Mental Health during the Coronavirus pandemic

As I’m writing this, the 24-hour news cycle is practically in hyperdrive because of the global coronavirus pandemic. Many people are worried right now, but I wanted to talk specifically about those with a mental illness.

Most of the times that I’ve had bad manic episodes, I was somewhat triggered by reading the news too much and “connecting the dots,” so to speak. Reading the news can be scary for anyone, but it can be especially scary for someone who has ever had delusional thinking episodes.

I’m trying to stay very aware of this in these crazy times. I also thought by writing this post, perhaps I would help someone else out there who struggles with the same issues. A lot of people complain the mass media today is prone for fear-mongering. This is partly true. However, someone like my girlfriend or grandfather may be slightly affected by alarming headlines, while someone like me (a person with bipolar disorder) can easily go down the manic rabbit hole of conspiracy theory.

Being careful with media consumption

My point is, if you have been diagnosed with a mental illness and have had delusional episodes before, be careful how much media you consume right now. It’s important to be informed about what’s going on, but there’s not a real need to watch CNN for five hours or spend hours on Reddit.

I’m not a mental health professional, so I’m writing this blog post as more of a perspective of someone living with a mental illness. I’m also writing it as a reminder to myself. It looks like many of us will be spending time hunkered down in our homes, so I’m coming up with some ways to stay mentally healthy, as well as following all the physical/public health guidance that’s coming out right now (wash your hands!)

For now, I’m taking short walks around my neighborhood and keeping up with my meditation practice. Because I’m such an avid reader, I’m also into several good books right now. I’m about a third of the way through Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens – it’s my first time reading both the novel and anything by Dickens, and I’m loving it! My aunt has also written a book of Christian fantasy and I’m about 70 pages into that one. The book is called Rise From the Ashes. I’ve never read C.S. Lewis’ fiction, but I imagine that’s one of the influences for my aunt’s book. It tells a tale of swords, sorcery, fantasy, villainous tyrants, and the warriors who are ought to restore the light of Christ in a dark world.

Stay safe, everyone. For anyone struggling with mental health, remember to practice self-care in these trying times!

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