Written Story by Anonymous

The first time I heard about Covid-19, I thought it was the same as any flu that will be over in a  couple of weeks. Suddenly, schools were going online, typical school experiences were a thing  of the past. I was anxious out of my mind about my last year of high school. My last year of high  school, as well as my last year in the early college at Portland Community College, had just  begun. I had to take college classes while trying to complete both my high school and  associate’s requirements. When we had to switch to online school, I remembered feeling like  failure was inevitable for me since I had not anticipated not being in an online environment. I  was feeling overwhelmed because I had to adjust to a different learning environment on top of  having to juggle my high school and college requirements. I was unfamiliar with learning online  and did not know how to navigate this new system. It was a lot of pressure for me to learn all  the various tools and techniques quickly. I found myself stuck in feelings of incompetence. I had  to take classes like human anatomy and statistics. I convinced myself that I couldn’t do it and  that I would not be able to get my associate’s like I wanted. I started showing anxiety symptoms,  especially through binge eating because of fear of disappointing myself and my family. I  experienced an increased sense of pressure and feeling overwhelmed because I was constantly  comparing myself to others and believing I couldn’t keep up. I also felt like I was letting myself  and my family down, which led to feelings of guilt and shame. This further compounded my  anxiety and negative thoughts. Due to the lockdown in those early stages of Covid-19, I couldn’t  get out of my house or find a place to do other things that didn’t pertain to schoolwork. This  made it difficult to find a sense of balance and break the cycle of comparison and perfectionism.  It also prevented me from taking much-needed breaks and engaging in activities that could help  me manage my stress, such as exercise, meditation, or talking to friends. Fortunately, Zoom  became famous quickly and a group of people were able to meet online. I had several  opportunities to get together with my youth group from church to talk and go through the word  of God and remind me that I am not alone even when I think I am. It allowed for a sense of  community to remain during this uncertain and isolating time. It gave me the chance to take a  break and speak with friends. This helped take my mind off of the stress of the pandemic for a  time and gave me a sense of peace. It was a great way to share our joys, sorrows, and  experiences with each other. We were also able to use it to stay connected to our church family  and keep up to date with all of the latest news and events. There are still after-effects of my experiences of Covid. I was diagnosed with anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder in 2021.  Most people don’t know if the internal issues I suffered during Covid and even now when the  after-effects can be felt. I am glad that I was able to get help when I needed it and found a way  to deal with what I was going through.