In these current times of lockdown and increased social isolation, it's understandable that many people’s mental health has taken a downturn.
Lisa is a 15-year-old girl who was, like many, this year going into her last school year and preparing for her GCSEs. Lisa suffered now and again with bouts of anxiety and depression, related especially to her appearance and what her friends thought about her. Being liked by her friends, their opinion of her, and fitting in is very important to her, as is the quality of her “selfies” on her social media accounts: Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram. Lisa got by without any support and kept things to herself.
Lockdown & Mental Health Downturn
At the beginning of lockdown, Lisa’s life and routine completely turned upside down, no more school, no more seeing her friends and hanging out, no more retail therapy in her favourite stores, no more going to the cinema. The things she looked forward to had all been taken away. She was also concerned about what this period of seemingly never-ending lockdown would do for her school work and her examination results. This was a big concern for her as she wanted to do well and go on to further education.
As a result of lockdown, Lisa found herself spending even more time on screens (smartphone, tablet games and social media); her routine had completely gone, she would stay up most of the night and sleep most of the morning. Due to this, the following things had happened:
- Sleep became very difficult for her (getting by on 4 – 5 hours)
- Her mood became very low and pessimistic
- She felt completely numb at times
- Several times a week completely overwhelmed by emotion
- Life started to feel more unreal
- She became more frustrated with her mum and dad, arguments were a daily occurrence
- She started to post negative comments on social media
- She investigated self-harming
At her lowest mood, Lisa started to self-harm, she used this as a way of trying to feel something and as a way of control and even distraction from her negative mood.
Help and Support
One night whilst scrolling through Facebook, Lisa felt completed lost, scaring herself with an episode of cutting a little deeper than she had done previously. She also worried about how she would hide this and explain this cut to her parents. Thankfully, she reached out for help and called Darlington Mind’s Young Peoples Listening & Counselling line 07432 843161 where she received phone counselling to work through her difficult emotions.
Seeing Things Differently
This enabled Lisa to start to think differently. Instead of comparing herself to her friends and their social media profiles, and being caught up in striving for perfection. She began to accept things as they are, seeing things from day to day, rather than worrying about things she had no control over.
She started to get back into a healthy sleeping routine and limited social media and screen time, especially around bedtime and in the middle of the night. She has been learning to spend more time (Facetiming, Whatsapp and Skyping) with the friends who bring out the best in her and do not pressurise her for perfectionism in an imperfect world.
She has started to look at other hobbies whilst in lockdown and enjoys being creative, writing short poems and has begun to time manage some schoolwork into her day.
Lisa still has a way to go on her journey, but she is very pleased with the progress she has made over the course of just a few weeks.
If you are going through issues similar to Lisa, please don’t suffer alone, we can be that listening ear and help you.
How to Get Help!
Young People's Listening & Counselling Support Line (ages 11 - 18)
We're here to listen and help, non-judgemental, friendly, confidential – call 07432 843161 with confidence (weekdays) or email: email@example.com
Online Video Guide
Watch an animated video guide to overcoming anxiety during the Covid-19 lockdown.