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I'm Struggling to Manage My Mental Health in Isolation, A Short Story by Amy Horton

Updated: Feb 25, 2022

For the collection: 'Life in the time of #COVID'

I'm Struggling to Manage My Mental Health in Isolation - Curated Content

Before COVID-19, I would’ve told you that two months of ample time to do what I pleased was my ultimate fantasy.

Time to finally work on my book. Time to figure out how to get out of the dead-end job that is pushing me into a monotonous pit of despair. Time to sit with myself, breathe, and figure out who I really am.

I did not anticipate what actually happened.

I did not anticipate days spent wandering aimlessly outside, doing nothing in particular, grateful simply to breathe fresh air. I’ve been an introvert my entire life, but staying inside my dark and tiny studio apartment with no socialization is torture I’d never choose willingly. Luckily, my community is full of beautiful, wide-open spaces that I’m still free to roam. Without my plentiful hours in nature, my anxiety and depression would drive me entirely mad.

As it is, my mental health took a massive hit. I was already low, going through a devastating breakup and attempting to figure out where my life is headed. While I don’t miss my thankless day job, and I’m one of the lucky people who has steadily received unemployment, I’ve also had to sit with my demons. Alone. All the time. At first I welcomed the opportunity to address the issues that I have only touched upon, issues that relentlessly impede my ability to function successfully as an adult. Then I simply became overwhelmed.

I do the work, the yoga and the meditation and the journaling. I have weekly appointments with my therapist over FaceTime. I exercise and get outside and talk to the people I love. All this, and yet I remain prey to the whims of my own brain. The insomnia surely doesn’t help anything. It’s worse than ever, I’m assuming because my body is no longer fatigued from running around a busy restaurant for nearly forty hours a week. I literally feel as if I’m going insane on multiple occasions throughout almost every day.

As for all that work I supposed I’d get done in this situation? Not happening. I can’t focus in my basement hole of an apartment, where I have no proper workspace. I’d give anything for one single coffee house where I could sit, anywhere, just to get out of here. My massive guilt at the unavoidable fact that I have squandered nearly two months of available time is the final blow to my fragile state of mind. Try as I may to tell myself that it’s okay, that I don’t have to listen to society whispering that I must be productive at all costs, I feel like a fraud.

What kind of person gets this type of opportunity to have a fresh shot at her goals only to squander it?

That’s what my evil, racing mind berates me with as I toss and turn, sleepless yet again.

I don’t fear falling ill with the actual coronavirus. I fear what will happen to my psyche if this continues on much longer. I already barely hang on, living a relatively normal life and trying to manage my anxiety and depression. This might just be too much for me.


Amy Horton is a former actor who has written privately all her life but didn't start sharing it until her mid-20s. She writes her truth because she believes that we all share common experiences and hopes to connect with her readers through honesty and transparency. Her audience gives her the bravery to go deep and express what is hard to admit sometimes - if she can reach one other person who feels the same, it's worth it. When she's not writing you can find her exploring new places, teaching yoga, studying self-development and healing modalities, and spending as much time outside as humanly possible. 


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