How are you holding up? We asked previously, and we’ll pose the question again.
More officially, in late August, we wanted to know how you, our readers and viewers, were surviving and what’s on your mind lately as the coronavirus continues with seemingly no end in sight. The world feels like a different place these days, and we wanted to check in and see who was facing what hurdles.
At last check, we had collected more than 230 responses. More than 60% of you told us that you were struggling, and 26% answered “I’m kinda meh” to that “How are you?” question. We published a version of this article last week with 13 responses, and now we have 17 more to share.
Many people seemed like they just wanted to pop in with a quick answer. Others dropped 500-1,000-word, heartfelt responses. We thought it might be therapeutic for you to read stories from others.
All of these people, it should be noted, gave us specific permission to share their words. (Remember, you can still leave a response, in that link you see near the top of this story -- just to get some heaviness off your chest, or to be used in a future online news article. Up to you!)
Final note: Responses have been edited for length, clarity and grammar. People had the option to self-identify however they’d like, hence why you’ll see some first names, some cities, some ages, and others with a little less information.
Be kind out there. You never know what people are going through.
Some examples ...
1.) ’I am blindly trusting her care’
“My 86-year-old mom had to go to a memory care facility. I have never been inside it, nor am I allowed. The governor needs to allow visits to assisted living memory care units with weekly testing for an ’assigned’ visitor. I have no idea whats going on inside this facility. My mother is not reliable to tell me what it is like. I am blindly trusting her care. She was taken right from a hospital. We chose by online reviews only.”
-- Linda, 69; Roanoke, Virginia
2.) ’I have no idea what my next plan is’
“I graduated from the University of Georgia with a teaching degree in 2018. Instead of teaching here right away, I went to China and taught English for a year. After my contract was done, I came back to spend a few months with family and friends before I made a decision on whether or not I wanted to go back to China. Then the world fell apart. Now I can’t go back to China and I don’t want to risk teaching here. It just seems that as soon as I found something I really enjoyed doing, it became too dangerous to do. I have no idea what my next plan is.”
-- Robert; Jacksonville, Florida
3.) ’Toddler life is no joke’
“My 2-year-old was supposed to start Montessori in March, the week that everything shut down. My husband has to report to the office two to three days a week, and work from home the other days. I work from home full-time, running a distribution office. We’re fortunate that we both have our jobs, but there has not been a relaxing ’family moment’ in more than five months. We have no family in the state, and don’t trust our son going to school or day care just yet, with the rising numbers, as I have underlying conditions. Toddler life is no joke. We are all feeling the effects of this, and wish so much that we could leave and be with family.”
-- Whitney, 33; Sugar Land, Texas
4.) ’Some days, the only way I can get out of bed is remembering the dog needs breakfast’
“I have nightmares about crowds. In my dreams, I end up in busy public areas, only to realize I’ve forgotten my mask. I’m so tired of everything being terrible. Many of my friends and their families are out of work with no new job prospects as security nets for unemployment and health care melt away. I’m lucky to still have a job, but the workload has been higher than ever. The pandemic and inconsistent work conditions (working from home or coming into a ghost-town office) make work difficult to tackle. I do my best to stay on the grind, but some days, the only way I can get out of bed is remembering the dog needs breakfast. I turned 30 this year, and feel like I’m trapped in a dead-end world in a dead-end economy. I’ve grown up through 9/11, the recession in 2008, and now, a global pandemic. My peers and I are swallowed by anxiety, depression, and debt, while others call us entitled for wanting stable jobs with livable wages. I’ve been at the same company for seven years, patiently maintaining an underpaid position while I build my career. The only future I have to look forward to is a freeze on raises and a job market packed with laid off and unemployed professionals. ... I hate that people are lashing out and unable to be kind and considerate of others. I can’t stand the misinformation, confusion, hatred and judgment.”
-- Marie, 30; Metro Detroit
5.) ’I am sick to my stomach every day’
“I am sick to my stomach every day that someone I love will test positive and die, especially my husband, the love of my life.”
-- B.P.; Deltona, Florida
6.) ’It’s going to take years to get back to normal’
“Although I have a lot of technical skills, I can’t find a job. I’m willing to move out of state, but I’m still not getting responses to my resume. All of the rejection emails I’ve received have taken a toll on me. People think 2020 is bad, but 2021 is going to be worse because we are expecting anything to be better than this. But it’s going to take years to get back to normal.”
-- Tonya, 47; Spring, Texas
7.) ’Why is everyone not just cooperating?’
“Why is everyone not just cooperating in getting rid of this virus?”
