Quarantine Journals

Rebekah De Priest, Managing Editor

Day One: Monday, April 20, 2020

It is odd to think about the fact that this period will likely be printed in history textbooks in the years to come. Such things are always on my mind at the moment, among the flurries and frenzies of other thoughts.

As someone who struggles with mental illness, I truly believed quarantine would be amazing for me, but, as time has gone on, it seems to have made my life quite difficult. Being able to venture only so far beyond the borders of my own home has made my mind a campsite for depressive episodes. With a lack of motivation come stress and anxiety, trying to convince me that taking breaks or simply doing nothing with ultimately result in the implosion of our very planet.

There are days when I feel like I’m falling forever, the ground beneath my body ever fleeting, a panic in my chest at the mere thought that this may never end, or I won’t live to see it. But I have good days too.

It has taken me roughly a month of sleepless nights, a surprising amount of crying in the shower, and likely some level of vitamin D deficiency, but I think I am starting to feel better.

I have begun to realize I’m not alone in the way I feel. I have the support of so many people who are going through the exact same thing.  I don’t have to walk away from quarantine and this pandemic with the body of a fitness model, an extensive skin care routine, or perfect mental health.

This is new to everyone, something I never thought I would be able to tell stories about 20 years from now.

I just have to keep pushing on, for me, for my family, for my friends, and for those who feel the same as I do. Everything is going to be OK.

Day Two: Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Today was one of the few days throughout quarantine I can say have been (mostly) quite good. I think my body was simply trying to scream for me to take advantage of the beautiful weather, and it seemed to help me out a great deal.

I sat outside in the morning for only about an hour, but I think it was my favorite part of today. The world just feels different when you’re out in nature, even if said “nature” is about 20 feet from my front door. All of life’s worries seemed so insignificant in that time, when much of Fort Collins remained fast asleep, but the outside world was just beginning to awaken.

I spent some time thinking about what life will be like after quarantine as well. I realized, if everything goes according to plan this time, the Stay at Home order will be lifted in less than a week. I know it’s only been about a month stuck in the confines of these insulated walls, but it feels much closer to an eternity. I’m anticipating all that will be different following this pandemic: the way society and life as we know it will change.

I think I’m excited too. I know I personally have grown in many ways already. I’ve come to learn quite a bit about myself, the good and the bad. I know my world view is going to be affected walking away from everything this virus has caused, but I believe that’s a journey I’m ready to watch unfold.

Day Three: Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Being stuck at home all the time has led me to believe I’ve taken on the role of my own personal therapist. Maybe it is just because I am an intuitive person, or at least that is what I’ve been told by all the professionals I have seen. I was already pretty conscious about my mental health before, and where all my “bad habits and thoughts” were likely stemming from. Apparently, I had become so accustomed to some of these bad habits, though, that I kind of forgot they were bad.

For as long as I can remember, I have been a procrastinator, and today I caught myself doing it without even knowing what was happening. There has been some pretty stressful schoolwork assigned to me this week, and I’ve been putting it off because I’m almost too scared I’ll get stuck, resulting in an overload of worry and anxiety. I also conveniently went on a bike ride this evening to “clear my head” I told myself.

It is easy for me to believe I am doing “good” for myself and my mental health, when I am really just trying to shove all the bad parts away. That might be part of trying to get better, though. I don’t want to believe that these are still not the best options for me, but it is important that I recognize they do not exactly help me out as I make myself believe they do.

Recovery, or even just trying to feel better, is a long and hard journey. It is not a smooth, straight line as some people think. My journeys through recovery from eating disorders and self-harm have felt like I am walking through mountain ranges. Even today, I have to work through thoughts that I recognize from those issues.

It is difficult, that is for sure, but I will get there. One day I will conquer the last mountain, whenever that may be. I just have to keep moving.

Day Four: Thursday, April 23, 2020

I find it sort of funny how the things we seem to spend most of our time worrying about are usually not that difficult. The schoolwork I had been avoiding all week took me maybe thirty minutes to complete today, and it wasn’t demanding either. My mind had simply managed to conjure it up into some giant monster in my head, carefully constructed from sheets of stress glued together with anxiety, all topped off with some MLA format googly eyes.

Being in such a productive mood for some reason, I was able to spend most of my day actually relaxing, and not just as a way to run from my problems either. I worked from start to finish on a small painting for about four hours. It sounds simple enough, but I find art is a great way for me to escape, to clear my head and not have to worry about what is going on in the world. It is almost impossible to let my mind dwell on anything negative when I have to focus on mixing the correct shade of brown.

Overall, I would say today went well. I did not go outside very much other than to take the dog out. I did not get ahead on schoolwork. I did not complete a ten-step skin care routine followed by a bubble bath with soft jazz and candles. But I was happy, I was content, and I felt good today. Sometimes, that is all that matters.

Day Five: Friday, April 24, 2020

It is somewhat odd to think that the Stay at Home order will be lifted so soon. I am excited to get back to living normally, for stores to open and to be able to hang out with friends and family. But there is a part of me that is almost sad for it to be over.

At first, I felt a bit guilty about that, telling myself that I must have been insinuating that I enjoyed the repercussions of a world-wide pandemic that has killed tens of thousands. After giving it some thought, I think it is because I finally have time to myself. Through this month or so of quarantine, I have been able to set my own schedules and take breaks as needed. Granted, the stresses were extremely hard on me at times, but I have learned so much about myself and my mental health from this experience.

I feel like, even though it was unexpected and unwanted by just about everyone, quarantine has been good for me. I do not believe I would have come to this understanding of myself and what goes on in my head so easily if life had stayed the same.

I am not saying I think it never would have happened, but it definitely would have taken much longer for me to get to where I am now.

There are still things I do not understand about my mind. There are still things I wish I could change. And there are still bad days, but I am human. It will take time for me to achieve a completely healthy mind, but for now, this is a good start.

Final Journal: Friday, May 15, 2020

Time is such a weird concept to me now. This is the last real day of school this year, and it doesn’t feel that way. Every new day during this pandemic feels no different than the last. My body has officially reset itself. Life only revolves around the rise and fall of that big orange ball of gas in the sky, and I think I like it that way.

For example, I fell asleep at roughly 4:30 a.m. and woke up some where around 8 a.m. I suppose it was one of those nights in which the universe decided I needed to simply be alone, to think, to remind myself what it feels like to just be. I’m not sure if recklessly painting a pair of my jeans in the late hours of the night would classify as “thinking,” but I can’t get mad when I imagine how totally wicked I’ll look wearing them once they’re finished.

In all honesty, I think the universe kept me up more to clear my head than to think. I have been doing a lot of thinking lately, which becomes far too easy when one is mostly alone for almost three months. Lately, I find myself fixated on my body image, the way I look, everything I wish I could change. I can feel myself falling back into old habits. I mean, I nearly broke out in tears over cookies last night, but that’s another story with a word count far surpassing my writing capabilities at this time.

Some days it feels harder to fight than others: a great war against my giant and ghastly-looking inner thoughts, and I always appear under prepared. I keep pushing on though. Truth be told, there are times I wish I could raise my torn white flag and allow myself to be consumed by the thoughts I wrestle with, but there is always something that keeps me going. The motivation to continue this battle can be as small as a fuzzy round bumblebee I admired as it perched on a vibrant flower, but it works. I’ve come to enjoy that as well: living for the little things, the ones so many people seem to take for granted. It keeps my head up. It keeps me going. And sometimes, that is all that really matters.