When COVID-19 hit Ireland, life put me in front of a difficult decision. Whether to continue my long-distance relationship with my boyfriend, in the hope that borders would stay open, or move to the Netherlands to live with my partner. I chose the latter.

Changing countries is never easy. Adapting to a new culture, getting used to the weather, and creating a good circle of friends is always challenging. Through the years I’ve been living in a few different countries and I learned how to nourish new friendships. My number one rule was to make sure to enroll in a few courses to get to know new people. Obviously, COVID-19 made this difficult.

As a consequence, I quickly started to feel lonely. This lasted for about three months during which my mental health slowly deteriorated. At the end of May 2020, I was done with it. I decided to get a job to meet new people and moved to a shared house, but it was too late. I had become an introvert! The more time I spent by myself the more I wanted to be alone. My mental state was suffering and I had continuous mood swings.

It was only in November 2020, that I was able to open my eyes to my situation. I needed to socialize again but the second wave of COVID-19 was just around the corner, closely followed by the third one. All restaurants and shops closed again and the possibility to socialize diminished. But this didn’t stop me. For months I kept forcing myself to socialize. I can now proudly say that I’m an extrovert again.

In late April 2021, the lockdown finally ended, restaurants and shops opened again and I’m now happy I have a nice circle of friends with whom I can hang out.