COVID and Other Thoughts

It’s been a while, and to exemplify how long it’s been, I present to you: the new result when I type the letter “m” into my Google Chrome search bar!

Yes, I’ve been playing The Sims and neglecting my responsibilities mightily. And yet, by some miracle, I have transferred from Temple to New York University, where I think I was always meant to be, but circumstances had not lined up perfectly, financially and personally, until now. I’ll be studying a concoction of philosophy, mental health and disability studies, and criminal justice topics, and I couldn’t be more over the moon. I’ll miss Temple and almost everything that came with it, but never fear, my boyfriend and I are sticking it out! Because I know that was at the top of everyone’s priority list…

That’s not to say, however, that the last few months have been easy. Weighed down by interpersonal conflict, trauma attachments, and a depleted Abilify supply, one of the only buoys has been, oddly, the pandemic.

Don’t get me wrong, I am depressed and miserable and awaiting the day that the country opens back up. I forgot to renew my Abilify and went without it for one and a half sickly, ineffective months. Like everyone else, I’ve gained weight and lost friends, but there’s something about the pandemic that I’m sure, if you’re friends with anyone who’s been through serious mental illness and social withdrawal, you’ve heard about.

Isn’t it, sort of, a burden lifted? It’s horrible 99% of the way, and people are really sick and dying, and that is abominable. I can’t fathom being related to someone who has passed utterly alone at a cold, neon hospital. But as with anything, it’s so hard to separate yourself from your own brain stimuli and personal experiences, and part of my COVID-19 experience has been a sense of release-your-shoulders, empty-your-breath, nestle-into-covers relief. 

Suddenly, I’m not the only one struggling to get to class, hand in work, do well on tests. I’m not the only one who has nightmares all the time, dreads checking the scale, and can’t leave bed more often than not. I’m not alone in my constant anxiety and fear, morosity and depression. 

There’s something harrowingly comforting about that. I somewhat hate it, in fact I’d say I mostly hate it, for I don’t like seeing people I love, and people I could love if I met them, suffer for no good reason. The stories depicted on WaPo op-eds rip my heart out. But as someone who’s been suffering in near solitude from a variety of serious mental illnesses for most of my life, I can’t help but feel like I’m a little bit less alone, like maybe the empathy allowance that most others get will be expanded, unlike our tangible stimulus allowances (WARNOCK/OSSOFF 2020!!!). 

Please, get the vaccines out as soon as possible so we can return from this horror. And please, neurotypicals, don’t forget how you felt when you were consumed by emotion that prevented you from performing typical daily tasks, from feeling happiness and joy and freedom. Some of us feel like that when there isn’t a global pandemic. Some of us feel like that when we sleep, eat, and breathe.

I can’t wait to update you all on my NYU life as I try to make my posting a bit more frequent.

Love, Olivia

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