Mental health in pandemic
Saloon Basnet, Kathmandu
Do you ever get sad for no reason? Like when you’re minding your own business and out of nowhere, you’re suddenly washed over with all kinds of emotions? I call it getting the blues because that’s how the world looks then; blue and somber. This overwhelming feeling seems to be a lot more common than we think it to be, even people who look the happiest struggles to keep afloat, especially in these contemporary times.
Every day we go through a series of events that we think to be trivial. With the passing of such events, we fill the vessel that is our body with emotions, making it apathetic. The trigger could be something as simple as a single word. This trigger is what’s going to tap into the vast number of emotions bottled up inside you.
And when the trigger finally goes off, you get flooded. You don’t realize what happened unless you decide to ponder on it. Maybe it’s problems in your family, your friends, disappointment in various ventures, or it could be yet another failed romantic endeavor.
The first time this happens, it’s very unfamiliar. You can barely comprehend what’s happening or what you’re feeling, and all you can do is let it all pour out. This unfamiliar feeling is so new to you that it scares you. What’s wrong with me? Why is this even happening to me? What is this feeling that I am feeling right now?
The efforts to find the answers to all these questions are rendered vile. With so many thoughts running through your mind simultaneously, you’re going numb. The wave passes and you’re just lying there in confusion, trying to get the faintest of ideas about what just happened.
Am I depressed? Maybe, maybe not. I haven’t the slightest idea how these labels work. The waves of emotions that were so new to you are getting more frequent and with the frequency comes familiarity. It’s not new to you anymore, not when you’re going through the same thing over and over again.
You’re facing an ocean of emotions and you’re getting hit with waves, waves that get larger every other time you face them. Once you’re familiar with the feeling, you start to figure things out. You’re no expert, but you can make sense of the events that led to you breaking.
The comments that you thought to be insignificant are much more meaningful to you. The little things aren’t little anymore. What meant something else to you before now has an entirely different meaning. The perceptions on matters change.
Coping mechanisms are different for every individual. Some may find comfort in laying in their bed in silence, some may pour it all out as tears and some may find solace in their sonic interests, anything that helps you escape this void of darkness that you’re in. You’re trying to find the light at the end of this endless tunnel that you’re going through. Apathy leads to numbness and with numbness, your desire to feel gets exponentially heightened.
You hear drugs make you feel when nothing else can, so that’s what you turn to. What begins as an experiment turns into an addiction. You can’t filter out what you feel and when you do, you’re back at the start trying to make peace with what you were so desperately trying to evade. You go around like the hands that keep counting the time, drawing circles.
Some battles you win and some you lose. When you’ve been battling your demons for so long, at some point you lose the will to fight. The best efforts you put in are still not good enough. Deep down, you know that you’re running out of energy. You can feel yourself giving up, drained. Not the end that you were hoping for, but accepting it is all you can do at this point, giving in to your demons.
Stuck in the hole so deep, you don’t even think it’s possible to climb out of it anymore. Tired of searching for alternatives, you decide that the pain will go away only when you’re gone. There are hints, cries for help everywhere, but they get noticed only when it’s too late.
People often don’t realize how important mental health is and neglect these hints on the daily. Checking up on people, asking them how they are doing and offering help; this little show of compassion can go a long way and it could be the little ray of light and hope for the ones stuck in the darkness. Letting them know you’re here for them could give them the strength to fight their battles and possibly even win. Isn’t that what we all crave when we’re getting the blues, a little compassion? You don’t realize how important something is to you until you lose it.
(Basnet is a BBA student at Kathmandu University School of Management.)