Mental Health and Coronavirus


Alaina Christlieb, Student Editor

Before I start I want to state I take mental health very seriously and have no intentions of disrespecting, harming, or offending anyone in any manner by writing this article. I’m just writing down my thoughts and opinions in the most respectful way I can manage.
Mental health is already a tricky and complicated thing. Then add in a pandemic, oh boy, that’s going to be an experience. Everyone has something, even if it’s the tiniest thing. A little burst of anxiety when you forgot that one assignment, that fleeting thought of self-doubt when you see someone “more attractive” than you, the quick feeling of depression when you weren’t invited to something. Maybe you don’t feel those things, maybe you feel something else, and if you do that’s ok. Everyone is different and interprets things in their own way.
For me, I was alright during the pandemic mentally. I’m not the most outgoing person in the world, so being inside away from people didn’t bother me as much as it might others. At least, that’s what I thought at first. After the first six months of quarantine I started feeling the effects of not seeing my friends, and I really didn’t like it. Part of what helped me was video games (maybe animal crossing), to numb my brain from crippling loneliness. Regardless, everyone has their own way of coping, it’s finding a healthy way of coping that’s the trick.
Finishing this last school year online was a rude awakening to me, and I’m sure many of you, that this pandemic was real and was going to be very stress-inducing. I had this preconceived notion of what high school was supposed to be and that wasn’t it. I feel very fortunate that I wasn’t finishing my last year of school, like the class of 2020. I cannot imagine what they were going through when they were told that graduation was going to be dramatically different. What was supposed to be a joyous occasion became very stress-inducing for them. While Cambridge tried their best with the circumstances that we had all been given, the class of 2020 was still robbed of a coming-of-age milestone.

In speaking with one of the CIHS school counselors:

Q: I asked, “how do you think the pandemic has affected student’s mental health?”
A: I would probably say that anxiety has increased, just a little bit, even if we notice it or don’t notice it. Anytime you’re hypersensitive about washing hands, being clean, or having a mask on and all these rules that are pushed down upon you. A lot of people feel like they have to do that right thing all the time. I think the other thing that’s been really hard is when things change so often…We function best in a routine, kind of like a set schedule. We kinda like to know what’s coming as much as possible. We’re constantly living in this unknown, anxiety-filled, whatever all the time…Then people explode, and they can’t handle it.

Q: How do you think the staff has been affected by the pandemic?
A: In the exact same way. Some adults I think are maybe compartmentalizing it in a different way…Saying it’s fine, it’s not a big deal, kinda brushing it under the rug…Doing that, so that they can try to somehow deal with their own feelings about it and not feel helpless and there’s nothing they can do. Then you add outside factors about what does your family thinks and believes. Politics have gotten thrown into the mix, which seems really silly to me because it’s science. But then there’s always that societal pressure.

Before ending this, I just want to say that if you feel like you’re in a bad place, you have people in your life who will listen, who will want to help you. Try to talk to your friends, parents, other relatives, or the consolers at CIHS. If you don’t feel like you’re ready to talk to a friend or family member about your struggles, write them down somewhere safe.
Most importantly, if you feel like you’re at your breaking point and cannot talk to anyone please call 800-523-3333 or 800-273-8255. These are mental health crisis numbers if you feel like you are at your absolute lowest. Please, stay safe, stay healthy, and always remember that you have people who love and care about you. Thank you for reading.