Maintaining mental health during quarantine is hard for everybody. Photo from wikimediacommons.com. 

Trying to keep up with news that is constantly at our disposal, combined with the daily responsibilities and personal problems, is a lot for someone to take in. 2020 has highlighted the importance of mental health, and how to feel in control of your life when the world is falling apart.

As someone who deals with anxiety, the pandemic and issues that come along with it have taken a toll on my mental health. I had stopped going to therapy soon after the pandemic hit. I felt as though my problems were small and unimportant compared to what others were going through. Over six months later, I’ve seen how this way of thinking has affected me negatively in ways I wasn’t aware of. 

This month in particular has been hard as school is ramping up and I have to adjust to online learning while living away from my family. Personally, the need to be academically successful and financially stable while finding a way to relax and have fun on top of being safe during this pandemic has piled on top of the anxiety and sense of lack of control I experience with the problems happening around the world. I often feel paralyzed by my questions on what I can do to make an impact while carrying on my responsibilities. Ultimately, my state of mind made me quite unmotivated to get my work done or feel confident in my ability to academically perform well. 

This past month, I’ve had restless nights when I should be sleeping, thinking about what I could productively be doing, what I should have done that day, or thinking about how I could have worded my response in class better and becoming embarrassed or ashamed of myself. 

I’d be calling my parents constantly to talk about how I’ve been feeling and how stressed I was.

My mom suggested that I check out the University’s Counseling Center, but I kept denying I needed to go. I’d tell myself that next week would be less stressful, but I kept falling behind. My roommate eventually told me just about a week ago that I needed to do something about my stress. 

I went to the University’s website, and searched up counseling. I called and spoke with someone about starting therapy. They explained that they could help in a couple different ways. The Counseling Center asked me if I was looking to find therapy through the school, or a reference to a therapist nearby and offered to help find a therapist that would accept my insurance. The University offers free counseling sessions, so I decided to try that.

The office helped me fill out forms I needed to submit for treatment. I also needed to answer some questions so the center could get a sense of what I was dealing with and how the Counseling Center could help. I was told a psychologist would contact me within the hour to talk to me about scheduling an appointment, what kind of person I would like to meet with and what my experience has been. 

The whole process so-far has felt judgment free and supportive. I start my first session with a therapist I’m seeing on Wednesday and will start working towards a healthier mindset. 

It is okay to admit you need help. It is okay to say you feel stressed out, frustrated, sad or anxious. Admitting you need help is a step in the right direction of learning how to deal with your feelings in a healthy way. The University is here for you. The Counseling Center can help guide you in the right direction to getting the support you need, no matter where you are this semester.