The Pandemic Made my Depression Worse

How I Broke the Cycle


Photo Courtesy of Pixabay

Ivana Estime

I found that school and Zoom became more and more overwhelming this past year during the pandemic. My anxiety made it worse for me to get things done. It became harder to focus and continue to work. I would begin unfinished assignments and my attention would be completely diverted and it felt impossible to force myself to work.

My thoughts would be racing about how my professors and bosses would be disappointed in me for not getting this work done in time. Ironically, this is the very thing that made it so stressful; I couldn’t continue my work because I was so worried.

I couldn’t explain it, but one day I was a good student who always handed in their assignments and then suddenly it felt like a burden to turn things in. It became progressively harder, and I couldn’t understand why for the longest time. I began to blame myself and it became a cycle where I would be faced with deadlines, and I couldn’t meet them. This would lead to me putting myself down and I was so depressed that I didn’t feel like moving.

The worst part was that there were so many things that I wanted to do. I got frustrated that I couldn’t do them, and I was falling behind with schoolwork. This also affected my learning during class on Zoom as well. It was harder to pay attention and sit still in front of a screen. I also didn’t want to go to school physically because not only were COVID cases rising, but I also didn’t feel like going outside at times.

I was extremely exhausted mentally and didn’t really care for school at one point. It felt nearly impossible to do anything. This made me feel ashamed because I didn’t want to be labeled as lazy.

Some adults may not understand this mindset and can be quick to shame a student or call them lazy. I even had one adviser basically tell me to suck it up. It was much deeper than that though, because it wasn’t that I didn’t want to get my work done. It was more like my body was refusing to make the effort because my mind was tired.

I learned that if your body and mind are refusing to get work done, maybe it’s because you didn’t take enough breaks. Pushing yourself for extended periods of time can make it difficult to recover. My body was telling me that a break was long overdue.

To be quite honest, the only reason I didn’t reach out to most of my professors and my boss at times is because I was terrified that they would think less of me. I now know that it is important to reach out because professors and bosses can’t read your mind and know what you are going through. It’s best that you seek help because at the end of the day those who you work with, whether it be your teachers or bosses, can be part of your team.

I wanted to get better, so I reached out to the Counseling Center at NJCU and was given guidance and support. This was helpful because it was good to hear someone check in on me every week and advise me on how to handle my emotions. I eventually used all my sessions, and I am currently going to a private therapist.

Getting help is important because just like your body, your mind can get sick. It takes a professional to treat it and help your mental state feel better. Students should reach out because if the people around you don’t know what you’re going through, how would they know that you need help?