I Have Bipolar 2, and This Is How I'm Managing My Mental Health During the Pandemic in NYC
Living in the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic has thrown my mental health into a tailspin. To manage the symptoms of bipolar 2 — depression, hypomania, and anxiety — I thrive on routine. Before the pandemic hit, that meant getting up early, going to the gym or a fitness class, making a protein shake, getting ready, and taking the subway into the office. As my schedule and daily life changed completely, it really took a toll on my mental health.
It took a while for me to get into a set routine; the first couple weeks of our stay-at-home orders, I was routinely staying up until 3 a.m. watching Netflix, sleeping until 9 a.m., and drinking a little too much each night. I was so consumed by anxiety, I could barely eat. When I did manage to choke something down, it was usually calorie-dense comfort food that was easy to make, like chips and salsa or boxed mac and cheese. I wasn't working out, and I was too scared to leave the apartment. Needless to say, my mental health suffered.
More than two months later, I've finally settled into a set routine. With the help of live Zoom fitness classes, some meal prep, and outdoor walks in sunny, warmer weather (with a mask on, of course), I feel like I've gotten a better handle on my mental health. Of course, some days are better than others, and I'm by no means saying what works for me will work for everyone. This is just what I'm doing during these stay-at-home orders to keep my mental health in check.