I Am Not Okay…
As we round the 30-day mark of this quarantine, with no end in sight, I need a favor from my B2B lovies! I’m going to need you to stop what you’re doing and pick up the phone. Face time, send a Zoom or Goggle meet invite or even just pop up 6 feet from the front door and yell their name till they come to the window….who are you checking up on…your family, friend, favorite co worker or neighbor that you know suffers from Depression! Anyone who has been treated for this debilitating illness needs their strong family members or friends right now. Depression is disease that breeds off isolation and detachment. People with real depression already live in a constant state of anxiety, mood swings, despair, and a lot of other physical health problems such as high blood pressure, heart disease and migraines. This quarantine probably has those feelings magnified times a million. Your family or friend is NOT OKAY!
As someone who has been dealing with Depression the last 12 years of my life I’m speaking from experience. Part of my depression is I fret about the future, I doubt the present and I think about what I did in the past that could have deterred the present, I know that’s a mouthful, but people with depression live in constant fear. People with Depression have a hard time regulating their emotions. You add that with being stuck in your home for 24 hours nonstop and you have the recipe for a mental health breakdown.
I worry most about single mothers like myself. My daughter is two and I noticed that I wasn’t equipped enough with the right patience to deal with her, and the minute by minute doings of a toddler. It was in this instance that I felt extremely grateful for the fact that she was in daycare full time 5 days a week and I got my “breaks” to keep me sane. I can say those are the people I will not take for granted once this had died down. Parenting alone is a hard thing to do in general, and its nothing that I’m new too. My capabilities in being a single parent are like superpowers…but the stress, isolation and sometimes the outright anger I feel about certain things has taken my Depression to an uncharted level is my kryptonite! I have had a lot of mini mental breakdowns the last 30 days.
I know there are mom’s and dad’s out there who are feeling this distress and they aren’t sure how to send an SOS in a time where you can't get visitors to your home, you don’t want to go outside to chance getting sick and the walls in your home feel like they are closing in. This is when those people in your life who are stronger than you must step up! This is the time that you find out who really cares for you undoubtedly and unconditionally. If someone knows you. I mean really knows you, they are going to know that the bat signal may not be there, but they are coming anyway.
Here are a few tips that I use when I’m feeling that dreary feeling come over me:
`1. If you are a single parent like myself, I highly suggest sticking to the schedule that your child(ren) are used to, the one the daycare or school put into place. I made the fatal mistake of not doing that the first week & a half, and I got no sleep and was on the edge of insanity from insomnia. Keeping/Putting them on a schedule will allow you to have some free time to clear your head and gather your thoughts. Also get those kid(s) out the house, even if it's just your front door, they need to expel that energy. My daughter loves to play in front of my door, she’s spoiled beyond belief by her Nana who made sure she had a whole outside playground. We also like to just get in the car and ride to get air, no being in contact with people just being away from the house is enough.
2. Do something nice for yourself at least 2 times a day. I personally like to shop. I am lucky enough to still be working from home as well as I have savings. I don’t go insane, but I have treated myself to a few things that make me look and feel good. My biggest investment was a foot spa…get you one if you can. They are $17-19 at Walmart and you can have it delivered so you don’t leave the house. I am also a fan of super-hot showers, as hot as you can stand it. Just let the steam come over you and enter your pores to release the toxins that Depression makes.
3. If “it” makes you cry, makes you feel pain or doesn’t nurture your soul…let it go! I’m not going to give you examples of what “it” is because only you know what triggers your emotions which can trigger your stress and sadness...don’t let it! This world is already in a complicated state, don’t add to it, we are not promised tomorrow. “Live for that in which lives for your”
4. Increase your vitamin C, take vitamins especially Elderberry and get some pure ginger tea. Take all these things daily. Boost your immune system. Depression runs havoc on your immune system and lowers its ability to fight off disease. Personally, I can attest to it. When my emotions are out of whack, I get headaches, body aches, heart palpitations, runny nose and my throat closes from soreness. This is not the time to leave the gate open, COVID-19 is coming for whoever is susceptible. If you take prescribed medication, please adhere to it and don’t allow yourself to run out!
5. Finally, whatever your faith or spirituality is...hold on to it. If you pray, mediate, chat or just need a minute to talk to the universe, do it! Let it all out...do not hold in! It is your right to feel upset, anger, confused, hurt, lost, lonely, betrayed, etc…expel all that negative energy and open yourself up to positive. As God said “And this too shall pass”
Mental health is no joke. Its going to be a serious issue once this quarantine is lifted and people attempt to find a new normal. So I’m once again asking people to just be vigilante in making sure your mental health is intact and those that you know have mental health issues are staying a strong as possible, let them know that you are there to help where you can!
Brandlyn Owens is passionate about exploring and educating herself and others about mental health topics. She's a momma of 2 kiddos and she resides in Durham, NC.