E.L., a teen in Menifee, CA

This post is in collaboration with covid9teen

Menifee, CA:

Throughout this entire pandemic, I would consider my perspective to be one of privilege, and I am grateful to say that no one in my family has had coronavirus. However, the experience I have had is one that will stay with me for quite some time. With the removal of daily structures and things to keep me busy, I quickly discovered that I had been missing out on a lot just within my own family. This period in quarantine has left me with time to truly reflect on my life and the opportunities which I have been afforded, and I definitely feel as though I was able to create a new version of myself without the restraints of having to physically go to school.

While quarantine has proved to be a time of self discovery, it has also been the time at which my mental health has been at its worst. Without the daily social interactions that I once had, and the sudden surplus of time, I was forced to confront my unhealthy habits and thoughts that I often crowded out of my mind. And with the move to virtual school with zoom classes, the line between “home” and “work” became even more blurred; it became easy to succumb to a life of doing homework and scarcely moving from my desk. I think if it had been a normal year, I would have been fine with doing endless work, because at least I got to be around my friends and such, but this year it felt so much worse. I feel a constant pressure to do well in all my classes, yet, a passiveness at the same time. It’s also extremely frustrating just to exist in this situation; we are all stuck here and acting like it’s a normal year, when it’s very obviously not, and the lack of action on the part of the government makes this pandemic feel as though it could go on forever, which is a quite bleak future.

I would say that throughout this pandemic I have been very fortunate, as my family has not had to deal with any major health or economic crises. But the mental toll of isolation is also undeniable, and I know that many of my peers feel the same as I do. I can only hope that after this is eventually over, the transition back to “normal” life means a life that is more understanding of mental health and the curse of trying to be productive at all times

[submitted on 3/4/2021]

Learn more about the LiQ and the covid9teen collaboration here

Life in Quarantine: Witnessing Global Pandemic is an initiative sponsored by the Poetic Media Lab and the Center for Spatial and Textual Analysis at Stanford University.

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