Mental health: you’re not alone


By Zakiyah Gaziuddin, Staff Reporter

In one of my 3 a.m scrolls through Instagram, I landed upon a post of the Sun-Ray Cinema in Jacksonville, Florida, with a marquee that read, “CINEMA CLOSED UNTIL REAL LIFE DOESN’T FEEL LIKE A MOVIE.”  

Living through a pandemic is, naturally, a stressful and perhaps surreal time in everyone’s lives. The toll that a lack of social contact with friends and family and the uncertain nature of the problems we face weighs heavily on many of us right now. As the mantra of staying home and flattening the curve rings on, so does the echo of panic and anxiety. Through these tense times, however, one thing remains clear: we are not in this alone

Art by Charity Xu

With the constant flood of new reports, it can be easy to lose your bearings. In a survey done by Common Sense Media, a reported eight out of ten teens are closely following news on the virus, with 61% reporting concern that they or a loved one will be exposed. While it’s important to stay up to date, and the need to stay informed certainly is understandable, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises to “take breaks from watching, reading or listening to news stories, including social media.” Consuming an overwhelming number of reports can increase already existing anxiety you have about all that’s going on in the world. 

The survey also found that 42% of teens said they feel “more lonely than usual,” with 43% saying they feel “about as lonely as usual.” While the anxiety surrounding us all is to be expected, it’s important that we do not lose hope however far it may seem. We live in a digitized age, and now more than ever, the need for grounding and connection runs high. Our phones can do a world of good, whether it’s to watch a movie over Zoom with your friends, to discover new music, even to simply call up a friend or read that book you never got to.

After over a month of distance learning, many of us may have lost our regular routines. The virus has changed everyone’s daily lives, and the plans we’d set in our minds for years or for months have been upended. We share a collective disappointment in the losses of our milestones —  graduation, prom, sports, internships — as well as the things that once seemed mundane and arbitrary. We must make room for what we feel. 

This is the first immediate global crisis our generation has faced, and it’s new territory for each of us. But we are in this together. In these frightening times, it’s crucial that we tend to the mental wellbeing of each other as well as our own. Don’t pressure yourself to feel as if you need to accomplish something; it’s okay to take this time to breathe. It’s more than enough that you are trying to pull through this. You are not alone.

Zakiyah Gaziuddin can be reached at [email protected]