Emma Lazarczyk

Sophomore Mary-Kathryn Wert smiles for a headshot. This was taken shortly after Miege became all in-person.

Sophomore navigates mental health amidst global pandemic

Mental Health is something almost everyone struggles within their lives. I began to really face new struggles along with many others in the U.S. this year. The new stress of the pandemic has only helped worsen the mental health epidemic in our society.

Before the pandemic, I was not very aware of mental health and how it affected me personally. It was one of those things that gets drilled into your mind by people so much, the idea bored me more than anything.

This all changed going into online school and quarantine. Suddenly, I couldn’t see my friends every day or even see people while going out.

The uncertainty gave me so much anxiety. Would I ever be able to see other people in person again? What will happen if I leave the house? These are fears I faced daily, fears that made it hard for me to even get out of bed in the morning.

One of my biggest hurdles was feeling alone. I felt like because I was having these feelings, I wasn’t normal when this was far from the truth. 

Constantly being stuck in the house made it harder to share these feelings with my parents as well because while it was nice to be with family more, as time went on we were all stressed and annoyed suddenly being with each other 24/7. When I gained the courage to talk about it to my friends, I found out I was not the only one. 

The best thing I could do was talk to others and figure out ways to lessen my stress on my own. I tried out so many different things to try and help myself combat these new problems.

One of the first things I attempted to do was meditate every morning. Before COVID-19, I was never really into meditation as it didn’t do much for me. Coming back to it, I found that it was actually useful in relieving the constant heavy weight on my chest.

Maybe it was because before the pandemic, I didn’t put effort into trying to get something out of it, but I found meditating every morning to be very helpful. Of course, I’ve never been the type of person to constantly stick to a routine.

That is why watching shows and movies was a great outlet for me. It was something that I could easily make time for and didn’t have to plan out a time of day to do it.

There was something comforting in being able to escape from the real world through characters on the screen. The emotional connection you create with the characters as well helped to keep me grounded because even if I can’t see anyone at the moment, there will be a time where I can begin to relate to these characters again.

The hardest thing about mental health is that there are no strict ideas put in place. It is all so subjective that you have to take time exploring yourself to see how it affects you and what you can do to affect it.

While it wasn’t the most ideal circumstances, I feel like I know myself now better than I have ever known myself before. I had to reflect on my feelings often and discover what makes me, well, me.

I wish I was able to tell people there is an answer to their problems and mental health struggles, but there is not one true answer. 

I also wish I could say that it will get better immediately, but the road is always winding. What I can say is that trying to explore yourself and your mind can give you a key to discovering what you can do to help yourself.

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