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the pandemic and mental health

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For most individuals, March of 2020 marked a total transformation in what their daily lives look like. How many plans were you looking forward to that were canceled? Do you recall the exact day or week when you stopped bothering to even communicate with others about whether or not certain plans were still on? Your calendar probably became useless and unused for months at one point.

Many went through the “Let’s sit and wait” period. It was just going to be two weeks, right? No special accommodations or plans needed to be made for a two-week hiatus. You stayed in, watched Netflix, cooked all your meals at home, and let your brain freeze in time, ready to unfreeze it after that two-week period.

Then, it became clear that this wouldn’t only last for two weeks, and hanging onto the hope that things could just resume as normal was unhealthy. You couldn’t say to your brain, “There, there. You don’t need to do any complex tasks right now. Just take a break until we resume our normal programming.” You came to learn, perhaps, that you’d need to completely change the way you looked at the future, and how you managed your time each day. Simply waiting was no longer an option – you had to get back to living, but differently. And that’s caused many to get to know themselves in a whole new light. We spoke with licensed psychologist Dr. Jessica Jackson (IG: dr_jlauren) about how this pandemic has led to some realizations about the self.

Dr. Jessica Jackson

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It’s not an identity crisis

When I first called Dr. Jackson about this piece, I brought up the idea of people having an identity crisis due to the pandemic. But, as I’m glad Dr. Jackson pointed out, it turns out it’s really not a crisis. “Sometimes we call something a ‘crisis’ as if it’s a bad thing. But we grow and evolve whether or not there’s a pandemic or crisis situation happening.”

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