COVID-19 isolated me from my normal life — and allowed me to see what had been wrong with it – NBC News

As I try to use this time of social distancing productively, I’m learning to forgive myself for my difficulties and to embrace my unique differences. Cornelia Li / for NBC News

Like a lot of people, the COVID-19 pandemic has meant that I’ve spent much of the last five months sitting at home with my family, unemployed, watching potential professional opportunities vanish and lacking a routine. As my face-to-face interaction with friends and acquaintances dwindled down to nothing and my mental health began to fluctuate — which puts me squarely within the 30 percent of Americans with symptoms of depression and 36 percent of Americans with symptoms of an anxiety disorder right now — I started going to virtual therapy.

In those sessions, I had to unpack more than just the emotional trauma of the pandemic. Being isolated from my normal life and support systems, coupled with the situation we’re all facing, forced me to face something I’ve tried to ignore for years.

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