The walls around your mind: mental health in isolation

Students face increased depression and anxiety in isolation. Photo courtesy: BigStock

Imagine being locked in the house, terrified to go outside because you could fall ill, be hospitalized or worse for the entirety of your sophomore year. For me, there was no need to imagine it because that was my reality: an entire year of isolation.

Isolation can really take a toll on a person’s mental health while in quarantine. A survey from Best Colleges says that over 90% of students had negative mental health effects due to the pandemic.

Chelsea Bethel, a senior healthcare management student, says that being in isolation has had an effect on not only her mental health but her daily routine as well.

“Having COVID and being in isolation has taken a toll on my everyday life,” Bethel said. “I’ve been locked inside my room, so I don’t get my roommate infected, so it’s been really lonely.”

According to the American Psychological Association, isolation can also cause “depression, poor sleep quality, impaired executive function, accelerated cognitive decline, poor cardiovascular function and impaired immunity at every stage of life.” 

Being in isolation did affect my everyday life as well as my mental health. I was six hours away from all of my friends, and facetime and texting didn’t help. I laid in bed for hours upon hours each day and didn’t even want to get up for Zoom classes, let alone to clean my room. 

My depression was at an all-time high during my isolation period and I was completely alone when it came to getting help for it. But what I hadn’t realized was that I could’ve helped myself before someone else did.

Mayo Clinic says that keeping a regular routine like reading or taking daily walks could help you improve your mental health. Setting small goals and even limiting news intake could be helpful as well.

Tips like these could help those who feel trapped in the dark of their minds come out into the light little by little. If not, negative mental health effects could be harmful in the long run.

For me, even after returning to campus I still feel like I’m alone, despite having in person classes and extracurriculars. It feels like I’m still miles away locked in my room waiting for the pandemic to finally be over. It continues to drag on and on, like it’ll never end.