Reaching out helped ease depression and anxiety
brought about by pandemic
Depression crept up on me over the summer and into the fall, so slowly that I wasn’t
aware of the change in my well-being – until suddenly I was.
For ***spam*** of that time I chose to tough it out, largely keeping quiet about
my downward trajectory. I knew I wasn’t alone. A few months into the pandemic,
the Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention warned that mental health
diagnoses – anxiety, depression, thoughts of suicide – were on the rise. By year’s
end, a government survey found that the nation’s mood had continued to darken.
Still, many people I know continue to say they are “fine” – or defiantly “fine, fine, fine,”
as one friend answered when I checked in with him.
To be honest, “fine” had been my go-to response when someone asked how I was
doing, even as depression and what I often call its first cousin, anxiety, set in.
Years ago, a psychotherapist helped wean me off “fine” as an answer to the question,
“How are you?” He explained, “Fine is neither an emotion or a feeling,” urging me
toward greater self-awareness and a more honest response like “happy” or “content,”
or “angry” or “sad.” Apparently, I had forgotten that lesson.
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