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May 1, 2020
By Jenny Sichel
Every night for the past two months, I have left my bedroom window open, because every morning the birds sing and remind me that there are still some things which have not changed.
Around me, everything seems to be shifting and mutating. Sometimes it is challenging to grasp a piece of solid ground or a bit of legitimate information. Usually, my Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder takes time to create a chaotic atmosphere of anxiety in my mind that fades into oblivion at my command. However, with the added stresses that are circulating continuously in the world right now, these depressive thoughts, have become more frequent and faster forming. Constantly escalating my anxiety levels are questions like “Will I ever get to row again with my friends?” or “Will my parents stay healthy during this outbreak?”. The unknowns have manifested themselves in my racing heart and sweaty palms.
With the murky fog of depression looming, I, like many of my peers, have had to figure out ways to adjust. For me this involves the realization that, although much of my life is unsettled, many parts of my world are still living and thriving. Spring is here, right on time as per usual. And like clockwork, the birds chirp every morning outside of my window. The rain still feels cold when I go for my walks and my bed still feels cozy and warm every night. Eventually, society will be back to some resemblance of normal and I yearn for that day. But until then, my mind takes solace in the fact that despite so many unknowns and so much change, some of life is still predictable.
As a part of the LINK20 movement, I have seen how sharing one person’s experiences can change another person’s life. This is especially true when it comes to mental health because of the major stigma surrounding it that prevents people from speaking out or seeking help. When I first started talking about my OCD, I was afraid of judgment and worried of rejection, but I ended up receiving support and love. This helped propel me to seek treatment. I’m now confident enough to share my experiences with friends, family, and my LINK20 community, with hopes that I can touch another person’s life.
During these challenging times, it is imperative to let each other know that we are not alone. Many people are having a difficult time coping and we need to make sure that we do not push away anyone because of their disability.
If you are worried to talk about your mental health challenges or something you are going through, just know that there are people out there who will 100% support you. Speak about it, write about it, draw, paint, express, do whatever you need, to stay mentally healthy, but most of all just know that you are not alone.
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