I was not ready for this!
When the news of being quarantined went into effect, I thought to myself, “I can handle this because it won’t last that long.” Well, was I wrong! I am an extrovert and I enjoy hanging out with my friends, having cocktails and conversation at some of our favorite Atlanta spots. This quarantine has meant that I can no longer do that; as the days and weeks passed, I’m seeing how this all is affecting me.
I am a single man who lives alone in an 1,100 square foot condo with a balcony (and thank God for that balcony). I live on the 11th floor in downtown Atlanta, and everyday I look out my windows and see very little activity. I tell friends that it reminds me of old Westerns I watched as a kid and the streets were so empty that all you saw were tumbleweeds blowing and rolling down the street.
To help with not going stir crazy, I would do things like take walks, sit on the balcony and read, take a drive, do Zoom happy hours, journal, and- my new favorite thing- cook. I even set a schedule for social media (especially Facebook) and the news. I had to find ways to manage my mental health– and trust me, some days have been harder than others. Life has not stopped because of being quarantined, now we have to learn how to balance both.
One afternoon, my emotions got the best of me and I just started crying. I had hit that moment when I realized this was a lot to bear. I think I cried for fifteen minutes. I did not try to calm myself down and stop it, I just let it go. I am a person who likes to be in control of his feelings and emotions, but this time was different. I needed this cry; to comfort me and soothe my soul. I was lonely and really missed all the things so many of us take for granted every day!
Yes, I have cried since then and will most likely continue to cry, and I am not ashamed of it. I tell my friends that we all need at least that one good cry because we are going through something that we did not plan for and were not ready. This is a lot for many of us to bear and being a man does not exempt me from the emotions that come with this pandemic.
Whatever you need to do to manage your mental health do it! There are so many lessons that I have learned from this pandemic and it’s time for a RESET. I pray that we all come through this physically and mentally healthier than before.