Well this has sucked. But as countless Instagram motivators and hustlers have said before, you either win or you learn. The entire pandemic has taught me more than I originally bargained for, which I have hopefully elucidated below.
I’m definitely not the first person to say this (it’s becoming a recurring occurrence that I just recycle old sayings and act like I came up with them, quite enjoying it) but the pandemic really made me question my priorities. I am a sucker for the attitude of “it will always be there” whether it’s joining a sports team, starting a new hobby or even just going to the pub.
I’m going to be much more active in keeping that voice quiet, and forcing myself to carpe the diem more, because it can all be taken away at a moment’s notice!
Following on from the above, I’ve always considered myself an introvert who enjoys my own space. Well, the merciless puppet master in charge of the universe decided to play a Twilight-zone style prank on me (because that’s who the world revolves around) and shut me off from the rest of the world. At first, I didn’t think I would struggle with the new normal (sorry), I would just focus on my coding, eat trash and have a jolly old time.
But I quickly found that my mood was terrible and I was grouchy, basically slowly turning into Jack Nicholson in the Shining, but instead of going on an axe rampage, I would just aggressively abstain from washing up. I missed bouncing ideas off people, laughing about stupid stuff at work when you are dog tired at 3pm and meeting up with friends for pints that you regret the next day.
There will be people out there who genuinely did enjoy the solitude of the pandemic and whilst I did find some of it beneficial (my % of time wearing trousers is probably going to skyrocket in the coming weeks, do with that information what you will), I mostly discovered that I need some social interaction to appreciate my own time, so just know if we are socialising together that I am effectively using you like a social vampire so I can enjoy my solitary beer on my couch more later!
Prior to the pandemic, I had never really suffered from mental health problems, and had a pretty warped idea of what it was like to suffer from anxiety. That’s not the case now.
What really stuck out to me was how sneaky these problems can be, even so that you don’t even notice you have them yourself.
I found myself withdrawing more and more, and not enjoying the things that I used to love, but never once thought it was a mental health thing.
It snuck up on me, and even now that I’m a bit better, I still find my mind tricking me into doing things that aren’t good for me, like staying in bed until the afternoon on the weekends or eating a whole tub of Biscoff spread with a teaspoon (although to be fair I used to do that one before the pandemic so that may just be what I’m like).
These struggles with mental health problems actually had some weird benefits in terms of my world outlook.
I became much more empathetic over lockdown due to the invisible stuff I was struggling with, and understanding that the person who may be impatient or acting like a knob in the coffee shop queue may also be struggling with this kind of stuff as well, so I treated them empathetically rather than with disdain, because really who knows what the hell is going on in someone else’s head.
Look at me, I’m basically Gandhi and I’m only 25.