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I feel like COVID-19 has completely destroyed my mental health, and I don't know how to fix it.


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I feel very mentally unwell. I am a university student, halfway through my degree. My classes are all online, which is agonizing. I feel very unengaged, uninspired, and totally overwhelmed with all the tasks I have as a student. I have to stay in online classes; my father has cancer and I see him regularly so have to take extreme caution to avoid giving him COVID. I have also been avoiding socializing with my friends, for the most part, to keep my Dad safe. I see one or two of them every so often outside at a distance. I see my family a lot, since I support them in caring for my Dad, but the between the  online classes, and basically having no social life, I feel so isolated and lonely. At the same time, I have also grown to find socializing completely exhausting when I do attempt it. Probably because I am out of practice, and am also really unhappy so I'm not feeling satisfied with anything.

I feel worn down by life, and completely devoid of any joy currently. It's really hard to stay motivated with school, and I feel a lot of pressure to do so since I am there on scholarships. There are days when I don't leave my apartment or speak to another human. I just really hate my life. I am constantly worried about my father getting COVID and dying, and about my sister who refuses to take the vaccine. I have struggled with depression and anxiety since before COVID, but I feel like with everything that's happened within the last few years, I am at some sort of breaking point. 

Since I feel so unhappy right now, it is making me wonder if I am choosing the right path in life. It's so hard to tell if I hate school so much because it's online because of the pandemic, or if I would hate it anyway even if there was no pandemic and I was doing my degree in-person. I feel like every day is exactly the same and I am losing my mind. It's a very claustrophobic, panicky feeling. I just don't know how to live life anymore, in this new reality. 

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Is there any counselling support through your school or can you get some through your primary care physician? 
 

I totally understand. I have lost my dad, my step dad and my father-in-law within a year . My business at the moment is in ruins and so hard to build. My mom needs a lot of support and I live 2 hours away . 
 

So many are just drowning right now. I think it is important to address it before it gets worse. 

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You’ll need to address your depression and anxiety with a doctor. Have you been treated?

I’d seek support right away from a doctor on campus first and then inquire about support services or counselling. The doctor or support staff can assist you or point you in the right direction.

While you’re in the midst of it you think you are strong until it’s too late and you’re struggling like you are now. Keep posting also if it helps. 

 

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I second speaking to your doctor. I was on anxiety meds for a while, then weaned off and onto a mood stablizer.  yes, they do help.

Also, maybe try to pick up on something at home, like a hobby ( something else for you to do, not just schooling, I enjoy baking, making soaps, jams & crocheting - I learned on youtube, if you feel you don't have much energy, maybe just grab a colouring book, when I was in a low I did that as well, get lost in a good show or your music, ) .. and remember self care ❤️ . Get your rest, eat well, exercise/ get out for some air, etc.

But do reach out if you're feeling so unstable. I know these last cpl years has stressed out a lot of people 😕 . Unsure how to handle the demands & changes.  is new to all of us, and we're trying hard to adjust, accept etc.. Let's hope this all settles this year 😉 .

 TC

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7 hours ago, CassieBean said:

. I have struggled with depression and anxiety since before COVID, 

Sorry this is happening. Get to a physician for an evaluation of your physical and mental health. Talk about your longstanding depression and anxiety. Ask for a referral to a qualified therapist for ongoing support.

Do you live at home? Where is your mother? How is your family functioning with your father's illness?

Do you have a job? Get out of the house more. If you are vaccinated and wear a mask properly, there's no reason you can't work, join some groups and clubs, volunteer, etc.

Worrying about the whole world and things you can't change is from untreated depression and anxiety.

Start there if you wish to feel better and be more supportive of your father.

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YOU ARE NOT ALONE!!!  I am very sorry to hear about your situation.  COVID has been so completely isolating for many, and many are still not right even though some places have been opening back up.  My hubs had a hypertensive crisis from the stress, and my eldest son has an adjustment disorder from the pandemic, and still in therapy for it.  I stress for you to pick up bike riding, even if it's cold out.  Going hiking or taking scenic walks, every single day...everyday.  Go with your mom or dad if he can take a few steps, or if he can be taken with assistive equipment.  Or with friends with masks on in the park.

