Akshita is a nineteen year old overachiever and perfectionist with big dreams, trying to wade through her entangled teenage years. An extrovert, dog lover and travel enthusiast who finds her ultimate home in the poems she can create at any given time of the day.
From a world of honking cars, jostling metros and crowded cafes to a four-walled space some of us have the privilege of calling ‘home’, the coronavirus pandemic has had its will of binding us indoors, apart from swinging the lives of all humans upside down. A 24X7 quarantined life, disrupted economic cycles, unemployment, stagnant travel plans, hurdles in education, separated families, domestic abuses, scarcity of basic necessities and tragic medical emergencies paint a picture of the aftermath and side-effects of the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns. However, a significant element of this picture is the acute mental health crisis, which like the Sun, is shining bright on the human world.
Humans are social animals dependent on each other for their emotional, physical and materialistic needs. Therefore, any attempts to hole up inside our houses to protect ourselves from the wrath of a virus, is bound to affect our mental health, no matter how much we try to downplay it. During the entire course of our lives, we bank on certainty, we make innumerable plans for the future and tread on our paths accordingly. It is simply due to this human tendency that uncertainty in the wake of a pandemic has baffled us so much; it’s almost as if our brain has nothing to think about, anymore. So, it goes onto absorb the anxiety floating around on the news channels, newspapers and social media. This in turn, induces the overwhelming feelings of fear, anxiety, loneliness and eventually-unproductivity.
During the course of the pandemic, a lot of people have been very harsh on themselves for not being productive enough, for experiencing sweeping emotions and the way they make them feel. For some reason, evading circumstances and neglecting problems has always appealed to the human race more than addressing or confronting them. Trying to pretend that everything is ‘normal’ or expecting that it is going to be ‘normal’ will not help us cope. The coronavirus pandemic has challenged the definition of ‘normal’ and will continue to do so for a significant period of time. Circumstances like these ask us to become dynamic, to live in the present and extract everything we can out of today. But it is not until we analyze our subjective wellness, accept our situations and decide to deal with our emotions. For once,we should try to take cognizance of ourselves, our body and our mental health. Sitting and having a conversation with ourselves in peace will give us more solace than lying to ourselves while binge-watching something on Netflix. The next step should be working on the problem, which becomes easier once we know the root of the problem.
Extraordinary circumstances like these call for finding certainty in uncertainty by strengthening our mental and emotional apparatus. Since we solely hold the reins of our lives in our hands, it is only us who can get things done by recognizing goals, setting targets and analysing outcomes. Freedom like that in the current times is like a double-edged sword and needs to be handled responsibly. It requires us to be even more disciplined and focused on our goals through our will power because we know that we aren’t answerable to anyone. However, this is not to say that one always needs to be riding the wagon of productivity. It is okay to feel drained and despondent on some days, it is okay to take a break, sometimes. But the only challenge is to protect ourselves from falling into the unending pit of lethargy, complacency and hopelessness. Remember, we as humans are the antonyms of perfection; always a work in progress. Before, during or after a pandemic, giving up has always been easier. It is the fighting that disconnects us from the world to connect with ourselves.
The views expressed are that of the wriiter.