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  • Writer's pictureBehind the Mask

Slowly Falling — Maryland

I went into the pandemic a different person than who I am today. This pandemic has taken a toll not only on my body, but also the human body's most prized possession, my mind. Being a teenager in the 21st century is hard enough, but it's especially harder in a pandemic with a disease you know so little about. All you know is that one day you're fine and the next you feel like death is approaching at your door. In May 2020, I had COVID-19. During what felt like hell, I stopped eating. I lost a significant amount of weight. After I recovered I noticed the changes in my body, the looser fitting clothes, and most importantly, the compliments and male attention. Being 15, there were two important things I wanted, even if I always denied it to seem "humble" in a way. These two things were to be a pretty girl and to be successful. Honestly, being a pretty girl trumps being successful. I didn't mean to starve myself, at first. It all happened so fast, my body had unconsciously done its damage. I hated not being able to taste things or not enjoy my favorite foods, then I fell in love with the idea. It made being anorexic easier. This absolutely disgusted me, it still does. But there is this voice inside my head constantly judging me, it's definitely stronger than me.

After my recovery and about a four-week quarantine, everything started to come back, particularly my hunger and my appetite, which I dreaded the most. I was so mentally ill that a part of me wanted to get COVID-19 again just to lose more weight. Since I was at home more, I had more time to access social media, scrolling through the most toxic environments known to mankind. The more time locked up, the more time I had to hate myself. So what did I gain from this pandemic? Nothing, I lost my ability to love myself. My mental health deteriorated these past couple months. Everyday feels the same, like I'm slowly falling.

— Julissa Rauda, 16

Baltimore, Maryland


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