Shelter in Place: Day 5

For some reason, I keep thinking that I’ll go to bed and when I wake up the whole catastrophe will have been a dream. I have very vivid and in-depth dreams, so it wouldn’t be that out of the ordinary.

One of my dreams was so compelling that I titled it in my sleep.

But if I accept what my senses communicate to me as reality (which I do for the moment), then I’d better continue with this blog as a form of acquiescence.

Day 5 I’m thinking about depression – which I have some experience with – versus my current day-to-day life. In my mind, the two are distinguishable for a number of reasons, and while I’m accustomed to working through my individual depression, on the global scale it’s a whole different story.

I was officially diagnosed with major depressive disorder in early college, but the symptoms were present at least four years prior in my junior year of high school. This is again differentiated from my base-level mood. I think in general my base-level mood is more towards the melancholic than the average (but what do I know), but at a certain point stress in the form of the pursuit of perfection tipped the scale into depression.

The rest is history.

My depression creates a world that to the casual observer looks very similar to one I’m living in today: I don’t leave the house; I barely see my friends; I find myself bored, stressed, irritable for no reason; I find simple tasks like buying groceries or doing laundry nerve-wracking. But that’s about where the similarities stop.

The current state of global events caused by the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic is far more all-encompassing than an individual human’s depression. And while I have had years of learning strategies and coping mechanisms such that my depression now allows me to be (relatively) high-functioning, I have absolutely no playbook for a global pandemic.

Furthermore, while in the uncolored morass of depression, I took comfort in knowing that the world existed outside of me, that people were waking up, going about their lives, kissing their loved ones, and so on and so forth. Now, I know that people are still waking up, going about their lives, and kissing their loved ones (from 6 feet away), but everything is under a pall. Damocles’ Virus.

I’m trying now that I’ve made my main argument to bring this around to a semi-optimistic conclusion. We’ll see if I can pull it off.

I suppose the main idea I’m trying to forward here, is that while it is difficult to live with depression (or any other mental health struggle) there is some solace I take from perspective at this moment in time. I can rely the coping mechanisms and strategies that have served me thus far, and keep in mind that my individual way of life is not so different than usual. Further, I want to commit myself to using the time and resources I have to alleviate the suffering of others.

I’m not sure how this will look exactly. I need to do research. But it will certainly serve me better than wallowing.

So, I don’t know if that’s optimistic, but that’s where I’m ending this.

Still sending love and support to everyone!



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