Is it weird to think that your problems are not worth talking about because you know that other people have worse problems?”
We all know that the past 12 months have not been great for our collective mental health. Everyone is feeling it in some way. Maybe you’re feeling lower than usual, less motivated with your studies. Maybe you aren’t sleeping as well, or experiencing anxiety around your safety or your future. Or maybe you are just feeling completely burnt out. Typically, if you had been feeling this way for a long period of time, a doctor or psychiatrist may consider these warning signs for a mood or anxiety disorder. However, these symptoms now also double as totally normal reactions to living through a pandemic.
But does the fact that we are all collectively experiencing these emotions, make them any less valid? Or does the spectrum of the tragedies many people have experienced affect the validity of what we are all feeling individually?
This year, I have felt a whole range of emotions. I’m homesick for my friends and family who are 18,000 miles away. I have anxiety about what the next 12 months might look like. I’ve felt extra sensitive, I’ve felt sad, I’ve felt fed up and overwhelmed. And then I scroll through my social media feed or turn on the news, and that all changes almost immediately, to a feeling of guilt.
Let me list all the things I’ve felt guilty about so far this year:
I feel guilty I’m not on the front lines.
I feel guilty I have a nice place to live during the lockdown.