By Vasundhara Pande and Charchit Kumar(20/05/2020 20:00 IST)
Who thought that the twenty-first century would allow us to sit on our couch, with feet resting on the table, scrolling down Instagram, and apparently getting bored of the boredom? This was all so unforeseen and so was the little tickling anxiety that has now occupied our minds. The uncertainty about the future cannot go unnoticed by any individual. This nationwide lockdown has unanimously forced us to over think situations that never existed earlier. At the same time, it opened doors for vivid thoughts and ideas that were earlier inhibited due to our struggle with the fast pace life. Suddenly, all have become chefs, avid readers, YouTubers, writers, and whatnot, the list is too long. The quarantine time made us reconnect with our authentic self which was long lost previously. Thanks to some self-care time.
On the other hand, it also made us ponder about our real heroes.
While the cinematic celebrities, sports personalities, entrepreneurs, travel bloggers, and all other popular faces are quarantined in their homes, our corona warriors, our healthcare staff, soldiers, police officers, general store owners are the front faces of this fight, finally getting the limelight they deserve for their exceptional work for the society.
Meanwhile, online chess designed by Nirmala Das, a civil engineer of Agartala gained popularity. The boredom-bred chess has now become global, connecting players from Brazil, Germany, etc. with Indian players.
With the uncertainty about the duration of the lockdown, panic spread fast and many felt the sudden urge for hoarding essential items resulting in large crowds at the markets.
The United States observed people fighting for toilet paper and other essential items during the imposition of national emergency during Covid-19 which justifies Margaret Chan's words," After all, it really is all of humanity that is under threat during a pandemic."
In March alone, people all over India hoarded record levels of cash, withdrawing almost four times more than the monthly average, and the people who didn’t have such cash to hoard, fearing hunger and financial breakdown, started irksome journeys to their hometowns.
Seeing all this hunger and poverty walking through the Indian roads, Individuals like you and me were caught with the “privilege guilt”. Guilt generated because of being equipped with basic amenities such as food, a house, and the internet knowing that there are a lot of helpless people ill-equipped with these necessities.
In a telephonic survey of around 5,000 elderly citizens conducted by volunteers of the NGO Agewell Foundation, the majority of subjects reported that although lockdown brought them closer to their relatives, it did not bridge the gaps. In fact, nearly 52% of the respondents said their relationship deteriorated with their family members during the period due to lack of communication, personal ego, interests, and attitude. While some are complaining that they feel ignored as the young people remain busy with their cell phones or computers, some complain that they feel lonely even while staying with their family members.
Imagine being locked in a room with no way out and a mentally sick person who beats, rapes, and harasses you in every way possible and that person is a family member. Horrified? Well, this is the harsh reality of many domestic abuse victims during the lockdown. The lockdown has brought a huge spike in the cases of domestic violence and what is even more worrying is that most of the cases are going unreported. Shahida Kamal, a member of Kerala Women’s Commission says that “Once the lockdown is lifted, we are expecting an avalanche of complaints from women subjected to physical and mental abuse at home”. Young innocent children are also suffering from extreme hardships of domestic violence during this time of crisis as is evident from an exponential rise in the numbers of domestic child abuse cases since the announcement of lockdown.
With all these problems in purview, it seems hard for one to maintain his/her mental health through this exceptionally tough period. Hardest for those who were already dealing with psychological disorders and issues of stress, anxiety, and depression, long before the worldwide lockdown. But remember you are worthy and capable of dealing with this, you are not alone.
Sustain a conversation with your family and friends-
We can connect with our loved ones, despite being so far away from them. So, take some time out to talk to your “favorites”, digitally.
Keep yourself busy
“If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.” And no, keeping yourself busy doesn’t necessarily mean doing work! But just keep doing something. Just be creative with it!
No matter how bad you want to sleep in your bed till noon, a word of advice – do some exercise. Even 5 minutes of exercise or meditation really helps.
After exercise people are less likely to interpret neutral social signals as threatening — something that people with social anxiety tend to do. Researchers have found that even five minutes of aerobic exercise can begin to stimulate anti-anxiety effects.
Limit the news
Your mind is not paranoid, it understands and feels everything you feed it. Therefore, it is recommended to take a little break from the news every now and then.
Reach out to help-
Finally, don’t hesitate to call for help if you need it, it will only worsen the issue. 91-9820466726 is the 24/7 helpline number of AASRA NGO which provides free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention, and crisis. Remember, there are people out there willing to help, just need to reach out to them.
- Authors' personal experience