A Letter to Those With Mental Health Struggles

(Picture: Lima, Peru by Kyla Alexandre)

Dear Friend,

Times are tough, I know. I know these times are especially hard on you. Being left alone with our thoughts with no set and stone routine is a recipe for disaster. There are a few things I want you to know:

First, it is okay if you are not doing well. The coping mechanisms you could have used to make this whole thing easier on you mentally are probably inaccessible. Living in isolation forces you to adapt to new ways of functioning and coping. I want you to know that it is okay to struggle. It is okay if your anxiety is more active than ever, that your depression is harder to combat, and any other condition you may face is stronger than it has been. Know you are not alone. It is a struggle, especially because a lot of the time coping mechanisms come from being around people and using them as distractions. That has been taken away from you and puts you in a bind.

Second, change is good for you. I know that I am the last person to advocate for change, but I promise you that this experience will change who you are forever. Look to the bright side, at the end of all of this you will find new coping mechanisms AND end up a lot stronger than you thought you were. You have no choice but to adapt to the new ways the world is putting us through. The adaptations you have to make to the way you cope proves to you that you can handle anything that comes at you. 

You are going to have good days and you are going to have bad days. In a span of a week, I went from being unbelievably anxious to the next day feeling really good and happy. It is going to swing back and forth and that is okay. Take advantage of the good days and work really hard to pull out of the bad days. On those bad days, find new distractions such as music, a new show, a new activity, call a friend, something. You are going to have to be resourceful and think outside of the box. Even though we are locked up, phones still exist. Call someone who you feel comfortable enough around to vent to. If you can make yourself feel even a little bit better, I would call that a win. 

I don’t know about you, but the source of a lot of my anxiety this past month has been the extreme unknowns. How do you cope with that? Not knowing when life will pick back up again. Create a schedule for yourself. Everyday have a routine for you to do and have certain activities and to-dos lined up and ready to go. This gives you a purpose and works as a distraction. Set goals for yourself. What have you always wanted to do but never had the time to do it? You have plenty of time on your hands to dive into something new. Set goals for you mentally, start small and get bigger. The more you can prove to yourself, the better you will feel. The more you can prove that your mind does not have control over you, the stronger you become at fighting it off. 

Remember that you are never alone. No matter how isolated you are, you have access to so many people across the internet. Your friends are still there, just not next to you physically. Make an effort to reach out to the people who make you feel best. Surround yourself with positive energy, starting with positivity within yourself and then branching out to others. I have noticed that a change in my mindset has made a huge difference. I know it is hard, but look for the good in this situation. A lot of good can come out of something as bad as a pandemic

  • We are learning that a lot of people can actually telecommute
  • The planet is seeing positive impacts from people not engaging with it as heavily as we normally do
  • Coming out of this, we are going to be more resourceful and appreciative of everything we took advantage of

My last note before I go, write everything down. Everyday, or every few days, document things. Write down how you feel, things you have done, things you have learned, things you have seen in the news. We are experiencing history and will get to tell the story to the generations that come. Documenting this experience not only gives us something to look back on, but it also allows us to face the things going on in our head. It acts as a release to all of the craziness we are experiencing. 

You WILL be okay, I promise. Please just hang in there and feel free to reach out to me if you need someone to talk to. And of course as always, stay vibin!

Sincerely,

Kyla 

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