Coronavirus: a lesson for mental health

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I remember feeling how I was plunging into darkness. “Hide it!” I said to myself. “Don’t let them know that you feel. Smile and hide your pain”.

We live in a society in which feeling too much is not a good thing, a society in which we select what we want people to see, showing and sharing only smiles, laughs, trips and parties; a lot of times void of meaning, void of happiness.

Why do we do that? Simply because it makes us feel better about ourselves, like if by people believing that our life is that way, it may start being that way, and we are not aware of the consequences.

Sharing that fake and constant state of happiness makes us feel that there is something extremely wrong about not being ok, something wrong in feeling sad, alone, anxious or depressive. It makes us feel that we cannot allow those feelings in our life, that if we have them we are weak and there is something wrong with us, so we hide it and pretend everything is fine, as if ignoring it will make it disappear.

 A lot of times, we run away from our problems, ignoring the pain through selfies, superficial relationships, food, drinks, and in some cases alcohol and drugs; fooling ourselves and trying to forget that those feelings will be waiting for us when we are alone with our thoughts.

“Be strong and don’t cry” is something I heard so many times in my life that I started to believe that crying and showing your emotions, even if they are not always positive, it is something bad, but that’s far from reality.

If there is something I’ve learnt in these days of quarantine is that it takes much more courage to admit that we are not ok, open ourselves and show our fears and worries to another person that pretending everything is fine.

You really need to be brave to ask for help. I’ve learnt that we live in such a fast-pace society that we have become very good at hiding our emotions behind food, social media and tv; but this solves absolutely nothing, because at the end of the day those feelings are still there, and hiding from them won’t make them to go away.

For several years I had anorexia, and although even now it is difficult for me to recognize that anorexia is a monster waiting to appear in those moments of weakness, ignoring it and keeping it for myself won’t make it any better. It is difficult, I know; but bit by bit, step by step things get better. You are not alone. Never forget that.

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