8.) ’Will that be me next week or next month?’
“I am a temp. I am currently working, but the company I work for is actively laying people off every week. Since I’m a temp, I can walk into work and be fired or replaced any day, at any time. I stress about not having much money in savings, and I stress about people around me that have no food or a place to live. How can I help them? Will that be me next week or next month? I worry about my 77-year-old mother in San Antonio. If she gets sick, will I ever see her again? I am bipolar and have anxiety issues. Every day, I start my morning by thinking about how lucky I am right now, because every day, I am on the brink of having an emotional breakdown. COVID-19 is scary, horrible, and it’s taking a toll on all of us.”
-- Dee, 46; Houston, Texas
9.) ’I’m tired of venting’
“I’m reaching out and speaking to friends almost daily, but I don’t want to talk about it. I’m fine, but not good. It’s this constant, dull, bad feeling. I’m tired of venting, because there is no solution until others make everyone else more important than themselves.”
-- Sarah, 45
10.) ’It’s hard to know what to do’
“It’s hard to know what to do. Do I continue to be safe by socially distancing because I have three COVID-19 pre-existing conditions? Or do I try to safely visit my relatives?”
-- A person in Clermont, Florida
11.) ’Wearing an N-95 mask 12 to 16 hours a day’
“It’s very stressful wearing an N-95 mask 12 to 16 hours a day in a non-air-conditioned indoor environment. There seems to be no end in sight for this event.”
-- A person in East Texas
12.) ’Mental health is just as important’
“This whole pandemic has taken a huge toll on a lot of people’s mental health, and mental health has such a stigma to it that most are scared to come out and talk about it. The truth is, this pandemic has made my depression so much worse. I have attempted to get mental health help, but without employment or decent insurance, it’s impossible. Mental health is just as important, if not more so, than physical health.”
-- Amber, 31; West Virginia
13.) ’I was terminated after 36 years’
“I was initially furloughed due to COVID-19, then recently, my position was eliminated after being off for four months. I was terminated after 36 years at the company. Now I’m in my early 60s, unemployed, with no health insurance, facing the prospect of being severely under employed.”
-- Anonymous; Northville, Michigan
14.) ’A significant strain’
“With so many jobs having to go remote, there has been a huge increase of home-life stress, balancing your full-time job while taking care of your family’s financial, physical, educational, nutritional, and spiritual needs, all under the same roof, at the same time. Some employers are super understanding -- telling, re-telling and reminding employees not to try to work more or even the same as they did in-office. My spouse’s employer gets each team to participate in weekly mental health exercises, to ensure they’re making time for themselves to ease mental stress. Other employers, however, are demanding a higher level of work than what was performed in-office.
“I have suffered with anxiety and depression for years. I even take medication to help with it. But this time, during COVID, it’s put a significant strain on my mental health. It’s been so hard! It’s been impossible to meet my employer’s, family’s, and my own expectations simultaneously.”
-- Overworked and struggling; Roanoke, Virginia
15.) ’Before all this I used to have savings and good credit’
“I lost my job because of COVID, got sick, my ex-husband took my truck while I was in the hospital, and now I have to move in with friends because I can’t afford rent. Before all this, I used to have savings and good credit. Now my friends alternate to get me groceries and I can’t afford a vet for my dog.”
-- L, 30; Houston, Texas
16.) ’It’s the mounting pressure’
“It’s the mounting pressure of working remotely full-time while also trying to educate kids -- first and third grade -- via distance learning, trying to be supportive with a spouse who’s out of work, watching all our hard work on starting a business come to screeching halt because of the economy and various lockdowns; I’m worried about every cough and sniffle my kids and my mom (who’s high risk) have, and being the sole source of income and holding my breath each time layoffs are announced at my company. Plus, cabin fever. Although there are still lots of positives, some days all the other stuff just weighs so heavy.”
-- Mari, 45, Texas
17.) ’Just plain bored’
“I’m just plain bored of having nowhere to go because of this virus. I already have depression, and this situation is not helping to relieve it at all.”
-- CC, 38
A few final things: It might feel good to read these, to fill out our form and vent a little bit (please -- we hope you do!), but if you’re struggling or dealing with anything related to your mental health, or you’re feeling more than just “not OK,” please reach out to a trusted friend, family member or therapist. You shouldn’t have to go through this alone, and this article/form is not a substitute for speaking with someone if you need real resources or a listening ear.
For some healthy tips on how to survive during this weird and unprecedented time, check out The Best Advice Show. Episodes are just a few minutes apiece, and you might find some real gems.
Stay healthy. And thank you, everyone, for sharing.