Dealing with mental health during a pandemic can be extremely challenging. We are surrounded by extreme isolation and are often stuck with our thoughts. Resources are not always available to us. People have lost their jobs because of Covid-19 and therapy costs money, and insurance does not always cover the cost of therapy.
I have tried the route of getting help through therapy. Here was my experience through telehealth services which my therapist provided. I was never in a comfortable position through therapy, I lied to my therapist about how I was truly feeling. It was extremely difficult to truly explain my problems through a screen. The cost of the service for the reality of a screen was not worth it as a college student. I was getting nowhere as a client. My lack of comfort resulted in my therapist telling me to meditate, which I laughed at initially. There was no way I was going to meditate and my problems will go away. I understand therapy takes time, but with Covid-19, I have had nothing but time. I was isolated and at a severely low point in my life. Therapy was not helping me, it was not the best option at the time.
Now, I am in no way saying therapy is unuseful for everyone. I completely understand people who have made progress with therapy. However, there are always stigmas when discussing mental health. One of which being, therapy is the only way to help mental health issues. This is simply not true.
Mental health varies on so many levels. Sometimes, medication will help people with mental illnesses through life. Other times, therapy can be the right way to address mental health.
My progress came from new coping mechanisms. I began to write again, in high school I used poetry and narrative writing to help process my emotions. I found a way to deal with my biggest stressors without hurting myself or pushing away the people I love. When I started writing, I became motivated to function normally again. I also used my personal favorite coping mechanism, I chose to dance out my stresses. These both have the same effect as meditation and mindfulness, however, they fit my individual needs and comfort levels. It can be seen in other people that coping mechanisms are an alternative to therapy. Many people use other forms of art, it can be seen in tattoos, dying hair, paintings, sketches, makeup, and more. These are healthy ways to push your energy in other places. Other healthy coping mechanisms can be seen in exercise such as a sport, working out, or going on a walk. Sports can be difficult to come around in the pandemic, however, there are still individual activities that can benefit a person's mental health.
We are currently feeling massive spikes of isolation. There are ways to feel less isolated without putting others at risk of Covid-19. These ways are not perfect, but something is better than nothing when struggling with mental health. Using FaceTime or Zoom calls to keep in touch with people who care about you can be so helpful. If someone truly cares about you, they will listen to you and ask what they can do to help you. A simple phone call can be enough to save someone's life. This is how I made it through the past few months. When life got extremely difficult with stressors, I called my family or my best friend. I did not turn to therapy even though I knew it could help me and I am doing okay now.
Therapy is an extremely healthy choice for people who need it and are comfortable with the idea, but there are other ways to cope during a time like this. Don't be ashamed of whichever choice you make. Don't let society dictate how you treat yourself when the world feels like it is falling apart. Sometimes, therapy isn't always the best option.