How Mental Health Suffers During the Pandemic

I’ve been staying home since mid-March, 2020. I had a trip to stay with family during October, but was pretty isolated and wore a mask. After both parents caught covid while I was there, I knew that I needed to go back to my quarantine. I know everyone has different opinions, but this was the choice I made.

Only leaving the house to see a few of my doctors, I’ve remained in my home. I often think about all the doctor’s appointments I’m missing. I need to make appointments with a sleep apnea doctor, an allergist, and gynecologist. The doctors that I have seen are: general practitioner, rheumatologist, dermatologist, and dentist.

As a chronic illness survivor, I’ve basically been home-bound since 2015. During this time, I quickly learned that there was no need to be upset about having to rest. Although I miss my old normal life, it was important that I become content with doing what my body was able to do. Having this life of fatigue, pain, and other symptoms was going to be my new normal.

There have been plenty of things to do at home that help to give me purpose. Blogging has been a huge joy, because it keeps me busy and I love the community of readers. You’ve all been a great encouragement to me.

I must confess that my mental health has been affected by the long quarantine. One of my children lives so far away that we haven’t seen him for a year and a half. This has been something that has caused me so much grief. Talking on the phone, texting, and even facetiming just aren’t the same as being there and giving him a hug.

Don't Give Up

Another source of stress is the world and all the problems in it. I want to get the vaccine and get back to normal, but the one that’s available has had problems for people like me. The anaphylaxis following the vaccine applies to me because I have anaphylaxis fairly often. Having Mast Cell Activation Syndrome means that I’m going to react to all kinds of things.

I am hoping that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will be available by the time I’m allowed to get the vaccine. In Kansas, I’m in stage 3. This one is not a mRNA vaccine, from what I can see. But, I’m still worried about reactions.

Lately, I’ve had more days when I’m feeling down. On these days, I just want to get in the car and go see my children. I want to go out to eat. These are the times I get angry. Life feels unfair. I don’t want to be stuck indoors because of the pandemic. Chronic Illness has caused me to isolate even before the pandemic. So, that’s just another way that I feel chronic illness has ruined my life.

I hate feeling like that and I don’t want to get down. Having these feelings can be caused by so many things. Being isolated is a surefire way to get depressed. All of us who are chronically ill know all about it. As we’ve lost our health, we’ve also lost our independence, some of our friends, and many of our activities.

I also know that not being able to take pain medicine also contributes to depression. Untreated pain causes depression. Because of my kidney numbers going down, I’ve stopped taking Ibuprofen. That was the one addition to my pill regimen that allowed me to lower my pain. It helped to stop my headaches and made my back pain tolerable. Without it, my pain levels have gotten bad.

Ehlers Danlos pain, sciatica pain, arthritis pain, and neck pain are so much worse now. The Ibuprofen was really helping my overall inflammation. But, now it’s gone, and all this pain is worse.

I do have an appointment with a new pain doctor, but her earliest available appointment is in June. So, thinking that this huge amount of pain is now my new normal again, is making me feel depressed.

Bible

I’m re-committed to doing as many things as I can to improve my mental health:

  • Doing nothing – putting down the screens and just being
  • Essential Oils – using the essential oil blends that I got from my wellness coach
  • Adding beauty to my surroundings – I got a few small plants, turned on my water fountain, and lit a candle
  • Dressing up – replacing some of my sweats with actual pants and a nice top
  • Praying – telling God how I feel and asking Him for help and peace
  • Making an appointment to see my wellness coach – we can talk over all types of things
  • Trying to learn new things – not giving up on learning photoshop (ugh)
  • Getting a backrub – Not feeling guilty for asking for a massage when I need it
  • Reading books with a happy ending – that’s easy to do with my new book blog
  • Doing the tiniest amount of exercise – do as much as your body will tolerate
  • Reminding myself that this quarantine won’t last forever!

Are you having worse mental health during the pandemic? What do you do that makes it better? If you are suffering mentally during the pandemic, please ask for help. Call your doctor, who can get you in to see a counselor. There is help out there and you deserve it. Take care of yourself.

@2020, copyright Lisa Ehrman

Disclaimer: I’m not a medical expert. This post only contains my opinion and is not intended to be taken as medical advice. If you have a medical concern, please consult your personal physician.

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