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'I cry every day.' We asked 25 women in lockdown how their mental health is, really.

The tears keep rolling down her chin. The fear of the unknown weighs heavy on her chest. Each day blurs into the next, with little structure to separate the mornings from the middays to the evenings. The weeks pass with little relief. 

She could be any one of the millions of people in lockdown in Australia right now.  

As we wait for mass vaccinations to arrive, Australians remain at the mercy of lockdown measures. Greater Sydney, Victoria, and - as of this evening - South Australia are all in lockdown for, at least, one more week.  

Listen: Why thousands of Aussies are leaving forever. Post continues below. 

It's been 18 months since the pandemic began. The mental health impact has been widely debilitating, with Lifeline reporting record demand in the past year. 

So, in an effort to check in on the mental health of Australian women right now, we asked 27 women in the Mamamia community: How are you doing, really? 

Here's what they told us.

Cathy, 50, Wollongong.

I feel terrible. I was doing okay, but it is just getting harder and harder. I need to see my best friend. I need to give her a hug. I need to see people in real life other than the three people I live with. 

I am getting good mental healthcare but it just isn't quite enough at times. 

While I quite like being alone, I need to actually be alone.

Gemma, 30, Sydney.

My mental health is deteriorating. I feel helpless and hopeless. I feel like our lives will never go back to normal because our politicians can't get their s**t together. 

All I feel is anger. I'm angry at our governments, the vaccine roll out, the double standards, the locked borders, the constant blame-shifting, anti-vaxxers and rule breakers. 

I am so angry. I am exhausted.

Alexandra, 51, Geelong.

I wanted to cry this morning. My work place has been identified as Tier 2. I haven't been able to sleep at night. But I do feel proud of my state for acting swiftly and providing clear directions. 

Maddy, 25, Sydney.

I just feel so flat, my motivation is zero. I am exhausted.

Louise, 30, Sydney.

My mental health is not great to be honest. 

I know we're not suffering in Sydney as bad as Melbourne have, but that doesn't make it any easier. My mother has been caught in lockdown with my husband and I as the closed Queensland border has meant she is unable to leave, even though she has a home there. 

It has been really challenging catering to her needs, and my husband's, and my own. I'm really fed up with how much the pandemic has brought out people's inner selfishness, and turned the states against each other. 

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We're supposed to be one, united country, but it feels like it's every woman and man for themselves.

Madeline, 34, Sydney.

I like to think I'm doing fine, but when I sit back and try to see my life objectively, I'm less patient and more snappy when things don't go to plan.

My stress levels are higher and I'm not as positive with my family as I normally would be. I'm not making time for myself because I'm not able to even physically distance myself from my children... 

By the time they go to bed and I have some time to myself, I am too exhausted to do anything and end up going straight to bed.

Sarah, 43, regional Victoria.

I’m not coping well. I'm crying every day at the moment. 

I couldn’t do much at all yesterday. I had the strongest urge just to get back into bed. I'm also drinking too much. 

I can’t reconcile everything in my head and I’m really tired of scheduling and adapting and compromising. 

Maddie, 27, Sydney.

I think I'm okay. There are some days where I feel really anxious and have a cry. Other days I don't want to leave the house, which may seem like a weird reaction because we are stuck inside all day, however sometimes it feels like an extreme effort. 

It's hard to stay positive and to believe the end date is in sight as the cases continue to rise. It feels like there is nothing to look forward to. 

That being said, I live with my girlfriend and housemate. Every weekend we try to plan something fun, which gives us something small to look forward to. 

Side note... How to talk to people with anxiety. Post continues below. 


Video via Mamamia.

Michelle, 29, regional NSW.

I'm pretty wobbly. I have great days, and some days I wake up and want to cry before 8am. 

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I'm currently doing lockdown solo because my partner is away and locked down elsewhere for work. It's felt incredibly isolating and disheartening, and I'm having a really difficult time.

Katie, 27, Sydney.

It's seriously up and down. Some days I feel ready to tackle the world - going on walks, making dinners from scratch and calling my friends and family for happy catch ups. Then it swings the other way and I feel hopeless. I feel like I might never see my family back home in England, that I'll never be able to trust that milestone moments will be safe again, and that we'll all be stuck in this endless joy-sucking cycle of going in and out of lockdown. 