If you can, also keep a journal.  Text people you haven't connected to in a while, even stupid silly things.  ((HUGS))...taking one day at a time when you can is okay too.  You can also try this method.  Go out normally for something outside, and leave a change of clothes outside your home to change into.  I know many people who've had success, nurses, medical professionals, essential workers, who still work, and have someone fragile at home.  I know this is touchy, so I won't go into it, but get vaccinated...it does help some to not pass it on.  

Edited by tattoobunnie
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23 hours ago, Seraphim said:

Is there any counselling support through your school or can you get some through your primary care physician? 

Yes, I get free counselling through school. It takes ages to get appointments because everyone's mental health sucks right now. I need to try to make another appointment with one. I have tried therapy in the past through Better Help, with limited results. I have also tried in-person therapy with various therapists. I don't know why it doesn't usually work for me. I'm open to the process, and want to work through my issues. 

23 hours ago, Seraphim said:

I totally understand. I have lost my dad, my step dad and my father-in-law within a year . My business at the moment is in ruins and so hard to build. My mom needs a lot of support and I live 2 hours away . 

Wow, I'm sorry! That is a lot of grief to process all at once 😞

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20 hours ago, Rose Mosse said:

While you’re in the midst of it you think you are strong until it’s too late and you’re struggling like you are now. Keep posting also if it helps. 

 

Yeah, I felt like I was managing for a really long time, but for some reason I feel like the weight of everything is all crashing in on me right now. I think I just feel really helpless in a lot of ways with everything that I can't control, like all the bad things happening in the world and to people I love.

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20 hours ago, SooSad33 said:

maybe try to pick up on something at home, like a hobby ( something else for you to do, not just schooling, I enjoy baking, making soaps, jams & crocheting - I learned on youtube, if you feel you don't have much energy, maybe just grab a colouring book, when I was in a low I did that as well, get lost in a good show or your music, ) .. and remember self care ❤️ . Get your rest, eat well, exercise/ get out for some air, etc.

Thank you, that is good advice. Admittedly, I haven't felt like I have had the energy to do much outside of school due to depression. I should try to do things that could be enjoyable and engaging but also relaxing.

I try to go for walks every day, because I spend so much time in online classes. To be honest though, I'm in the worst shape of my life, despite this. I haven't been motivated to exercise the way I used to, and my diet hasn't been the best. I have been comfort eating, because I feel like it's one of the only enjoyable things left. I'm not getting obese or anything, it's just that I don't pick great options and feel unhealthy. I'm caught in a cycle of making poor lifestyle choices due to stress and mental health and don't feel strong enough to get out of it, I guess. 

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I'd recommend that you actually step away from all the news for awhile. Maybe scan the headlines to roughly have a clue, but stay away from the doom and gloom type stuff. 

Instead, maybe start watching things like healthy cooking recipes/shows so you get inspired in a positive way to do things for yourself that is both enjoyable but also good for you. 

Place more focus on watching/following those that are positive and have a positive influence on you - people who might inspire you, be it just going for a walk when you don't feel like it or making a delicious healthy meal.

Other things that you can do is reorganize things around your apartment. It doesn't need to cost anything. Simply moving decor and furniture in a different way can make you feel refreshed.

If you can, go for drives just for a change of scenery. This also forces your brain to get out of the rut it's stuck on as it has to process new information.

Pick up a hobby that you find either relaxing or fun or both.

Basically, pay a lot less attention to things you don't control and place a lot more effort into the only thing you do control - quality of your personal life, aka self.

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I had really bad Covid-related anxiety, so bad that I had to go on a medical leave of absence from my job and was placed on medication and was seeing THREE doctors.

One thing that really helps me a lot is watching You Tube videos.  I like cats, so I watch this one man who travels around the world on his bike with his tabby cat in the front basket.  You can't be down or anxious while watching that.  Is there something you love?  Music, animals, nature, cooking, art?  Look for videos on a topic you enjoy.

I also make myself go outside.  There's so much beauty in the outdoors.  It also puts me in a much better mindspace.

And do pursue seeking help.  I'm so glad I did.

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4 hours ago, CassieBean said:

I try to go for walks every day, because I spend so much time in online classes. To be honest though, I'm in the worst shape of my life, despite this. I haven't been motivated to exercise the way I used to, and my diet hasn't been the best. I have been comfort eating, because I feel like it's one of the only enjoyable things left.

I get it, been there.. Yes, it can be a real struggle to pull yourself back up there.. So, try to do it gradually, one day at a time.. one week at a time.

