Covid-19: Is #Quarantine, the new competition?
- Days pass and the privileged are sheltered beneath a roof, confined within their four familiar walls; but the mounting pressure to use this time ‘fruitfully’ burdens all, even the emotionally stable.
A supposedly motivational post circulated on popular social media applications – Instagram and Twitter – at the start of the lockdown, stating, ‘If you don’t come out of this quarantine with a new skill, your side hustle started, more knowledge; you never lacked time, you lacked discipline’. This plain black text on white background image screamed productivity at first, creating a desire in the reader to open the Calendar application chart out an hour-by-hour, day-by-day schedule. If only it was that easy.
As a graduated-but-unemployed journalist, I’ve been told I’ll never get this free time again, and if I hustle-harder now, I’ll be ahead of the game once the job situation regains normalcy. This period ought to be viewed as precious time, crucial in building one’s career. Similarly, many peers have been receiving unasked-for advice that is probably given with the best of intentions. However, this creates a strain on the individual to push harder and perform better without factoring mental health and emotional wellbeing.
It has been brushed under the carpet or brushed off as all things strange. Mental illnesses are attributed as supernatural interventions, the devil’s doing or sometimes, pure insanity. The acceptance of a physical illness is easier, mainly because it can be explicitly seen or felt. The brain is the most powerful organ is seldom given attention, and when done so, often becomes a case of too-little-too-late.
The lockdown has affected the most stable, throwing everyone off balance and disrupting routines. It has drastically affected those with existing psychological problems – anxiety, depression, eating disorders – and likewise taken a toll on those who are not diagnosed with such illnesses. In October 2019, the World Health Organisation reported 450 million people worldwide suffered from a mental disorder. One can only wonder what the numbers are today, as thousands are rendered jobless, starved, out on the road with no access to basic amenities.
The privileged few with resources of counsellors and therapists have been affected nonetheless, as the scheduled appointments have shifted onto video conferencing platforms, or worse, cancelled. Facing this period unable to express oneself neither be understood can be mentally and emotionally draining. Reiterating, it is not easy for anybody, especially those who battle mental health issues every day.
The temporary solution is to provide helpline numbers to those finding this time difficult. Each day is a struggle, and trying to ease the situation by comforting one another is a viable option. So the next time you – dear reader – decide to give unsolicited advice, remember that everyone is going through a tough time, emotionally. And to those that may not receive the verbal advice but are low due to Instagram workout routines and well-plated food, remember it’s done purely for aesthetic. Your only takeaway shouldn’t be of comparison but of gratitude. Hang in there.