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Being mentally ill and unable to leave your home because of lockdown is incredibly difficult.
It is especially hard if you are stuck with abusive people who enjoy making you even more depressed and upset.
I don’t have a good answer on how to live with abusers but I think I figured out a way to not kill myself. Listen, if surviving lockdown is the only thing you do this year, you’ve won.
I didn’t become more productive or smarter or more successful in the past year and a half. But I did learn how to play chess and I rewatched Dexter and Friends… three times, each.
My tips for surviving lockdown are easy, doable and mostly free.
One thing I learned from this pandemic is that privileged people have absolutely no idea of how unlike the rest of the world they are.
I’m sure it was stressful being stuck inside their house and not being able to meet with their friends, but I bet having a pool, a nanny and five bedrooms helped to ease their pain.
For many of us, it has been constant suffering, for a few it meant death. The amount of people who committed suicide is excruciating and I wish we had a map before COVID hit that would help us navigate it.
We just weren’t prepared. All the information we gathered from the previous virus outbreaks did absolutely nothing.
Maybe the next pandemic will go better and fewer people will die from it. Who knows, right? But we first need to get through this one and do what we can to make the situation less upsetting.
Here are tips for surviving lockdown if you are mentally ill:
- Start training your mind today.
Practising mindfulness in stressful situations makes a big difference in how you feel and approach the problem.
I already meditate but if I knew I would be prohibited from leaving my home because I might catch a virus and die, I would do more. Or less. You know, practise non-attachment more, and expose myself to situations that truly test me.
You’ve heard me talk about the Waking Up meditation app and how much I love it. I stand by that still. I believe that observing your mind and training it can help us tremendously when unexpected things happen.
We cannot change the world but we can train ourselves to handle whatever life throws at us. That doesn’t mean we will never get stressed, scared or angry again. It just means we will not get crushed to death by them.
Hopefully, when the next lockdown happens, you and I will be ready and calm.
- Take care of your health.
Although healthy people died too from the Coronavirus, it was more of a deadly virus for those with pre-existing health problems.
Heart problems, diabetes, obesity, cancer… The sicker you were, the more chances of dying you had. While we cannot prevent many of these illnesses, we can prevent some. We can also just take care of ourselves because we want to feel good.
And even sick people can adopt healthy habits if they are able to do so.
Start eating more plants, move your body, stop abusing drugs and alcohol, do not smoke, go to your doctor for regular checks, and make sure to be vaccinated.
These are the basics and nothing scary like what Olympic athletes do to prepare for a competition. You already know them and have perhaps done them in the past. Try them again, see how good you’ll feel!
- Get your finances in order.
This is my number one goal. It has been for a while.
In the past, I had made very poor financial decisions because of my mental health, and at one point I had to declare bankruptcy because I couldn’t pay back 2000€. At that time this felt like a million to me, and even today that is more than I can afford to have in debt.
Now, I am debt-free but only a newbie at this whole how the fuck should I handle the money course I am taking. Budgeting? Investing? Saving for retirement? Sure.
You know very well how relaxed and happier you are when all your bills are paid, food is on the table, and you can go to the cinema at least once a month. I don’t want to be happy and poor instead of rich and unhappy, as some joke about.
I want to feel safe and secure when shit hits the fan again. I love Nicole Lapin and her book Rich Bitch, but you can start anywhere. Really, anywhere. Just begin.
We will figure this out together because want it or not, money makes the world go round.
If you need support, do not hesitate to reach out to me.
- Find a community of people to whom you can talk to.
Loneliness was one of the biggest killers during the lockdown.
People go mad when they lose touch with other humans. We are social animals and that means we only thrive when in a community and surrounded by those we love.
Start creating your own family now. Find your tribe or however people call a group of friends today. Be in a loving relationship with those whom you can reach out to, call in the middle of the night, and those you can care for as well.
Go out in the world. Surf the web. Reach out. Ask to be introduced to other individuals like you. Join a club. Write an email. Make a call. Send snail mail. Knock on the door.
I know just how difficult this pandemic has been for billions of people. We lost lives, jobs, communities and minds.
Knowing what you could’ve done this time will be helpful for the future. Not just the health aspect, but how to financially prepare better and what foods to have at home.
There are way too many lessons to learn from COVID to just skip ahead or pretend nothing happened. We shouldn’t want to go back to how things were, but instead, seek ways to improve ourselves and our society.
We got this.