It's okay not to be okay!

It's okay not to be okay!

As we all know, by the past four to five months, the entire globe is on pause because of the COVID-19 pandemic. People have diverse experiences to share during this outbreak. Everyone’s life is affected in some way or the other, physically, socially, economically, or psychologically. There are people who are actually suffering from the virus, there are people who are in isolation and quarantine, and some of them are living in places that are highly vulnerable to the disease. And all others who are currently safe are worried about community spreads and whether they or their family will get affected by the virus in the future or not. People are also affected economically. Due to the COVID-19, the world is hit adversely by an economic recession in which, unemployment and lay-off is increasing and business is getting hard. People are witnessing severe financial crisis and job insecurities. Students are also affected adversely as they are worried about completion of courses, especially those who are getting graduated this year. They are also perplexed about higher studies, moving abroad for education, and also placement opportunities. Besides, there are also so many individuals who have lost their jobs, who have been stuck somewhere away from their home, who have struggled to get back to their homes, and who have survived all these days of quarantine.

All these experiences have created lots of uncertainties in our minds regarding academics, career, financial security, and in pursuing our dreams. And these uncertainties have potential impact on our mental health, causing stress, anxiety, depression, and distorted thinking. And in such a scenario, it won’t be practical to ask people to ignore the adversities and remain happy. We might feel pessimistic, hopeless, lifeless, mentally shattered, and exhausted with the monotony of life in lockdown. And resulting anticipations may force us to take wrong decisions based on instant gut feelings. We might also suffer from emotional conflicts due to being physically distant from our closed ones and also due to worries about health. It is true that such significant mental health issues can be harmful to us if not addressed appropriately. It is obvious with no doubt that, this is a period of high uncertainty and insecurities. Thus it is fine to feel negative and desperate sometimes. It’s normal to be worried in tough times like this as that is how the human psyche tries to overcome the challenges.

Thus, if you’re someone who is unable to cope up with these repercussions, hold on for a while. Relax yourself and believe that these are going to end one day or the other. So wait till you feel equipped to regain your confidence and self-esteem and avoid making any quick conclusions before attaining that level of mental equilibrium. Also this is a time in which social distancing is necessary and so is emotional connectedness. Today we have advanced technology that enables us to stay connected with our family and friends. Use such opportunities and stay in loop with your dear ones. Social support is inevitable in periods like this. So talk to others, listen to their worries, empathize on them and try to empower each other. Understand that we all are together in this situation. The corona virus has affected every sphere of the society, regardless of national and geographical boundaries, regardless of socio-economic status, and regardless of gender and age. Thus, though the experiences might be different, we are more or less in the same shoes. And that makes us easy to understand others and provide them the required emotional support. Besides, if required, never hesitate to seek out mental health services and talking to counselors and other mental health professionals so that you can avail expert opinions and strategies to deal with potential worries and psychological conflicts.

Often we are more worried not because we are not happy, rather because we overemphasize the necessity for being happy always. It’s acceptable and normal to feel worried and hopeless at some phases of life. Mental health is not about being happy always. It is about understanding your threats and coping with your worries. So in this unprecedented context, give more prominence to being peaceful rather than being happy. And believe that, this too shall pass.

Stay safe everyone.

About the Author

Parvathy Viswanath
PhD Scholar (Psychology).

I'm Parvathy Viswanath, PhD scholar in Psychology from Christ (Deemed to be University), Bangalore, Karnataka, India. I hail from Thrissur, Kerala.

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