I grew up in an extremely Catholic family.
We went to church every Sunday.
Every meal began with a prayer.
Being involved in the church was a sort of requirement growing up. Religion meant so much to me that I decided to major in theology when I began college.
One of my favorite things to do during my time studying was reading the Bible. I was fascinated by all of the stories. Whether I believed them or not, I thought that they were extremely entertaining. In the New Testament, in the section about Jesus’s life, we learn all about the miracles that he performed before and after his death. A few of those miracles revolved around one of the most horrible diseases at the time, leprosy.
Leprosy was known as an incurable disease. People who were diagnosed with it were expected to walk around wearing sackcloth when they were in public. They were forced to live in their own communities away from society and had to announce to everyone that they were “unclean”.
Fast forward some 2,000 years and we find ourselves in 2020 where a different type of “unclean” exists.
A few months ago, I tested positive for COVID-19. I could write an entire article about the physical effects that it had on me, but you can find those symptoms anywhere online. What we don’t hear about too often are the mental health effects that it has on a person.
Like the leper, those of us who are diagnosed with COVID are isolated. We use the word “quarantine” to make it sound a little nicer. Limiting a person’s contact with others, although it is for safety, does put an emotional strain on the individual.
We are, by nature, social beings. Of course there is the introvert vs. extrovert conversation that determines the amount of social interaction a person can deal with, but overall, we all need some type of human interaction. This is why solitary confinement is such a horrible punishment. It strips a person from their inate desire to be social.
Although I was quarantined with another person, the emotional strain of not being able to go to places or to see people was hard. Everyone was quick to remind me that we couldn’t be around each other until after I retested and got a negative result. It was a constant reminder of being “unclean”. I was constantly questioned about where I was or who I was with.
Don’t get me wrong, I completely understand that people were worried about their safety but I think that some people are so afraid of getting sick, that they forget about the well-being of those who actually are infected.
Of course, this is all based on my experience. Not everyone is treated the same way.
We are all in this together. It is important for us to STAY in it together. Let’s continue to reach out to one another for check-ins. That is all some people need for a stable mental state.
We all look forward to the day when life can go back to the way that it was. Make sure that you do what you can for people during these hard times so that they can laugh with you in the brighter days to come.