Covid-19: Mental Health

I know most people have probably already done a blog post on this pandemic but I haven’t yet, so here goes.

Before Covid-19, I left my house maybe once or twice a week; I napped daily, due to a combination of factors, and I didn’t have a lot going for me. It’s not as hard for me to cope with this change as it would be for someone regularly going to a job or uni — simply because I didn’t have a lot going on. I don’t think I’ll have a lot going on for a long time. I am depressed, anxious, and autistic. This is how my life has been, since a young age. I could never concentrate at school when it got into the afternoon, so I’m glad I am now able to take this time for myself.

Simply put, this gives me a reason to stay in my house, a reason to not leave, a reason to continue being depressed. Whilst on the front, because I didn’t leave the house a lot anyway, it looks like there isn’t much change, there is. I now have an excuse to stay inside for weeks at a time and get out of the routine of leaving the house. This is affecting my mental health, and it’s probably affecting other people’s mental health too.

I’m here to tell you that, even if you don’t feel like it, have a bath or shower. Brush your hair. At least have the motivation to do that, because if you don’t — you might end up forgetting how to look after yourself. I’ve been trying my best to have baths when I can’t be bothered because it’s the one thing I can do right now. Also, even introverts need friends. Reach out to people; even those that you haven’t talked to for a while. You might find you relate to them more because of this crisis. Try, when it’s sunny, to go out into the garden for a few minutes each day. These past few days, the weather has been great so I’ve gone into the garden and enjoyed it. Even if I don’t have any plans, even if I can’t see the future, I can see today and I can accept it, whatever happens.

This year was going to be a good year. I literally wrote a tweet in January about all the plans I was looking forward to; my cousin’s wedding, my 21st, etc. Now, it’s going to be a bit different. It won’t be how I envisioned it but it will still happen and, to be frank, changes happen all the time. When I was going to college, I’d get freaked out if there were changes to the train times. Now, there’s a massive change that is going to affect everybody, and somehow, I feel more calm than I did then. I am worried about the financial future of my family, I am worried about the health of everybody, but I have accepted that whatever is going to happen will happen and I can’t change it. However, I can help myself and others by washing my hands regularly and not going outside, so I’m going to do that. I did get sick a few weeks ago but I have no way of knowing if that was Covid-19 or not, so I’m going to say that I haven’t had it and continue washing my hands regularly because it’s better to be safe, even if you think you’ve had it. Yes, there’s a chance you’ll be immune, but you don’t know for certain, and unless you had a test done, you won’t know for certain that you had it. So keep washing your hands and keeping yourself mentally-prepared.

I also wanted to add a note at the end of my mid-night ramblings. A good friend of mine, MyMindSpeaksAloud has started a weekly well-being challenge which you can sign up to here. She’s amazing and it really has helped me focus on something. Even if some weeks I haven’t managed to complete the challenges, just reading the emails from her made me smile and think of something in my mind. When it started, I was unwell so wasn’t able to complete it, but now I’m in a better mindset and enjoying reading her emails and hopefully completing the challenges. It really does help if you need a little boost. Thank you a lot, Alice.

Invalidated Feelings

Someone recently invalidated my feelings and it really hurt. I’ve been feeling like rubbish ever since because it was someone close to me. I just feel like I can’t talk to them about anything I might feel in the future. I’m depressed and I’ve been depressed for a long time. So, to get my feelings completely disregarded, by someone who knows my mental health and knows me very well, isn’t nice. Ever since they did it, I’ve been down more than usual. I feel like we would argue if I brought it up with them so I’m just going to have to keep my feelings to myself around them, I guess? Even though they’re someone I shouldn’t have trouble expressing myself to. I’m in a really low place right now and it hurts. It hurts that I can’t talk to them. It hurts that they’re such an important person in my life. It just hurts.

Sylvia Plath, Mental Health, and Girls

This post is a combined post about mental health day (yesterday) and girl’s day (today). It’s talking about my all-time favourite poet: Sylvia Plath.

She was born in 1932 and died thirty years later in 1963. Why did she die at the age of thirty? Suicide. She had attempted suicide many times, but they failed. Eventually, she succeeded by carbon monoxide poisoning.

As she wrote in some of her many letters, she felt that she wouldn’t get a place at the top universities because of her suicidal background. She did eventually get a place at Cambridge, where she met her future husband, Ted Hughes, who was once the poet laureate.

She talked, in her letters, that girls being suicidal wasn’t taken seriously back then, and that it would even affect their chances in education and work. Her doctor cared deeply about her mental health, however, and had tried to get her admitted to hospital several times, but they would not take her. The system failed her because they didn’t care enough about her mental health. She was also subjected to electroconvulsive therapy when she was depressed, which is a really awful way to treat someone.

In one letter, she mentioned that two days before a miscarriage, her husband had beat her. Many blame Ted Hughes for her death, and some even vandalised her grave, getting rid of the surname ‘Hughes’ and replacing it with ‘Plath’. Her son also committed suicide in 2009.

Nowadays, mental health is taken more seriously, but a lot of girls are still subjected to judgement: “it’s just hormones”, “it will pass”, “you’re not depressed, just sad”, “you don’t seem it”, “this is a phase”. Sylvia Plath was failed, but she did so many beautiful poems that will always honour her memory; don’t let anyone else be failed. Just because they’re young, doesn’t mean it’s a phase, or hormones, or anything else. Even if it is, just take them seriously. Wiping them away like rain on your windscreen will cause them to isolate themselves and, eventually, they might have a similar fate to that of Sylvia. I love her writing so much but a lot of it is sad. She literally wrote about her emotions and she still didn’t get the care she needed.

This post was about girls, as it is girl’s day, but that doesn’t mean you should forget boys. They are taught to be strong pillars, but allow them to fall down. If you don’t, they might have the same fate as Sylvia Plath’s son, Nicholas.

A-Levels: Mental Health

I’ve been struggling with the stress of a-levels for a long time now and then I realised: my mental health should come first. Having suffered with depression and anxiety for a long time, I was back into a cycle I couldn’t get out of when I started my second year. The constant change of creative writing teacher certainly didn’t help. Now, I might only be doing one a-level soon. I know, I know, only one!? It’s because I’ve been having a lot of anxiety attacks recently and we’ve been talking to the college about the stress.

You guys have to remember that, although good grades would be nice, you shouldn’t let them be harmful to your mental health.You matter and you will get through this. I believe in you! However stressful a-levels are, they will be done one day. Just remember that. Especially if you have had mental health problems in the past, I would speak to people about what the best course of action is for you. They can help you by breaking the work down or referring you to counselling or whatever you need. Just reach out if it’s all getting too much. People do care.

🙂

Lia