open letter to those struggling with covidepression
No, this is not an article about why you should play Animal Crossing, jog in your house or scream from the top of your lungs in the balcony. It’s pretty obvious that these were first-wave quirks. Now we’re familiar enough with the term “second lockdown” to understand that, even if it may seem hard, there is a bright side in this shitty situation.
I’m not a minimalist neither one of those forever hypocritically-happy gals on YouTube or Instagram. Heck, I don’t even have Instagram, I deleted all my social networks this week. So I think you can trust me, I won’t make your life a hell on earth by obliging you to fill your house with succulents. I’ve had my hard times, mentally speaking, and I can tell you that being happy is worth it.
How, you may ask. How can I be happy. This is a unique situation — a catastrophically new situation, as a matter of fact. Kids in 2050 will learn about us and wonder in the same way we’ve wondered about the black plague. “How could they be happy.” Well, some of us were. Some of the greatest minds managed to mentally survive the plague.
And they were the few ones who changed the world.
When you can’t work on the outer world, then work on your inner world.
That cute and powerful tangle of neurons and synapses. That’s your brain. It is pretty lazy and it can’t handle too many informations at once, but is sure is a pro at recognizing patterns. So if you keep being sad and grudgy and self-critical and angsty then Mr. Brain will think: “Oh so that’s what we do now!” and it will propose you these emotions more. Over and over. Your brain is basically an enhanced YouTube algorithm.
That said, you may want to force yourself to think positively. I like to keep a daily list of things I’m grateful for. Some entries are pretty nice, while others are like: “My dog Rocky licked my tears off my face and it made me lowkey grateful”. So yeah. It’s about opennes, simplicity and naturalness.
Then: self care. Give yourself a pat on the shoulder sometimes. It might seem stupid, but I can assure you it works. Then make sure to take lots of showers. It isn’t useless: even if you don’t have to go out, you can be beautiful for yourself. Maybe you’ll be busied with homework or adult-work, but remember that staying at home lets you save all the time you’d usually spend on the bus or in the underground. Also, try to keep active. Personally, Ring Fit Adventure helped me understand that even if I’m hopeless at sports, it can be fun to try. Lockdown can do wonders. One day you’ve consumed the floor under your gaming chair, the other you’re Mr Olympia (just googled it.) You never know.
But there’s also mental health. You must care for that, too. Whenever you’re feeling down in the dumps try to drown that desperation in a book, or talk to a therapist. It doesn’t have to be a call, you can email some therapists and solve the issue. Creativity is underrated: grab that old guitar that’s collecting dust since 2013 and watch a YouTube video. Just engage in rewarding activities that can recompense your efforts both in the short and the long term.
Last but not the least, DELETE INSTAGRAM!!! Not only is it a drug, but it also makes your self-esteem lower than acceptable. You don’t have to #squat every waking hour. And it’s ok if you are a lesbian who doesn’t listen to girl in red. For God’s sake I listen to Skrillex. Also, influencers doesn’t seem to have ever been in lockdown. And surprisingly, they wake up with a terrific eyeliner and acne-free skin. C’est un rêve. Still, if you look closer, you can see that their eyes are blank.
Keep in mind that I’m an almost-18 years old nerd who spent all her first wave playing video-games. On one hand I’ll shape the post-covid world, on the other I’m a teenager. And I mentally wrote this in the shower. That says it all, actually.
But please, be happy and change the world with me, one smile at a time.
— Cate S.