A.A., 22, a claims specialist in Zoetermeer, Netherlands

One moment you’re joking around about having to work from home, and the next thing you know you actually find yourself in lockdown in the middle of a pandemic.

For many years, I have struggled with depression and loneliness. Even though I have been winning against my inner demons, this pandemic made me come face-to-face with them again. I’m locked inside with my family members, and yet loneliness is creeping up on me. But I’m not craving any attention. I want people to leave me alone. I want to retract in my shell and just feel something. Anything. For a while, I wished I’d get sick just so I could feel something again. I guess insanity is really starting to kick in. I’m breathing, but I’m not living. I’m struggling to live, even if I’m not fighting death from the virus. And I don’t even know why. I’m not sick. My loved ones aren’t sick. I’m not panicked by the whole situation. I feel like rolling my eyes just writing this down. I feel ashamed of my depression. There’s people losing their lives, and here I am selfishly feeling sorry for myself. I don’t want to go out wearing a mask. I don’t want to keep disinfecting anything I touch. I want to disinfect my own mind.

For anyone struggling during this time, know that you are not alone; I am right here with you. Get out of bed, go out for a walk, stay in touch with the people you love. Stay safe. Keep moving forward. We are worth it.

[submitted on 5/9/2020]

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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