24/7 Hotlines: Call or text 988 or text 741741
On March 18 of 2020, I was in biology learning about photosynthesis. I was 14 and a freshman in high school, studying and meeting new friends in this strange new environment. After all, it had only been a few months that I had been in high school, and I was in the midst of discovering who I was and what this new chapter of my life would be like. An announcement came over the speaker informing us that we would be having a two week vacation due to COVID-19; with many of our ideas of COVID coming from news that we rarely read, the school erupted into cheers and excitement. That day I went home and relaxed, blissfully unaware of what was to come.
I never went back to school that year. As cases increased and the world went into quarantine, so too did I. Suddenly I was thrust into a situation completely foreign to everyone. Online school, being unable to interact with people, and everything being shut down so quickly felt surreal. I spent my days staring at my teachers through a screen, in the confines of my room, alone. I was completely shut off from everything other than my own family for months. As was the case for many, the pandemic changed me forever, in both good and bad ways.
While at first the lockdown seemed like an introvert’s dream, it soon became unbearable. Yes, I no longer needed to worry about where to sit at lunch or dealing with social drama, but I was stuck with something worse: My own thoughts. School gave me an escape from my own mind, making me too busy to delve into my problems or actually let them destroy me. But then school went away, and all I had was me. I developed disordered eating and my depression became unbearable. I let my mind and its thoughts consume me and take up my life. I barely talked to friends, not having much motivation to do so. It was honestly really tough. Isolation is never healthy, but for me it was the catalyst that sent me into a downward spiral.
However, there were definitely some positive things that have come out of my experiences. I developed new hobbies like making jewelry and sewing, both of which are creative outlets for me and healthy ways of dealing with stress. I also grew a lot as a person. As much as the pandemic harmed my mental health, it made me who I am today and I am so thankful for that. When I went in, I was an immature freshmen who was sheltered and naive. From my experiences dealing with my own thoughts as well as with my mom’s sickness and the state of the world, I have become an adult (in the maturity sense). Sure, I was always told I was “so mature for my age”, but the pandemic made me put things into perspective, become more responsible, and discover who I truly am without the influence of anyone. I don’t think that I would be at the maturity level and understanding of myself that I am had the pandemic not happened.
I’m 16 now, and just started my junior year. We are back in school full time and other than wearing masks, things are back to normal. I am still adjusting back to this new world and my new self, but I am hopeful and optimistic. I learned a lot through experiencing the COVID 19 pandemic, both good and bad, but I am taking those lessons with me as I continue my life and recovery.
© 2024 TurningPointCT.org. All Rights Reserved.