I switched off my alarm today morning and goaded myself into getting five minutes of extra sleep, as I didn’t feel ready for Monday. In that lull between sleep and consciousness I saw myself drinking a cup of coffee at a restaurant. But then my consciousness teased me, “This isn’t happening anytime soon.” I sat up in bed and realised I was feeling unusually low. It has been exactly two months since I ventured out of my house. For the sake of my own sanity and because I have a young kid at home, I have been trying to stay as upbeat as possible. We have everything one needs to sail through this lockdown comfortably, I keep telling myself repeatedly. And yet, somehow this feeling of negativity overrides my sense of assurance, and even the gratefulness that I must feel for being in a much better position than many are right now.
WHY SHOULDN'T PUNISH OURSELVES:
- The certainty that this ordeal may not be over soon could have triggered negativity in many.
- Most of us urban middle class dwellers have everything one needs to sail through this lockdown comfortably.
- And yet a lot of us are feeling low under lockdown.
- Should we beat ourselves us for not feeling grateful all the time?
A lot of us have accepted that this pandemic isn’t coming to an abrupt end in the near future, and that has deflated our enthusiasm. Our idea of normality stands challenged, and who knows when it will be restored, if ever. In April, WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus made it clear that we need to brace ourselves. “Make no mistake we have a long way to go. This virus will be with us for a long time,” he said. So while the lockdown may end in the coming month or two, the “normal” routine that we were used to may not return as soon as we expect it to.
We don’t know when we might get to eat at our favourite restaurant, or just take a walk through crowded markets in the heart of the city, browse for hours at a books store, take a vacation, meet our parents and loved ones, wait at the bust stop for the kids to come back from school. All these things that we used to do, little or big, matter to us more, now that we do not know when we might get to do them.
Don’t go by all the happy posts on your Insta feed, most of us are waking up with anxiety and our thoughts are just breeding grounds for stress. Which means we are all in this together.
Which is why it is completely okay to feel low. In fact not being upbeat may have its own benefits. In an article for SheThePeople.TV, psychologist Shraddha Vilekar writes that any ray of hope or any positive sign can make us test our self-preserving nature and give in to the adventurous pleasure-seeking behavior. I think that was clearly visible the liquor shops were opened in phase three of the lockdown, and everybody thronged the streets, queued up for miles, just to get their hands on some beer or whiskey. Those who didn’t step out, mostly did that because they knew that while the lockdown has been relaxed, things are far from being over.
While one should understand the difference between feeling low due to the situation and depression ( for which consultation with a trained profession is advised), one must also realise that we are not alone in this situation. Don’t go by all the happy posts on your Insta feed, most of us are waking up with anxiety and our thoughts are just breeding grounds for stress. Which means we are all in this together. We are moving through the pandemic isolated, but connected by a shared experience. And perhaps that can help you feel better. How? Simply, by sharing your experience.
For instance, I sat down to write this post. Even if my experience can inspire someone to share their ordeal, be it on social media or face to face with their loved ones, it could lead to a chain reaction. We can only do so much to pacify ourselves and those around us. One of them is to share our feelings and to open up about not feeling okay.
So enough about championing fitness, or acing cooking. Enough of being perfect moms and excellent employees, let us open up about our lockdown struggles too. Perhaps sharing our negativity could be a good way to beat it, isn’t it?
The views expressed are the author's own.