Emotional Independence

Like many people, I struggled with my mental health through quarantine. I was very unproductive and was constantly distracting myself with my phone. I developed bad physical and mental habits. I felt angry over quarantine at myself and the people around me. I was afraid to express this anger and my feeling of anxiety and stress because I knew my family members and friends were dealing with their own problems. It bothered me to see myself drifting away from friends because we were more isolated and long-distance over quarantine. Even now, I’m still away from the relationships I’ve built on my college campus. There are things that happen with my friends from college that I don’t understand because I’m not there to experience them. Therefore, we don’t share the deep friendships and talks we used to. 

Because of the situations of this past year, I have grown more than I thought I could. I learned to depend on myself to solve problems and not feel angry or hurt when others aren’t concerned or as concerned as I thought they would be about me. When people do show concern for me, I feel more grateful than I had before. I can handle my thoughts by myself. At first, I was overwhelmed with everything I was feeling and having no one to share them with. Journaling helped with it.

One of the biggest things that have helped, though, is working out. In quarantine, my motivation for schoolwork, hobbies, and other activities decreased and I didn’t know how to solve that. Watching trainers online work out with me and encouraging me made me develop more positive thoughts about myself. I started to get my “do it” attitude back whereas before I tended to scare myself out of doing things. My body felt less achy and cold all the time and I started to feel more confident about my appearance. I also stopped turning to unhealthy foods to ease my negative emotions. 

I still feel alone, sad, and even a little angry sometimes, but I’m glad I’ve found a way to function and progress on my own. Everything’s not back to normal like before the pandemic, but I feel like I am moving toward becoming a person that I am proud of again. However, I have new worries because I’ll have to return to my college campus again soon. My school is in the city and there isn’t a lot of space. I worry that I won’t find a private space to workout, since I dislike going to the gym. Last year before the pandemic, I sometimes worked out in my room but it was very crowded and unmotivating for me. Overall, I worry my progress will be undone and I’ll go back to the way I was. It makes me dread moving back to school.

Have you felt anything change about yourself over the course of the pandemic and past year – whether it’s good or bad? What concerns do you have about the next transition into life similar to that before the pandemic?

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