The lonely effects of self-isolating for COVID-19

Self-isolating is all well and good, unless you have depression (woo)

Armed with a make-shift bra mask and grim scented loo roll (thanks to panic-buyers *throws shade* it was the only one left), I may be more protected from Coronavirus but alas not from my own depressive thoughts (and yes, I am aware my bedroom fully embodies the stereotypical Fallow gap yaaar girl – disclaimer, I didn’t even take one).

When I first heard about Coronavirus, I have to admit that I was extremely dismissive… Instead of panic-buying loo roll and pasta, I continued my day-to-day life, with any news stories very much pushed to the back of my mind; I had more important things to deal with, like a 2500 word essay and a break-up. And then my shitty immune system decided to go and get the flu…

Once more, I thought little of it, as surely it would’ve been near impossible for me to have Coronavirus and be one of the very unfortunate few, when there were so few cases confirmed in the UK? I phoned 111, anxious of wasting time, and sure enough felt like I had, when they said unless I had been in contact with a confirmed case then I was fine. The anxiety in me thought ‘there could be hundreds of people simply unconfirmed who could’ve given it to me’, but having a healthcare professional dismiss my symptoms was like being told I had won the lottery – as the idea of self-isolating with depression quite frankly terrified me.

Due to my friend’s concern, I have been trying my best to self-isolate for the past few days anyway – but to be honest, it has been really f*cking difficult.

I read an article which shows statistics surrounding the change in people’s attitudes around personal hygiene and ways in which to prevent the spread of Coronavirus and the results are fairly negative . I understand it is bad not to try and take more care to contain something which has the potential to kill, however, for those who are elderly and already suffering from loneliness and those with depression, who once more, often feel very alone, to self-isolate, is to condemn yourself to being trapped in a room with yourself and your own lonely thoughts.

Despite the NHS’ advice on staying at home, they fail to consider the detrimental mental health effects of self-isolation, especially on those who struggle to be alone anyway.

The knowledge that some people have been told to self-isolate for a month really concerns me. For those who are elderly, it has been said to be paramount that they self-isolate, but loneliness is such an issue already for those in the older community. Of course one’s physical health is of the upmost importance, but the effect on one’s mental health should be considered too. For those with depression, being alone in a room with only yourself and your own thoughts is similarly, an extremely daunting and caging prospect.

Having tried to stay in my room for the past three days, and despite having left the house twice (yes, I failed miserably), my mental health did increasingly decline. Not only are we still in the depressing cold months but there is only so long I can stay alone with my own thoughts without considering punching the wall or just screaming at the top of my phlegmy lungs for the hell of it – and there are only so much Netflix I can take.

If you’re going to have a scream pillow, at least make it fallow, with an elephant on it

I would hope that if anyone does know anyone elderly or with mental health issues, or anyone who struggles with being alone, that they would try and phone and stay in contact with them as much as possible during this time. The tension surrounding the Coronavirus is rapidly increasing, with more lengths being taken every day, and whilst it may be a health pandemic surrounding one’s physical self, there is much to be considered around one’s mental wellbeing too.