As someone who doesn’t know how to express herself in any way other than writing, I thought my duty during these difficult times is to pour my heart out and try to spread positivity or at least let my words be a pat on the shoulder or a warm virtual hug to whoever reads my writings. But ever since the word “Corona” started circulating, I haven’t been able to sit down and hold a pen or use the keyboard for anything other than work tasks.
By now, I think I went through all the stages of facing a tough situation and reached the final stage, which is acceptance.
Just yesterday, I had figured I went through all the stages of grief. The first stage, which is denial, took a longer period, probably because this is how I usually deal with things (horrible, I know). It included symptoms of covering my ears whenever this topic is opened, living my life as if there is nothing happening around the world and as if it’s just a regular working from home day—escalating to getting aggressive whenever my cousin gets anxious because of the topic or whenever my sister complains about not being able to go out or see her friends.
I didn’t stay much in the second stage, which is anger, probably because I was so determined not to let anything disturb my peace. Then there’s the third stage, which is bargaining. It was me acknowledging the fact that there is some world crisis going on, but it’s not affecting me or my surroundings, it’s just there but far from me. The fourth one was depression, where I found myself having constant insomnia, struggling to work, and having random crying sessions every now and then. Being deprived of my simple daily routine, such as blasting songs on my way to work and stopping to get my favorite coffee and seeing everyone at the petrol station holding their coffee cups, was a hard pill to swallow.
And looking at my social media gave me more anxiety. All of a sudden social media was split into two teams, those who are automatically sharing every piece of news and information about the topic and those who create. Writers started writing beautiful pieces, painters started painting their feelings out, shy chefs started flaunting their talent openly, and yoga fanatics started sharing their daily sessions. The more I saw, the more I felt the pressure to sit down and create, but I couldn’t, and it added up to my anxiety.
Up till yesterday, as my aunt would say, I wasn’t “respecting my humanity.” Meaning, I did not give myself the chance to feel what I needed to feel in order to know how to deal with the situation the way that suits me and not follow what anyone else is doing to fill their time or cope with the situation.
It was around 7 pm when I was going in and out of the million apps that are open on my phone, then got into Instagram for the 50th time probably. By then, I had memorized all the stories, posts, and even the TikTok dances my friends were posting, then I stumbled upon a story one of my friends had shared that mentioned that the government would be imposing a two weeks lockdown starting 8pm. All of a sudden, I have felt all the emotions that have been piling up for the past month altogether at the same time. I felt a rush through my veins that moved every muscle in me, and I started having a panic attack. I felt anger, sadness, pressure, loneliness and suffocation. It even dragged along piled up emotions from different situations that I’ve been trying to deal with for months. After I calmed down completely, I discovered I needed to let myself feel.
I knew this was the final stage which is acceptance (because I read about it the other day), I said to myself I understand it’s a tough situation that we are all in, but we’re all in this together. I remembered a line I read in (as cheesy as it will sound) one of Nicholas Sparks’ novels that said: “If we’re all alone, then we’re all together in that too.” And that made me feel a little bit better. I decided to call-out every negative thought and understand that it’s not real, and it’s just because of the current situation. I made peace with the fact that I might not create anything at all during this phase, and it’s completely fine. And that I won’t be able to physically see or touch those I care about for a certain period of time, and that’s okay because I know after this is all over, I will cherish every moment with them, and would never take them for granted.
I also realized that I need to be more understanding because people deal with tough situations differently. Those who are spending hours in the kitchen like my mom are not doing it out of enjoyment or to force the no ordering food from outside rule; it’s because she’d rather put this negativity into something that her family might enjoy. And those who are on the news app 24/7 reposting every new piece of information are not trying to sound like the “know it all” smarty or intending to freak people out, rather they might be trying to share their anxiety to get their friends involved and help them talk to calm themselves down and not feel alone in this. And those like my father redecorating the house all noon are not trying to impose their opinion but trying to stay distracted and stay positive amongst the financial situation the whole world is going through.
Let’s choose to remember our humanity during these difficult times; it’s incredible that we’re witnessing how the whole world is praying altogether at the same time for the same thing.