I am Belle Bleichner. My quirky aunt, Taylor, is the Product Manager at MedLearn Publishing (I miss you!). I’m 16 years old, and I’m finishing up my sophomore year at Hopkins High School in Minnesota. I am passionate about video games and animals, and I’m a child at heart. The worst part of this is that even since before this pandemic, I have been suffering from depression.

Let’s start from the beginning. I have been surviving with depression for about half a year. I started to seek help two months prior to the pandemic. It was March when COVID-19 started to become more of a reality for me. The talk and rumors of school transitioning to online learning was the best sound to my ears. School has always been a strange alien world to me. On the surface, everything seems fantastic: good grades, friends, and a pleasant attitude. I have never been the child that rebels. 

Right before the pandemic, I already had stress on my shoulders due to people I care about trying to ask why I was feeling this way. The saddest part is that I still don’t even know. Thankfully, now that I’m out of that school environment, it feels like I can breathe. When social distancing and stay-at-home orders were put in place, I already knew how to be cooped up at home all day. Home is the best place to be. When I first heard the news, I went to my grandparents, since my dad’s girlfriend is working and they couldn’t bear to get me sick. The pandemic overall has greatly improved my quality of life, and it has helped me become closer with family, friends, and my orange ball of fluff (cat). I’ve been inside more often, so whenever I take a step out the door, my kitty Ginger gives a loud and sad meow. She doesn’t like when I or my grandparents leave, even when we go outside to eat right next to the house, where she can see us. My days now consist of Ginger, family fun, and video games. This time reminds me of the corrupted blood outbreak in one of my favorite games, World of Warcraft. Much like COVID-19, if you were close to another player, the sickness would spread to you and others around you. An epidemiologist even studied the reaction players had to the outbreak and learned from it. 

Though things are looking up, there is still stress. I think the pandemic has made most people go a little stir-crazy. In that sense, people want to get back to normal as soon as possible. Even though I don’t like to go out much, an escape room and a visit to Target are things I didn’t think I would miss. The pandemic isn’t the only stressful situation during this time. A disturbing video of George Floyd’s death was shared with the world in the midst of the slight reopening of Minnesota.

I highly support peaceful protest, and during this tragic event, we should be speaking up. It’s sad that this is also happening during the COVID-19 outbreak, and I hope people can social distance and wear masks, if possible. Even when the number of cases was at its peak, masks were hardly worn. I have a bad feeling that it’s only going to get worse. I’m worried for all of my family, especially those with underlying conditions.

Please wear a mask if you can, and social distance! 

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