Finding Ways to Keep up with the Lockdown Lows

It’s not a surprise that the past few weeks have been extremely distressful and scary, to say the least. As much as I want to paint a radiant picture in this blog, I feel the dire necessity of acknowledging the collective overwhelm and grief all of us have witnessed looking at the news every day. Though I am still one of those who has the privilege of having a roof over her head, having essentials and my loved ones right by my side, yet- reading news has become increasingly chilling. It has left me feeling concerned about all of those who probably do not share the same privileges that I do.

Having said that, I do not really have a list of ways that are helping me cope up with this lockdown, but I have drawn some inferences by observing what I have been doing to make myself feel a little better when it’s all blue. What keeps me sane, is knowing I have friends and family who care for me and here for me.

My little sister is my source of strength and happiness. That is not to say we don’t argue, you would be surprised by just- how much we do, but she has got me covered for most parts. We have come closer, somehow made and understood our own definition of personal space (my sister is only 11 years old, so that’s a miracle). Days when I feel blue, she looks at me and just comes in for a hug. I have cried the most in my sister’s arms and realized she sees that as a sign of strength, believes that after I let it all out, I’d feel better. She asks me if I need some time alone, keeps looking for activities we can do together. That- to me is the purest form of love. I see my sister and feel okay even when all hell has broken loose.

Around the start of this year, I made a friend, Shreya Mane who turns blank papers into magic. Her feed was filled with her paintings of anime characters which made me want to watch whatever she was painting because she made them look really cool, to say the least. I talked to her about it and started watching Naruto. I am still watching it because those who have watched it will know that it will probably take me a year to catch up with all the episodes. I watched Death Note, too. To date, I cannot stop gushing about the fact that it is, to quote one of my homies “revolutionary”. This made me realize really soon that me getting through the lockdown would involve me trying out different things, to keep me away from feeling stuck and stagnant.

I have been journaling for quite some time now. Painting and sketching have never been my aces although I have always wanted them to be so. Journaling helped me paint, draw, sketch, doodle whatever I was feeling without judgements, it soon became a safe space for me to express whatever I was feeling, in any form I wanted to; words, strokes, rhymes, non-sensical figures, just anything that made me feel alright. More than that, it became a time capsule for me because I can tell you what I did this day last year, what my thoughts were. Frankly, that is a little misleading, I am not that disciplined yet- I do not do this every day, I sit with my journal only when I really feel like it when I need a way to release how I am feeling.

Two poems used in the above image belong to Maanasi Marathe and Gauumauu, two poets who can soothe you.

Artists have made me feel warm during this pandemic. I feel supremely lucky to have and be a part of a community that creates and spreads art. Over the years, I have had the fortune of meeting and befriending artists from varied fields, who have now become some of my biggest supporters and most incredible friends.  Their videos, voices, compositions, words, lyrics, brush-strokes, dance routines have brought tranquillity on disordered days. More on this, in a later blog!

It gets really tough some days to just- not think about what’s happening outside my window. This was previously my way of ‘dealing’ with almost everything- to just not think about it. Boy, have I realized that it’s the worst advice I have ever been given. Really, when has that ever helped anyone? I mean- if someone asks to me not “think” whenever I say I “think”, this is worrisome- it does not make my concerns magically disappear. But voila! I am now worried and irritated.

If I am being honest, every day has been a struggle. Trying to establish a boundary between my mental health and making sure I am somehow playing my part right, putting my best self out there. Talking to friends who have been helping others out there, providing those in need with food, resources and contacts, really makes me want to do the same. I see my friends sharing resources, guides, information about relevant organizations, every single day. Some retweet every possible resource, post about verified plasma donors, reshare numbers of those organizations providing oxygen cylinders. And for you- I see you, I am so proud of you, so proud of you for playing your part right!

Corresponding to what I said before, even though I do not have a vivid picture here for you, I hope you know that you’re not alone in this. We’re all in this together, that this too shall pass.

This blog is based on a prompt given by Enigmatic Wanderer, I urge you to check out her blog as well!