This post is written by Parul Malik, Associate at Jade Lex
It was Friday evening, people were going back from work, returning after meeting friends, some coming back to their homes after seeing their partners- oblivious to the fact that this could be the last time they see their colleagues, friends, beloveds in months to come and that is when it struck us. We were hit by a pandemic and we, to say the very least, were not ready for this. It is funny how we think we are invincible and we talk about ‘forevers’ and yet in a matter of few months all our invincibility has come down to pieces and it seems like there is no such thing as ‘tomorrow’. A thing as small as a virus has made the entire world bend on its knees. Your world might not return to normal. Despite this, I see hope…
I remember the morning I was given ‘work from home’. I woke up late, worked from home in my comfort zone, had lunch with my family after ages, and even took the liberty of taking a nap in between. I would be lying if I said that the first few days were anything less than a paradise. It was indeed heavenly until it wasn’t. In the wake of the pandemic, the governments around the globe decided to lock down nations and it was not long before the news channels started flashing the repercussions of it. There were thousands of immigrant workers waiting to go home, sit and have a meal with their family, just like I had, a few days ago. Hundreds of domestic violence cases were being reported and the end to it was nowhere near. This uncertainty of time for isolation made people feel hopeless about present and future as exemplified by the suicide of German state Finance Minister, and a 50-year-old man wrongly co-related his normal viral infection to COVID-19 and committed suicide. Medical healthcare professionals are also not immune to stress, anxiety and pressure as a young nurse in London took her life while treating COVID-19 patients. Social boycott and discrimination also added cases to the list of COVID-19 suicides as a 36-year-old man committed suicide due to social avoidance by the neighbors and his moral conscience to ensure not to pass on the virus to his community. I immediately shut the television because there’s nothing more important to me than my mental health. They say it’s all in your head so I convinced myself that ignorance is bliss. But that did not change the fact that this was someone’s reality- Someone was living my worst fear on roads or confined within the walls of their own home. I had the privilege of switching off, they did not.
This is life… we all get our fair share of ups and downs and I guess my ups were over. This may sound a little dramatic to those who have never experienced an anxiety attack before but for those of you who have, will understand the kind of fear that creeps up your bone and ties you mentally when you are in the middle of one. This was not something that happened to me daily but suddenly the attacks became frequent. Lockdown kept on extending and rightly so. All of a sudden the walls of my house started to shrink and the head on my shoulder started to feel heavy with all the claustrophobic overthinking. I had a feeling that the human race would never survive this and even if we do, thing will never go back to normal. All these thoughts were daunting and to be able to sit with these thoughts alone was petrifying. This became a routine, a routine I was not ready to settle for. I remember reaching for my cellphone and hitting the video call option because I needed to talk to someone. It might not sound significant but if you know an introvert you will understand that this would have never happened had it not been a pandemic. My friend could sense the absentmindedness and asked me if something was bothering me. I don’t generally have an easy time explaining things to people but we all know I called her because I wanted to let it out. So, I began talking about how no one should be left alone with their thoughts for this long and how the mind is a scary place to look into and how sometimes not thinking too much about something could be beneficial to people.
It was a 27:34 seconds call and I never knew talking could make someone feel light like a feature. I am not going to present to you a glorified picture of it. It was not rainbows and unicorns, it was exhausting because people don’t always understand what you are going through but it is worth taking a risk. These high walls around your house might make you feel like you are confined in your loneliness and the thing that I am going to say next is going to sound impossible but take my word for it, you are not alone. Talking helps, Period.
We think we don’t have time and we try to fight the storm as soon as it rises but what we need to understand is that these are mere thoughts. The one thing that I have learnt as a person suffering from anxiety is that whatever is not in your control, just let it go! All you have to do is breathe for now. Nature is taking it’s time to unwind and this is where we have to take a cue and do the same.
My world will not return to normal because the next time I get to go out I will not take anything for granted but more importantly, I will be kinder to people because we all are fighting our demons and that’s never easy. We will survive this and hopefully, you and I will cross paths someday and smile at each other because kindness would be the new cool after this pandemic gets over!