May 21, 2020
Due to this pandemic, most schools and businesses are shut down, keeping many families at home. This situation is not ideal for some students who suffer from depression and anxiety.
“I can definitely feel there’s some steepness going down to it, where it’s like you can feel yourself slipping back into the darkness that is depression and anxiety,” said Holden Logan ’21.
For Maia DeGrazia ’20, social distancing has brought her back to difficult past experiences. In May of 2019, DeGrazia underwent spinal fusion surgery. She faced a six month recovery process, the first months following the surgery being summer vacation. While many of her peers were away on trips, DeGrazia was forced to remain at home.
“It’s been kind of hard just because the last time I was this isolated was after my surgery [and] those were some really difficult months of my life,” DeGrazia said. “I’m definitely finding myself being taken back to that place with this isolation, which can be really problematic with panic attacks and things because I don’t want to go back to where I was.”
Loads of unknown facts and new information about the virus are constantly floating around the world everyday. According to DeGrazia, this adds another stress factor to students’ daily lives.
“Just dealing with the weight of the rest of the world and hearing about everything going on, it’s really hard to not feel that hurt in your heart, even though it’s not happening to you,” DeGrazia said. “I sort of feel like I have my own issues, but then I’m also feeling very deeply the hurt the rest of the world is feeling.”
Without school bells ringing at precise times prompting students to transfer from one class to another, it can be problematic for those relying on a structured day. This absence of a schedule makes Caroline Mascardo ’22 feel insecure about how she spends her time each day.
“I feel like I am not doing enough, and there are a lot of things that are going on,” Mascardo said. “It’s tough for me to feel satisfied with how I spent the day, if I could have done more or if I wasted time doing something that I could have [spent time] on other subjects.”
On a typical school day, over 1 billion children in the world head to school. Currently, around 91% of students worldwide are staying home from school to prevent the spread of the virus, according to UNICEF. With classrooms empty, students were abruptly handed large amounts of free time. For Logan, as hours pass by, the increased amount of free time turns into boredom.
“Boredom leads you to even darker places, so the main thing that’s been a struggle is trying to keep myself entertained,” Logan said. “Whenever I do get bored, I have to kind of catch myself before I can slip nearly as deep as I used to, which now for me has gotten quite easier, but I still get a little bit into the darkness.”
DeGrazia shares the sentiment that finding motivation and being productive during isolation has been difficult.
“Personally [isolation has] been pretty difficult, I definitely find it hard to get motivation to do anything, [and] I don’t feel a lot of purpose. I want to do things and then I don’t really see a reason why because nothing really seems relevant anymore,” DeGrazia said.
Physical isolation from others has caused DeGrazia to have depressive thoughts more frequently than before.
“When something like this happens, and we are isolated, it’s really, really easy to fall into a depressive state, get very, very anxious [and] spend a lot of time worrying because … if you have anxiety, for example, it’s just your brain is overly productive sometimes,” DeGrazia said.
As the social distancing guidelines are extended and isolation continues into the summer months, Logan worries his condition will become unstable.
“I think it’s gonna be like waves, it’s gonna go up and down throughout this whole thing. I definitely feel like there’s gonna be points where it’s gonna be extremely easy to handle and there’s going to be points where it’s going to be extremely hard to handle, but that’s kind of what you have to learn to deal with,” Logan said.
The pandemic has caused temporary closures of restaurants and schools, and Logan also believes it will reshape society in the long-run.
“There are definitely going to be some societal aspects that are going to change, whether it’s gonna be permanent or temporary. Some of the things like washing your hands more often [and] wearing a mask, that might become more commonplace even after all of this is over,” Logan said.
Due to the outbreak of the virus, upcoming plans and what the future looks like has become a blurry image, especially for seniors who are attending college in the fall.
“I think it’s less about the virus being invisible and more about all the unknowns that come with it and how it’s affecting our daily lives but then also our future. It was really hard when the French trip, which was the one thing I was looking forward to, was canceled, and not knowing if I’m going to college in the fall is really stressful,” DeGrazia said. “We don’t know what’s happening, and so not feeling in control and just not knowing what the future is going to look like is probably the scariest part and the most stressful part, not the virus itself.”