So Lauren, how do you cope with an eating disorder and depression during COVID-19?
I’m glad you asked, because I think it’s incredibly important to share this.
Let’s take a trip down memory lane to the beginning April…
I was living in a new apartment, freshly discovering an uncharted path I was initially excited for. Yet despite how much “freedom” I thought I was gaining, I still felt like I was trapped. I couldn’t escape the idea that control didn’t exist. I was at a pretty darn low point.
Through a lot of therapy and hard work, I managed to dig myself out with one very important coping mechanism: writing.
Obviously I can’t write every moment of every day. So I found other ways to keep myself motivated by literally focusing on myself by asking the question. “What does Lauren want and need?”
What I wanted, what I needed was to take a step back and look at the creative ways which help me thrive.
I needed to get in touch with my inner wild woman.
So I shared my story. I wrote about it. I made a video about it. I made a plan to actively participate in conversations which I usually steered clear of because you know, that whole vulnerability and confrontation thing I struggled with for so long. That many of us struggle with every single day.
As days progress, I continue to ask myself that same question every single morning:
“What does Lauren want and need today?”
Sometimes, I need a day to simply survive with my puppy and binge watching some garbage show.
Sometimes, I need to get my body moving and will dance around the living room for hours on end.
Sometimes, I need to work on my meal plan and take inventory with myself to say “Hey, how are you treating and feeding your body today?”
Sometimes, I want write until my face falls off.
Sometimes, I want to clean everything.
Sometimes, I want to take photos or make videos to remind myself that life can still be magical regardless of the situation at hand.
Sometimes, I need to drive two ours west and hide away in the mountains.
Sometimes, I need to play my guitar and sing at the top of my lungs.
Sometimes, I need to call my mom and cry because I miss her.
Sometimes, I want to pull out a book and sit on my balcony for six hours and read it from start to finish.
Sometimes, I want to play the game with myself where I take whatever is left in my cabinets and try to make something that actually tastes good from it. (Seriously, it’s actually kind of fun).
I’m not saying that every day I wake up and crush it. Hell no. There are days when the heavy wave comes in and all I can do is be pissed off at quarantine, hiding under the covers.
But for those that are new to this anxiety, depression, lack of sleep type of thing, I am here to promise you that it is manageable. It won’t just go away on its own. Those little monsters don’t work like that.
You have to find ways to shift the focus on what YOU need for yourself.
And I get it, I’m in a very different situation than others. Some people have children, and jobs, and homes to maintain. Some people don’t have any of those things and are struggling just to make ends meet. That is when I need to put myself in check and, even when the little monsters try to make their way into my ear canal on full blast, I remind myself that this time is a privilege.
Because the reality is, this whole quarantine thing isn’t very new to someone like me who forced themselves into isolation due to previous conditions. I’ve run into the brick wall where I find myself staring off into the distance. You know, that feeling where you aren’t looking at something, but rather through it and the world is a blur. For years, honestly.
It’s like, having these previous mental health conditions, in a weird way, prepared me for life in quarantine like a doomsday prepper.
So give it a try from someone who has been through cycles of isolation throughout a majority of her life.
Ask yourself today, what do you need? What do you want?
Today, what I need and want includes playing with Luna, writing my feelings, working on new music, and taking pictures in the park.
It’s as simple as that.