Last week, I was on a walk in the park with a friend talking about COVID-19 (there’s not much else to discuss these days, is there?), when he said something that really resonated with me. As we discussed the implications that this virus has on mental health, he reasoned, “never have we had so much in common with each other yet felt so utterly alone at the same time.” He couldn’t be more correct. I don’t think it serves as much of a surprise to anyone, but people are struggling mentally now more than ever. Obviously, the coronavirus has awful physical implications, but the pandemic as a whole has had more effects on the mind than we even realize. While many people have found productive ways to cope with the unknown, from exercising to taking summer classes, many other people have found it increasingly difficult to make the most of these times. Certain friends of mine who I used to describe to others as the absolute epitome of happiness are now on anti-depressants. Other friends who I looked to as sources of strength now tell me about the anxiety attacks they wake up with every morning. I’m in no way saying that everyone is now mentally ill, but the majority of people I know have more bad days than ever before. I couldn’t understand why our brains weren’t just adapting like they adapt to plenty of other challenges until I read a post that said that our brains are just literally not programmed to face a situation like this one. The phrase “unprecedented times” applies to mental health issues too.
The weather today was absolutely disgusting. High 30s and cloudy. I’ve always wondered why hell is fiery because an ice-cold atmosphere seems much worse to me than any level of heat. Anyways, as I was raking the leaves in my front yard, I pondered the same things I’ve been pondering on a daily basis the last few weeks. Why is the cold so much harder for me to handle than the heat? Why does the sun have to set so damn early these next few months? Are there places where the sun doesn’t set this early? Would I be happier living somewhere warmer? Would I want to give up the pretty fall colors and the cozy snow days to live somewhere where I’m not constantly freezing from November to March? Why am I so much sadder in the winter than in the summer?