Quarantine Life: Depression, Anxiety, and Pandemic Madness

I suffer from depression and anxiety. If you have to deal with either (or both), you know how difficult it can be just to interact with the world. The current global health crisis related to COVID-19 (Corona Virus) is pretty scary, and it is certain to trigger both anxiety and depression in a lot of people.

Quarantines and health precautions intended to keep us healthy can also have an opposite effect – feeding into the isolation often created by depression and anxiety. I know these current conditions are making my anxiety and depression worse, and I know that I’m not alone. But just as I plan to protect myself against this virus (which I suspect I had back in January…but that’s a post for another time), I’m also taking steps to protect my mental health during this time.

Stacks of books, an unorganized mess, and time to work on both.

Some of these steps will be difficult, but I’m going to do my best. I’m sharing with you a few of  the things I’m doing during these difficult times:

  • Cutting back on social media. Yes, I’m keeping myself informed, but some social media platforms can quickly become toxic environments, feeding into both anxiety and depression. If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook or Instagram, you won’t be seeing as many posts from me. That said, I am going to try to post more on this website, which I will share through my various accounts.
  • Concentrating on creative endeavors. I have a bunch of projects to work on, and often times my depression tries to get me to stop. Not this time. I’m going to commit myself to more creative productivity on a daily basis. Of course, this in addition to THE HATED, my new comic that was just funded through Kickstarter.
  • Clean and organizing. I’m a disorganized slob. It is embarrassing and a problem that I have trouble getting a handle on. Since I needed to do “spring cleaning” anyway, this is the perfect time to get my shit together.
  • Catching up on entertainment. I have a stack of unread books, graphic novels, and comics. It’s time to put a dent in the stack. I also have a long watch list on various streaming services, so now is the time to watch movies and shows that I’ve been putting off. In fact, I’m also going to go through years of old film reviews and start (re)posting some of them here. I figure that more than a decade of being a film critic can be helpful to others as they look for movies to watch. I’m going to try to post at least two a week (while making sure that the reviews are for films that can be streamed or purchased in some capacity). I’ll also post some book reviews.
  • Go out into the world. Yeah, I know it is scary, and depression and anxiety often push me to stay home. But I need to keep moving a bit. I’m going to go for a walk every day. And for those of you that follow me on Instagram, don’t be surprised when more flower pictures start popping up.

Please don’t let these difficult times force you to shut down from life. Please feel free to try any of the things I’m doing. And if you are struggling, know that you’re not alone. Everyone is dealing with something, freaking out, and just plain uncertain. Here are a few more things you can do…

  • Talk more with family and friends. You can do this over the phone, by way of Skype, FaceTime, and a whole host other services.
  • Start a virtual movie or book club. You don’t have to do these in person. Me and some friends have already set up a movie night where we all watch the same film at home, and then discuss it via Skype afterward.
  • Spend time with kids. If you have kids, come up with a creative project you can do together (something that can help them occupy their time).
  • Learn your family history. Seriously…so many people don’t know their family histories. Talk to elders in the family, write down their stories, create a family tree. And if nothing else, connect with older people, even if it has to be over the phone or via internet for health reasons. The elderly may be more prone to illness, but that’s NOT a reason to abandon them.
  • Help others in need. This will look different for everyone, but we all know someone that can use some help in some capacity.
  • Discover something new. I don’t care what it is…music you’ve never heard, an author you’ve never read, or a topic you know nothing about. Dig around and find something new to explore with family and/or friends for recommendations, and then share your opinions. I often spend time on Youtube looking for bands I’ve never heard of, or watching videos on topics I know nothing about. Instead of retreating into the solitary world of your own thoughts, go on a mental exploration.

That’s all for now. Be well.

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