemic.

When the pandemic first started, isolation from my loved ones and the outside world was the hardest part to deal with. I consider myself someone who relies on social interaction to keep me going, so being stuck inside the house for a couple months was very difficult for me.

It was hard to keep a healthy lifestyle going when I had no motivation to get me out of bed. Softball got cancelled for the season, it looked like we had no hope in returning back to school, and everyday just felt like the same. I had nothing to look forward to during quarantine. I noticed my sleeping schedule would gradually worsen as my time in lock down increased. I would find myself sleeping throughout the day, and being awake during the night. The only social interaction I had with my friends was through FaceTime and social media, I felt disconnected from the world and from my life. 

Watching the world react and deal with the pandemic as well was nerve racking. We knew nothing about this virus, we just knew that it spread fast and it was fatal to many people, especially the elderly or those with pre-existing medical conditions. My mom has multiple immune system diseases, so knowing if my mom ever caught COVID-19, she was at extreme risk to not have a safe recovery.

COVID-19 caused my father to be unemployed. As of current day, my dad has still not been able to return to his job, however, soon his work will be opening back up. But back then, with the majority of my family’s income not coming through, this left my family at a stalemate. My mom was able to work from home, so I decided that this would be a great time to go looking for a job once things began opening up to help out my family financially if needed, and also for my personal use.

As summer approached, Illinois began opening back up and I was able to start playing softball again. I also got my first job. Due to the pandemic still happening, there were many restrictions I had to take on the field during softball, and off the field at work. This was nothing like a normal summer season, and it gave me anxiety because my team would not be able to travel far to play in college showcase tournaments. I was nervous for my teammates that were upperclassmen trying to get scouted, and I was nervous for what I was going to do next season. 

As the 2020-2021 school year began, I was given more stress than any other school year. Attending school remotely was extremely stressful for a junior who lacks motivation. I was anxious for the inevitable college placement and AP exams. I was not getting the proper practice and instruction as I would during a normal school year. Already it was hard for me to attempt to get out of bed, and being piled with hours of online work did not help.

I contracted COVID-19 in December. The majority of my friends got it as well. I had to take off of work, and I was not allowed to go into the school building until I tested negative. This was very hard for me because of my mother’s medical conditions, and also because I had to go under another quarantine. Luckily, my mom tested negative and I did not spread it to her or any of my other family members.

It is safe to say that COVID-19 has not been a pleasant experience for anyone. It has caused unemployment, an economic crisis, and around 550k Americans to have lost their lives. The pandemic has been stressful, scary, and depressing. It has been the hardest part of my life living through the pandemic, and with both of my parents now scheduling their vaccination appointments, I have ever been happier to say that I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel.