I didn’t think I would get through the Coronavirus pandemic.
Ever since the ‘Janta curfew’ was announced, reading newspapers and watching television had started becoming stressful for me. After a point, the increase in the number of deaths in India made me wonder if I was going to be the next one to die or if someone from my family would get infected with the virus. I did not realize the amount of tension I was experiencing after watching the news channels flashing numbers of covid positive cases and deaths every day.
One evening, I received an email from my office stating that my salary was being reduced by half due to the lockdown. It broke me completely as it added on to my existing list of stressors, and became another cause of great concern. Since I lived away from my family, I had to perform all daily chores on my own, and stepping out of the house to buy essential items was something I started fearing. I would even fear touching any surface or talking to anyone in the society because I just wanted to protect myself.
Instead of avoiding the negative news and articles, I had started scrolling through Instagram even more so as to keep up with the latest updates about the whole situation. My screen time had increased to an unhealthy level. This led to sleepless nights, with me wondering about all the possibilities of me contracting the virus such as the courier guy being infected with the virus or the milkman coughing in front of my door, etc. My daily routine was disturbed and my sleep cycle had become a mess. I would only wake up to negativity and thus, could not focus. I started getting excessively worried about my parents as well. But I somehow kept pushing myself.
After months, just when things had started getting better, we were hit by the second wave of the pandemic. All the distressing thoughts came rushing back to me. This time, in addition to the previous signs, I also started having episodes wherein I would go blank at times while thinking about the purpose of my life. It was only when my behavior started seeming odd to my friend did I realize that the pandemic was haunting me and affected my mental health drastically. He suggested that I seek counselling. Like most people, I thought that I did not need therapy, and that I could manage everything by myself. However, with my mental health worsening, I couldn’t think of anything else but to book a therapy session.
After the first few sessions, it felt like a heavy burden was off my shoulders. I understood where everything was coming from, and how I got caught in the spiral of negative thoughts. Gradually, I started figuring out ways to manage the never-ending circle of these distorted thought patterns. Therapy made me understand how one negative thought led to another, and how I could break the chain. I had to unlearn a lot of ways in which I dealt with stress.
Therapy helped me learn so much about myself. My sleep cycle also improved. I thought to myself “why did I not seek help earlier?” It was only because of therapy that I was able to process my emotions related to the pandemic, and I was able to deal with all my fears. I started looking at things differently.
Now, I make sure to meditate at least thrice a week since it helps me focus better. I have brought about certain changes in my lifestyle, which were suggested by my therapist. I decided to be positive and focus on things that I can control instead of worrying about uncertain things. Life is much easier now. Therapy is surely the right answer for all problems.