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“The pandemic had affected me and my mental health. No social time with your friends unless it was behind a screen. Being at home all day, everything just felt like a repetitive cycle. I had no motivation to do anything in life. I no longer had any dreams or aspirations. Everything I wanted to achieve in life? Didn’t matter to me anymore.”

A COVID Mental Health Journal: Dear Sanaa, Look How Much You’ve Grown

by share

January 2021 – “I’m really hurting. I’m screaming and crying for help but nobody is helping me. Why can’t they hear me? I know you guys can hear me. My happiness is a mask, can you not tell? I know you can at least see me? Right? You can see the tears right? Maybe you can’t see them… After all, nobody cares.”

Look at how far I’ve come. To think that not even five months ago I was drowning in my own tears. I was suffocating under my own insecurities, and I yearned for a will to live. Every day felt the same to me as if I was working a 9-5 job. I would wake up every day, eat some food, leave my room once, and maybe shower.

The pandemic had affected me and my mental health. Just imagine that. No social time with your friends unless it was behind a screen. Being at home all day, everything just felt like a repetitive cycle. I had no motivation to do anything in life. I no longer had any dreams or aspirations. Everything I wanted to achieve in life? Didn’t matter to me anymore.

I was under so much emotional distress and I was mentally exhausted. I really thought that if I got into a relationship with someone then I would feel better as I had a source of happiness. However, I soon realized that I was causing him stress as he had to deal with my mental breakdowns. I would cry every night if not every other night. About what? Well, it depends on what happened that day.

So many bad things would happen to me on a daily basis, at least more bad than good things. I can only recall all of the negative emotions I had compared to the positive and uplifting ones. But that wasn’t the end. 

January 2021 – “I’ve always wondered why people make friends with other people just to leave them. I know humans aren’t objects, but I leaned on you like a couch. And you knew I did. You knew that no matter what you did to me, I would always come back. Which is why you did what you did. And for that, I’ll never forgive you.”

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A part of me growing as a person was realizing my self-worth. And a part of that is knowing that you deserve more than the bare minimum. I was always told that I was a very forgiving person no matter what someone did to me. I was always told that people would walk all over me because I was too nice. I was too lenient and I never set any boundaries. Looking back on my past actions, I notice that I didn’t really stand up for myself when it came to my self-worth. I didn’t know that I deserved better.

It’s OK to give second chances and maybe even a third, but after that, you’re only damaging your mental health. Never will I ever again, let people walk all over me. Because I know my self-worth, and I deserve better than the way I was treated. And so do you. 

February 2021 – Solitude (noun): the state or situation of being alone. Imagine spending all of your time alone. Nobody to share memories with, just you. Imagine spending Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year, and your birthday alone. It hurts more than if you were abandoned. You have nobody. No soulmate, no mom, no nothing. I mean you have a mom but she’s not there for you. She’s one of the last people you can lean on. Your dad? The first person to ever hurt you. I feel bad for talking to him. I’m sorry. I was being selfish. Guilt. I wish I could forget it. 

I am a very, very clingy person, and when I become attached then I am attached. I often fear that anyone I become friends with will leave me for someone greater. The fear of being abandoned. The fear of being left alone with no one to talk to. No one to share memories with. No one to tell about your day. No one to listen. I always think that after one tiny argument, that person is going to leave. Intrusive thoughts weighed on me heavily.

“What if they think I’m a bad friend?”

“Do they really even like me?”

“What do they see in me?”

“Why can’t I be better for them?”

“They don’t really want to be friends.”

March 2021 – Anagapesis (noun): The feeling of not loving someone or something once loved. “I don’t want to be abandoned. I don’t want people to leave me. I don’t want people to not like me. I know I shouldn’t care what other people think but I do. I don’t want people to ever forget about me. Somebody has to know I exist, right? Somebody has to.”

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I always knew our friendship wouldn’t last. Sometimes, I would think about us being older and still hanging out. You left us and didn’t give us a reason. They don’t care that you left, but I do. I know you’re a good person, despite all the bad things you’ve done to us, to me, to him, but most importantly her. Today was our friendship anniversary, did you know? It’s really been a year. Or, it would’ve been. You weren’t there. Nobody cared except me, but hey, what’s new? I always care. She says bad things about you all the time you know? I don’t. You’re one of the only friends I’ve learned something from. 

I miss you and I want you to come back. I can’t go on like this.

I miss when we would talk about music. It’s one of the only things we had in common. Music. Our taste was the same. I never found anybody who listened to the same stuff as me. Until I met you. I often check your Spotify to see if you’re active and see what you’ve been listening to, but you weren’t on there either. I hope you’re OK. I miss our connection. 

 August 2021 — It’s now five months later in August, Sanaa, look how much you’ve grown. It was a long journey, but look where we are. It may not be the best, but I’m proud of you.

I can admit, that was very depressing. I am sorry that you had to read that, and it may make you feel negative energy. But to me, it feels comforting. Why? Because that was the past, and a lot has changed since then. I’ve found who I truly am. I’ve found my self-worth and what truly makes me feel happy.

I no longer need to depend on someone else to feel worthy. I am more than just a second choice or an option. I am worth more. It wasn’t easy, but here’s how I did it. I had to realize that sitting around all day and doing nothing only made me more depressed.

Each day, I decided I would always set a goal for myself for that day. For example, if I knew that I needed a shower that day, I would make a goal for that. The key is to start with something small and work your way up to something greater. By doing this, I had to realize that not everyone was healthy for me, and that meant losing friends. Yes, I know it’s going to be hard to let go of someone you’ve formed such a strong bond with, but in the end, your mental health will thank you. If you notice someone is only negative when they’re around you or if they aren’t uplifting you to be better, then that is a sign.

I even recently started a business as a distraction. However, it’s been more than that as my finances have improved so much because of it. Not only that, but I love what I do. As the days go by, I feel better and better about myself. I started to meditate, and just take time to myself to appreciate how much I’ve grown. I remind myself of how strong I am to have had to deal with that for six months. My friends have helped me so much. They’ve helped me get through it all. 

And to anyone out there going through something that makes you question your presence on this earth, then just know — where there is rain, there is growth.

If you are going through anything at home and need someone to talk to, here are some hotlines that save lives: 

National Suicide Prevention Hotline: (800)-273-8255

National Sexual Assault Hotline: (800) 656-4673

Abuse and Mental Health Hotline: (800) 662-4357

Above artwork by Tibria Brown, VOX Teen Staff


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