Reflections and Takeaways Special Edition | Page 22

The COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2019, and I was 12. COVID has definitely been more of an unpleasant experience. It has broken families, caused homelessness, killed others and more. One particular type of person it has affected is us, teenagers. We’re social, energetic, and lively, but not anymore. I was thinking of talking about the usual, such as school online, but I’ve changed my mind. Believe it or not, COVID has had its benefits on me as a person. It started all the way back in 2017, when I was a child in elementary school. I had realized, slowly walking up to present my history book with my head looking down as much as possible, that I didn't like it. I didn't like socializing, and I didnt like being anywhere but at home. Though I didn't realize how serious the situation was since I didn't know anything about mental health. I would walk outside to play with my friends, immediately needing to go back inside because my heart rate would reach to 170. Little did I know I had a serious anxiety disorder. This lasted for around 2 years. Days of endless torture affected me so much until I had lost all my friends and even family. I had no one, except myself. I didn't see myself as a human being, and I knew something was wrong when all those sad and depressing songs people listened to actually made sense to me. Then, COVID-19 finally hit. I was confused, and immediately scared. I spent my first days doing nothing and just watching the news, until online school was officially set up and ready. First, came the small hints. The teacher would ask a question, and usually I would never answer even if I knew the answer, but when I had the supporting atmosphere of my home, I answered. I realized a change in myself. It was a strange feeling to not feel my heartbeat ring in my ears. Gradually, I was back. I felt normal and less like a bomb that would explode often. I wanted to laugh and actually talk to people. I was back, and I was happy.

Jasmin Gillini