Mental Health

My Isolation Experience: Ben

by Benjamin Ohene

Being confined to a space for an indefinite amount of time can take its toll on one’s perception and spirit. The days blend together; the mind loses track of time. What day is it? I’m not sure, but the sun has gone down at least 14 times now.

Along with quarantine’s blur of time is the isolation from the outside world. Being confined in a small New York City apartment with awkward flat-mates and my anxiety added another dimension to it all for me.

In confinement, I began to notice the small things. The odd speck of paint in the corner of my windowpane became more apparent, the squeak from my desk chair seemed to get louder. The walls of my already small bedroom appeared to be closing in on me. I missed the small aspects and activities of my previous everyday life: riding the train from work, visiting libraries to sit and take in literature, conversing with bartenders about life while sipping on cold beverages. I wondered when—or even if—I would be able to experience those things again. This whole pandemic seemed surreal. With the media coverage on COVID-19 constantly buzzing around me and the streets of Brooklyn empty, I felt as though I was trapped in a bad horror film. I was just waiting for the movie to be over—its rating: zero stars.

Jennifer Conn / WKSU

Though I do have thoughts and emotions, I’m not the type to sit in self-pity for long. I couldn’t go outside and interact with the world like I used to be able to, so I adapted to my new living situation. I called friends who I hadn’t spoken with in a while so that I could hear their voices and catch up on their lives. With my new perspective, I continued writing stories that I hadn’t touched in months. I read books online and tried food pairings that I had never experienced before. Have you ever eaten white-meat chicken with cherry jam? It’s not bad. Not bad at all.

Courtesy Chandler Cruttenden via

Through my time indoors, I spent more time socializing with my flat-mates. They didn’t have anywhere to be. We had the chance to get to know each other better and find deeper similarities among ourselves. It wasn’t easy at first, but the more time that you spend around somebody, the closer you grow together. Through it all, I am trying my best to have a bright outlook. I will be attaining my master’s degree sometime this year—depending on what the universities plan on doing about upcoming graduations—and I’m looking forward to what the future holds in store. The world will return to normal. It may not be the normal that we were accustomed to before, but the new normal will hopefully contain improvements for society and for us all.

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