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Commentary from San Quentin – Stress and Depression Brought on by COVID-19




COVID-19 isn’t only a physical complication, it’s a mental ailment as well and very few can really ignore or escape the harm done by the effects of this crippling condition.

There are ways to at least manage or minimize the debilitating impact of COVID-19 but trying to avoid or dismiss the melancholic gloom can tend to intensify rather than bring about a subsiding of the psychological and mental discomfort.

In my particular situation at San Quentin, I personally find myself locked in most of the time, encased in round-the-clock dread, loneliness, fear, and physical limitation in every way. Therefore, it’s vital for me to be innovative in ways to stay mentally active and not become a victim of irrational acts and thinking.

Just by acknowledging and taking drastic action to take hold to address the mental lull will set you on the road to recovery. You must be inventive by beginning with what brings you peace and joy on a physical level such as watching insightful movies, walking, exercising and sight-seeing.  Things that you can now do of course with the proper protocols and restrictions.

Meditation and yoga are among some things that can increase a positive state of mind. You only control things within your power, don’t contemplate on things that you have no power over because it only increases the anxieties associated with the COVID-19 condition.

One should engage in stimulating conversations, if possible, via the internet, or protected face-to-face conversations through masks.

Going to the park for a picnic for fresh air can help with a new start out of the gloom, despair and emotional deprivation.

For those who are also confined or bedridden, you can resist the thoughts of perceived neglect, brought on by solitude, by becoming your own best friend. All it takes is you.

Build your own world.

I find comfort in doing puzzles, listening to assorted music, reading good books and exercising in this limited space. 

I’ve discovered that there’s a need to find ways to make lemon juice out of lemons and not allow COVID-19 and all its ill-effects to simmer and traumatize myself to the extent that it prevents me from moving forward. I believe that we should never be afraid to seek help where needed.

Richard Johnson K-53293


San Quentin



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