By Jhasua Scicchitano – Editor-in-Chief
As the days go by, I find myself drifting in and out of sleep. As faint rays of light shine through my curtains, I count down whatever hours remain of the day until my room turns dark. To me, every hour feels like I am facing a divine punishment in which I am forced to repeat the same things over and over again. I lose track of what day it is — time does not exist anymore. However, the hours that pass still linger over me. I am reminded of this every time I look in the mirror to see my hair — devouring any bare skin that resides on my face like weeds in a garden.
This pandemic has changed me. I feel like I am slowly losing my mind and have succumbed to the illness that has plagued my family for years. An illness that is not COVID-19, but something far worse — depression. There is nothing scarier than being trapped in the four walls of your bedroom with the thing you fear most, yourself. For me, this will probably only be temporary given the circumstances, but I now know first-hand the struggles that some of my family go through every day, especially my grandmother.
During this experience, I have learned to observe and understand more, ultimately making me see things that weren’t clear before. I always thought my grandmother was a strong woman, unfazed by anything that life threw at her despite her depression. She always asks me how my day was and greets me with a smile. But now I realize that is what depression looks like — a smile. A facial expression that seems so welcoming on the surface but acts as a mask for the pain that eats away at you deep inside.
Although I know what it looks like, there is no real way to describe how it makes me feel. Unless you have felt it, you wouldn’t really know. A lot of people assume that depression is just sadness, but it is much more than that. Quarantine has taught me that depression is a kind of emptiness — you can hardly feel anything at all. To feel sad would mean to feel something, but depression is the exact opposite. It is the absence of any feeling — like watching the world from a glass lens while your spirit lies numb inside of your body.
You never truly realize how serious something is until you experience it yourself. So, while I haven’t experienced issues with COVID-19 directly, I can honestly say that it has indirectly affected my life in a huge way. Ultimately, it has brought me closer to depression — an illness that I knew ran in my family, but never thought to look into how they were affected by it. If isolation has taught me one thing, it is to look deeper than the surface because you never know what a person is hiding behind their smile. Each year, about 25 million Americans suffer from depression — imagine what that number is like today in quarantine.