Through this tumultuous time known as the pandemic, I have been battling a beast.
It’s called Depression. The months of lockdown, the lack of community and humanity, and the lack of compassion for each other sent me slowly but surely into a depression.
At the beginning of this pandemic, it was hard for all of us to cope. We all struggled with grief, loss, and solitude. We sat alone missing our loved ones. We took up knitting, jogging, or some other hobby to get us through the first few months of being at home, but then it became many months, then a year, and here we are three years in and we sit divided on what to do to be there for each other.
Some people got vaccinated, some did not. Some wear a mask, some do not. Some believe it is made-up, some think there are many deaths.
Despite our personal beliefs about this pandemic, I believe in humanity, and keeping others safe should be at the heart of it. We have forgotten to care about our fellow humans. We have become fragmented and frazzled. We have been so busy with struggling to get through that we’ve forgotten to take care of ourselves.
We are all battling a beast, so we need to take care of ourselves and others as if we are at war. This is not a time to shrink and hide, but depression has me there. I want to be strong. I want to thrive through this, but the reality is depression has me frozen in fear and I cannot move. I want to lift a shield and sword, so to speak, and battle this pandemic and my depression like they are beasts that need to be taken down, but here I sit, alone, typing, not with anyone other than myself, again.
I realized I am battling two beasts. I need to battle this depression if I am to make it through year three of this mess. I have realized that this pandemic is also a beast, but my depression is what I need to fight right now.
I need to fight like my life depends on it. I realize some people may think this makes me weak, but I think it makes me brave—brave because I am facing my sadness. I see it; it sees me. I’m drawing the lines. I’m starting the battle. I took a doctor’s appointment.
Right now, I am just sitting with my depression, listening to what it has to say. It comes and goes. It is like a fair-weather friend, but that is okay, because soon I will work my way through it and tackle why this pandemic has me feeling so blue.
Sitting with my emotions, I realize it is telling me to listen. Listen to my heart, listen to my fears, listen to what the pandemic has to teach me. It has taught me that we are more alike than we think. That everyone is human and we are all built for love, for community, for sharing our gifts with the world.
For me, it is sharing my words, and through them I hope that others will realize they are not alone. Even if we just take a walk around our neighborhood, hike a local trail, or just go outside in some way, we can see for ourselves that this world is full of kind humans who are struggling too. When we listen to our emotions and what they have to say, we realize we are safe, we are healthy, and we will be okay.
Personally, I love listening to music and dancing around my house. When my anxiety or depression gets the better of me, I get my sketch pad and lay lines down all over it. I connect them. I shade them. I let my mind wander over the page, barely paying attention, and when I come back to focusing on my art, I am amazed at what my unconscious mind has created.
When I am fidgeting, I take to the kitchen and create art in the pan, and my focus shifts from the stress of the pandemic to the colors and seasonings of the dish. The smells of saffron, the colors of squash, the mix of all the zucchi, and the sound of the sizzle are for me the sound barrier to my anxiousness.
It is when I have no destination in my art, in my cooking, or in my dancing around the house that the flow of anxiousness lets up, without me constantly sitting with my racing mind. When we let our mind flow, we realize we can handle this pandemic, we can listen to our emotions, and we can also move forward each day.
We can all take a step, then another, and soon, we will work through the feelings and move through to the other side a happier, healthier version of ourselves.