Dont think badly because you're not feeling like doing much, be kind to yourself, as mental health can be a real issue for some.

Like I said, maybe just grab a colouring book, binge watch some good shows, music is good, etc. and yes, nature & some fresh air.  Even be outside for a 5 min walk or sit out for some air, etc.

Same with what you eat.  Yes, many comfort eat or don't eat at all, due to anxiety.  I am eating much better now, but of course I'll grab a chocolate on occasion.  I totally avoid chips & pop. But, I eat salads a lot and chicken- avoid breaded, coated foods.

Give it all time and yes, seek some prof help to help you get through your troubled times.

One day at a time.. TC  ❤️ 

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8 hours ago, CassieBean said:

 It takes ages to get appointments because everyone's mental health sucks right now.I have tried therapy in the past through Better Help

😞

School councellng and online therapy are not effective for severe depression.

You need to make an appointment with a physician for an evaluation of your physical and mental health.

You need to rule out physical issues first. For example, metabolic or neurological issues.

Once your physical health is cleared discuss your depression and anxiety and ask for a referral to a qualified therapist for ongoing support.

Online therapy and school councellng is for some minor problems and temporary support. 

When you help yourself appropriately, you'll finally start to feel better. 

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11 hours ago, CassieBean said:

Yes, I get free counselling through school. It takes ages to get appointments because everyone's mental health sucks right now. I need to try to make another appointment with one. I have tried therapy in the past through Better Help, with limited results. I have also tried in-person therapy with various therapists. I don't know why it doesn't usually work for me. I'm open to the process, and want to work through my issues. 

Wow, I'm sorry! That is a lot of grief to process all at once 😞

Thanks. I would encourage you as well to see your GP and get blood work done to see if there are any medical issues and if they deem ok maybe start medication for depression and anxiety and get long term supportive counselling. 
 

 I would also encourage going to outside. When my husband and I go on hiking trips I definitely mentally feel a lot better after . 
 

Write more if it helps . 

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 1/18/2022 at 6:15 PM, boltnrun said:

I had really bad Covid-related anxiety, so bad that I had to go on a medical leave of absence from my job and was placed on medication and was seeing THREE doctors.

Yes, I really struggle with this too. Contagious viruses are one of my biggest fears, so this pandemic has really been my worst nightmare come true. I have horrible covid anxiety. And, because I take care of my dad who is extremely immune compromised, every single little decision I make has so much weight/anxiety attached to it. Every time I go into a store, I wonder if that will be the time I get covid and accidentally bring it back to my dad. It's really ruining my life. I can't bring myself to see friends, or work with the public. I'm so isolated and lonely. I know that most people would say to continue to see friends, or that it's ok to get a job working with the public if I take proper covid precautions, but my anxiety over it just really limits my ability to actually do those things. 

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On 1/18/2022 at 9:55 AM, tattoobunnie said:

YOU ARE NOT ALONE!!!  I am very sorry to hear about your situation.  COVID has been so completely isolating for many, and many are still not right even though some places have been opening back up.  

Thank you. Yes, I realize a LOT of folks are really struggling due to COVID. It's completely flipped everyone's lives upside down.

 

On 1/18/2022 at 9:55 AM, tattoobunnie said:

I know many people who've had success, nurses, medical professionals, essential workers, who still work, and have someone fragile at home.  I know this is touchy, so I won't go into it, but get vaccinated...it does help some to not pass it on.  

Yeah. I'm double vaccinated and just received my booster yesterday. But because omicron is so contagious and the vaccines don't offer sterilizing immunity, my anxiety about contracting COVID remains really high despite being vaccinated. I also wear N95s anytime I have to go anywhere. I do what I can to protect myself and my family, but I still feel like such a mess, despite controlling the things I am able to. 

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On 1/19/2022 at 2:05 AM, Wiseman2 said:

School councellng and online therapy are not effective for severe depression.

You need to make an appointment with a physician for an evaluation of your physical and mental health.

You need to rule out physical issues first. For example, metabolic or neurological issues.

Once your physical health is cleared discuss your depression and anxiety and ask for a referral to a qualified therapist for ongoing support.

Online therapy and school councellng is for some minor problems and temporary support. 

When you help yourself appropriately, you'll finally start to feel better. 

I don't know. I've already been through that whole thing with doctors. I've been diagnosed with depression and generalized anxiety disorder, and was on medication for these things a while back. I worked really hard to get off meds though, and would prefer to not go back on them.

