Mental illness doesn’t care that there’s a viral pandemic. During these weeks, it seems that there is almost a competition for who is struggling the most. It is difficult to determine what area of the world, what age group, or what occupation we should be giving the most sympathy to because right now, virtually everyone is hurting.
This past couple of weeks have been an absolute whirlwind of emotions for all of us. Sudden breaks in our normal routines certainly are a difficult thing to manage. On top of that, we are constantly being confronted by an overload of information on the news and social media. As strange as it sounds, during this season, what is real and what persists becomes more and more apparent. Something that is still real, even during these days that feel like an alternate reality, is mental illness.
Mental illness doesn’t “pause” in a pandemic
Especially as a college student, mental health is something at the forefront of my mind— I have struggled with it, and I have seen friends and family struggle. Nearly everyone is going through or has struggled with something, whether they’ve spoken about it or not. But now, more than ever, mental illness is extremely important to keep in mind, because it will not stop or “pause” amid a viral outbreak.
Spending a lot of time at home, indoors, and with little social contact, makes all of us feel a little more down than usual. For someone who has already been battling mental illness, this “requirement” to stay indoors can be intensely burdensome. Most mental illnesses love isolation; in fact, they thrive off of limited social contact and feeling a lack of a support system. Anxiety, worry, and fear also prosper in environments of ambiguity and uncertainty—precisely the environment we are all living in right now.
With the whole world essentially “on pause”, you might have fewer resources to deal with whatever it is you are going through. You may feel that your mental struggles must be “put aside” for now, because, the rest of the world appears to be falling apart. And above all, as a Christian, you may be having some deep faith questions: where is God through all of this?
You still have support during this time
Here is the good news: your mental health and support do not have to go “on pause.”
We recognize and know that your mental illness is unbothered by the world’s state right now— it will potentially even become exacerbated through this. We just want to say that your mental health cannot and should not be put on the back burner during these stressful weeks.
Continue taking steps to care for yourself in the ways that you can— get outside, continue to speak with your therapist if possible, and continue to add in additional self-care and support. We encourage you to nurture your spiritual health through personal prayer, bible reading, listening to your favorite worship music, and reaching out to others for virtual group prayer. Take care of yourself and remember to connect with the people that you love.
We at Mercy want to be a resource for you. If you are struggling with heightened anxiety, depression, or other mental illness, we would love to pray for you and equip you during this time! Please continue reaching out for support, because mental illness doesn’t just stop in a pandemic.