COVID-19 and Mental Health

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There is no denying that the COVID19 pandemic is having a huge impact on the whole country. For those who already have mental health issues this can have a significant impact, however it may not always be what you would expect.

I have BPD and Bipolar and regularly have suicidal thoughts. I have a plan for how I would end my life, but no intentions to act on these thoughts. For me, just having this plan in place is a comfort of sorts. I have also come to realise that it is comforting for me because I crave control. Control of my life, and control of my death. I like routine. I like to know what is happening and when. I don’t like surprises, and would much rather read TV show spoilers than have to wait. I no longer drink alcohol, despite being a borderline alcoholic at one point when I was younger. I stopped drinking for medical reasons initially, but now I realise I don’t drink because I don’t like the feeling of not being in control. With my mind and my body. (My mouth has a life of its own already – it doesn’t need alcohol in the mix!) I don’t like that I couldn’t just hop in the car and drive somewhere, be it an emergency or just because i can.

To come back to the COVID19 situation, I am overwhelmed with my feelings at this time. They are born out of uncertainty. All of my comfort blankets have been removed. There is no end date. No idea when this lockdown will be over and we can return to some form of normality. I don’t know whether J will be able to work from home or potentially lose his job. I don’t know what money we will have coming in, whether i can pay the bills, or when I will next see my parents. It’s already been almost 3 weeks and my heart is breaking because I miss them so much.

The biggest change in uncertainty though is when I will die. I mean, I know that there is always the chance I will drop dead of an aneurysm or be hit by a bus, but the chance of death is significantly increased, and I have no control over it. It wouldn’t be the painless way I have planned in my head, or of a date of my choosing. I may not get a chance to say goodbye, and do everything I want to do before I die. It has made me write letters to my loved ones ‘just in case’ the worst happens. Then it hit me. While I had and continue to have suicidal thoughts, there is still a part of me that wants to live. That I will do all I can to safe guard myself and my family. To stay alive.

Don’t get me wrong, I still have the thoughts, and I cry most days at the situation because of the lack of control and uncertainty, but ultimately, I want to live. I want to survive. That’s not something i ever thought I would write about.

It’s ok to feel lost, lonely and confused about it all. It’s ok not to homeschool your kids for 6 hours every day. It’s ok to let your kids have more screen time, and to go to bed a bit later or sleep in in the morning (if you’re lucky!) it’s ok to reach out and speak to someone. Friends, family, neighbours, a community group. There is someone there to talk to if you need it.

We just need to stay safe, stay home, and stay alive.