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6 minutes ago, CassieBean said:

Thank you. Yes, I realize a LOT of folks are really struggling due to COVID. It's completely flipped everyone's lives upside down.

 

Yeah. I'm double vaccinated and just received my booster yesterday. But because omicron is so contagious and the vaccines don't offer sterilizing immunity, my anxiety about contracting COVID remains really high despite being vaccinated. I also wear N95s anytime I have to go anywhere. I do what I can to protect myself and my family, but I still feel like such a mess, despite controlling the things I am able to. 

Are you receiving professional help for your anxiety?

I never would have made it through without the help of my primary doctor, psychiatrist and psychologist. I also was on meds for nearly a year.

Now, I am able to dine indoors, go shopping and see friends. I still have what I call "protocols" I follow (including a full scrubbing shower after I return home from dining or shopping), but at least I am able to do those things. A year ago I would not have been able to.

ETA, I see you are med resistant. Would you rather stay in this constant state of fear and anxiety? Or utilize meds to help you through?

Edited by boltnrun
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9 hours ago, CassieBean said:

I've been diagnosed with depression and generalized anxiety disorder, and was on medication for these things a while back. I worked really hard to get off meds 

That's ok. If you had unwanted side effects or they weren't helping, you can discuss this with your physician.

A psychiatrist may help to better diagnose your symptoms and offer more targeted treatment with fewer side effects and better efficacy.

Right now all you're doing is feeling paralyzed and doing a lot of help-rejecting-complaining, which in itself is a symptom of depression.

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On 1/28/2022 at 3:24 PM, boltnrun said:

Are you receiving professional help for your anxiety?

I go to counselling once a month through the university wellness department. I do exposure therapy for anxiety stuff (for instance, I used to never be able to go into stores, and it was about a year into the pandemic that I was finally able to see a friend at a distance outside). Now I can do those things, although I still get very uncomfortable at times. My anxiety stems from passing on the illness to my dad or someone else who is vulnerable, and less about getting sick myself.

On 1/28/2022 at 3:24 PM, boltnrun said:

ETA, I see you are med resistant. Would you rather stay in this constant state of fear and anxiety? Or utilize meds to help you through?

I don't want to stay in a constant state of fear and anxiety, no. I also don't believe that medication is the only answer to these issues. I've had limited results and terrible side effects with medication (and I have tried numerous kinds). I don't identify as "med resistant" because I have tried them, and have been open to them in the past. I was able to replace them by exercising (cardio) and there have been numerous studies that have shown exercise to be as efficacious as antidepressants for clinical depression. The problem now is that I have sunk so deep that I've lost the motivation to do the things that I know have helped me get out of depression in the past, so I need to figure out how to kickstart myself back to prioritizing my mental health and wellness. To be honest, one of the things I've been considering is dropping down to part-time at school so that I have more time to focus on myself, and so that I feel less overwhelmed and stressed. Full time online schooling is exhausting.

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If you think dropping down to part time will help, then maybe give that a shot.  Would that impact your ability to make use of the counselling services?

If what you've been doing isn't working perhaps it's time to try something new.  My therapist years ago pointed out that I can't possibly be of any help to anyone else if I'm not in a healthy place mentally.

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19 hours ago, CassieBean said:

The problem now is that I have sunk so deep that I've lost the motivation to do the things that I know have helped me get out of depression in the past, so I need to figure out how to kickstart myself back to prioritizing my mental health and wellness. 

I am so sorry you are going through this.  I can relate to some of what you've shared and echo the fact that you are not alone.

Times like this we don't wait for the motivation to come over us to do something that we know is beneficial.  We do it anyway and the reward for having done it motivates us to do it again. There are days I am grumbling dirty words while tying my shoes laces to go for another mind numbing walk around my neighborhood.  Sometimes I switch it up and drive to the beach to walk.  It feels like I am swimming against the current.  It's the last thing I feel like doing, but I am always glad I did it. 

I keep telling myself that this will pass. . but g* damn it all, it keeps coming in waves.  It's hard to be optimistic anymore.

When I do see friends, I have nothing to share.  It's as if I've lost my social skills.  There was a hilarious skit on Saturday night live about this very thing.  A room full of people being awkward.  It at least made me laugh at the dilemma a lot of us have in common.

Hang in there . .It won't always be like this

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