Today I decided to talk about my mental health over the course of the quarantine. I was originally planning on talking about this on my Instagram Stories (I’m the most active there if you want to check me out @catekittlitz), but as I started to speak, the more I realized I had to say.
Mental Health is a Journey
If you’ve been following me for a while, you know I’ve talked very openly about my mental health journey and that I’ve struggled with anxiety and depression on and off for most of my life. During this time we’re in, this pandemic, in quarantine, mental health is not something that should be neglected.
Lately, I haven’t been discussing mental health as much on my Instagram (my daily captions used to be mostly just inspiration for that – mostly inspiration for myself if I’m being completely honest) because I’ve actually been feeling well. Almost two years ago, I transitioned to a tactile career and that was the starting place that finally put me at peace in my mental health journey.
I’m going to start by saying that I’ve always felt that mental health IS a journey. It’s not something that just *bang* it’s there, and *bang* it’s gone. It ebbs and flows throughout the course of your life. My anxiety and depression is a part of me, a part that I’ve learned to embrace. Sarah Wilson talks deeply about this topic in her book ‘first, we make the beast beautiful: a new story about anxiety’. I highly recommend it if you’ve ever struggled with your mental health.
I think I’ll leave the full story on how I finally got to a good place with my mental health for another time (let me know in the comments if that’s something you’d be interested in reading), but for now I’d like to discuss what’s been going on during this quarantine.
Quarantine from A to Z
At the beginning of the quarantine, I was “thriving” considering things. As many of us had, I had been laid off from work, but I had a roof over my head, I wasn’t worried about my next meal or not being able to pay my bills. I was the most affluent (for those of you who might not have taken Anthro101 – ^freetime + ^needs met = affluence, and yes I’m using that definition and not just affluence = wealthy), that I had ever been.
I dove into home projects and creative outlets; I read books and baked. As time went on, I had begun to develop different habits. I’m not going to call them bad; they’re just not how I wanted to spend my time. What were these habits? Logging over 8 hours into my phone a day, mostly on YouTube and TikTok. Throwing on trashy TV shows in the background. You get the picture. I was giving myself grace though, because I had actually accomplished quite a bit in the almost two months that I had been in “quarantine”.
Then my mental health started declining. I felt lost. I cried for no reason. My physical well-being fell by the wayside. I stopped creating.
Basically, the more content I consumed (that wasn’t inspiring me or educating me), the worse I felt. I have three rules that content should follow, by the way: content should always Educate, Inspire, or Entertain. I try to stick to those pillars with all the content I produce. Since I was getting all of my content from the latter, my creativity cup emptied. I began to long for it to be filled, and I continued filling it up with the wrong type of content for my needs.
Time for a Change
I had enough. I’ve learned over the years to recognize when I need to focus on my mental health, and do so rather quickly. I decided to quit consuming content cold turkey. And here we are. I’ve written a blog post for the first time in over three months.
I think it’s important to recognize that it’s okay to be in a slump. It’s okay to have days when you cry for no reason. It’s okay to be in the middle of a pandemic and not do a single thing. It’s okay to cover up not being able to do anything with a ton of little things that aren’t that important. And it’s also okay to be thriving and living your best life right now.
The most important thing though is to listen to your mental health. Recognize what and when you need something. Take the time for you. If that’s quitting consuming content, do it. If that’s taking a break from whatever and enjoying mind-numbing content, do that. Your body and mind will tell you what you need, if you just take the time to listen.
Going forward, for however long this quarantine may last, I’m making the conscious decision to listen to what my mental health needs. If that means taking time off from consuming content and being able to feel fulfilled by creating, then that’s what I’m going to do.
As always, I hope this little reminder to myself can serve as some inspiration, which is why I wanted to put it out into the universe in the first place.
Hope you all are well! Sending my best.