I've also been helping my friend out of an abusive relationship during this lockdown which has been so tricky to navigate because I can't just have her over to my house to cook for her and give her refuge when she's scared and alone. So it's been a lot of text therapy and phone calls to keep her feeling strong and not going back to her abuser.

Genevieve, 26, Sydney.

I'm taking every day as it comes. Some days are fine, whilst others feel really hard and involve a lot of waterworks.

Camille, 31, Melbourne.

At the moment, I'm doing really badly. I'm crying for seemingly no reason multiple times a day. I'm not looking forward to the next day and I'm getting frustrated with my child really quickly. 

It's hard because the counselling system is so inundated right now, making it impossible to get professional help.

Jessica, 35, Melbourne.

I'm really not doing great. I feel flat, particularly about not not having anything to look forward to.

Jennifer, 32, Sydney.

I don't like to complain because I consider myself lucky to have a job, to live with my partner and to be able to exercise daily. But this lockdown and the pandemic, in general, is affecting me a lot. 

I'm very stressed because work is a lot more demanding. I'm devastated to not have seen my family who live overseas for two years now. Two of my sisters have had babies and I haven't met my nieces yet. 

I am also very sad because my partner and I have tried to get pregnant for two years. We were about to have our first IVF embryo transfer last month which has been cancelled until further notice. 

I can't get vaccinated because I'm not eligible.

I feel trapped and there's nothing I can do. 

Alison, 40, Sydney. 

The days are tough. I'm trying to home school, work, and tame a two-year-old.

Katie, 26, Melbourne.

I feel a bit stagnant as some life and career milestones are on hold or are moving slower than planned due to the pandemic. 

I haven't had a break in two years as I don’t want to waste my leave on a trip that could be cancelled. I would actually quite like if I couldn’t work (and was eligible for the disaster relief payment), as that’s only slightly less than my salary but I wouldn’t have to work. 

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Karen, 59, Melbourne.

I'm extremely fragile. I’m often close to tears and other times I'm just closed down and not responsive. 

Sarah, 39, NSW Central Coast.

I'm struggling. It's hard not to feel angry when you can see lockdown being caused by the selfishness of others. I just hate what my kids are missing out on. 

Felicity, 46, Melbourne.

I'm coping better today than I was this time last year. It is still hard but could be worse.

Nikki, 38, Melbourne.

I’ve always been a really positive person but fifth time around and this lockdown has really got me. 

I honestly don’t think I’ve ever felt this low, ever. I know we need to do this but I’m feeling really sad. I worry for my kids and what impact this is going to have on them long-term, so I’m jumping from feeling sad about the present but also worrying about the future because I know this won’t be the last lockdown. 

"I honestly don’t think I’ve ever felt this low, ever." Image: Getty. 

Emma, 20, Sydney.

This lockdown has felt very different for me as I moved out of my family home at the start of this year, and I'm also recently single for the first time since pre-COVID.

This time I've had to spend a lot of time with myself which has been uncomfortable and difficult but also eye-opening. I'm feeling very sensitive. I often wake up feeling particularly angry at the world for stealing away my time being single and in my 20s, but as time goes on, I have gotten better at coping.

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The things that have helped most have been limiting my screen time (reading instead), meditating, doing yoga, journalling and cooking fresh meals.

I'm pretty pissed at the world though.

Rachel, 28, Melbourne.

My mental health is hanging by a thread. I haven’t seen my family since the end of 2019 and I’ve found out I’m pregnant after years of infertility. Such a happy time, but definitely has a dark cloud over it.

Tahlia, 32, Sydney's Northern Beaches.

I'm not doing great. I live in a unit, I’m heavily pregnant and trying to work from home whilst simultaneously looking after an energetic toddler. It’s taking its toll.

Brittany, 29, Molesworth, VIC.

My mental health is not the best right now. I am having mood swings, and I feel sluggish, withdrawn and highly anxious. I force myself to get outside for a small amount of time - it could be a proper exercise walk or a quiet paddock walk with the kids. 

Although I am lucky to live out in the country, it is very isolating not seeing any other people for days at a time. 

Kia, 39, Melbourne. 

I've never felt more lonely.

Amelia, 24, Sydney. 

I feel more certain of the future than previous lockdowns. Last year, it felt like the world was turning upside down. Now, I know we will be okay. I know we will get through it. 

This too shall pass.

Feature image: Getty. 

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