Being Bipolar in a Time of Quarantine

Mental illness is already hard to navigate but add a pandemic into the mix, and you have a recipe for disaster.

My Bipolar diagnosis came about two months after the pandemic began, and it has not been easy since. The high and lows I experience daily have been challenging, and being in quarantine has not helped.

Mental illness causes a sort of detachment from the rest of the world. Being Bipolar, I already feel mentally secluded, but now that there’s a physical component, I feel completely isolated.

Most days, simply getting out of bed is hard. Willing myself to get up, have my coffee, brush my teeth, and get ready for the day ahead is a challenge. I have to force myself to function.

You wake up with the clear objective of getting from point A to point B, craving the end of the day where you can roll back up into your blanket burrito and shut out the rest of the world.

Most days, you aren’t living; you’re surviving.

You’re holding on to the smallest moments of happiness in hopes it’ll motivate you to get through the day. You’re left waiting for an ounce of normalcy to return. You crave routine because when your mental health is in decline, a routine is so important. It provides stability in the midst of chaos.

When Covid-19 hit back in March, my introverted self was excited at the prospect of working from home. I thought the time to myself would deem beneficial, and in a few weeks, when all of this was said and done, I’d come out feeling rejuvenated. But a few weeks turned into a month, and a month turned into three, and suddenly we’re almost at the one-year mark.

I miss going into the office, seeing my coworkers, and chatting with people while getting my morning cup of coffee. I miss the commute and the energy of New York City. I miss being able to hang out with friends and family without fearing for their safety. I miss the simple things.

But here we are, in the middle of a pandemic with no clear end in sight. So what do we do? I have absolutely no idea. I could say meditate, do yoga, practice gratitude, and every other cliché in the book, but will that help? In the beginning, all of those things were powerful tools I kept in my belt, but as the months dragged on, hopelessness began to outweigh any positives that came from them.

It’s a scary feeling, hopelessness. It’s a powerful emotion that can derail any progress made; it’s the antidote to success. And that’s why this pandemic hit everyone so hard; it’s left us all with a feeling of hopelessness.

So how do we cope? That’s a hard question to answer, as even I am unsure how to cope with the lack of normalcy Covid-19 has left us with.

So I write. I write about my experience in hopes someone relates to it because you’re not alone in your feelings. For many of us, this pandemic has wholly derailed the progress we’ve made. It derailed me completely.

Before the pandemic, I was on track to success. I got a new job, worked out five days a week, went on adventures with my boyfriend, and finally felt as if I found my groove. But things change, and you either evolve with it or fight against it.

So I ask what you’ve found helpful during this strange, unprecedented time because I’m tired of fighting and could use all of the advice I can get.

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