Undoubtedly, 2020 has not been a good year, with its beginning scarred by the origins and spread of COVID-19.
While for many quarantine has proven a time of relaxation and a long-craved break from their hectic lives, for others it has proven to be a carrier of greater worry, trouble, and financial constraints. For however different reasons, though, it was – and still is – a time of tension and anxiety, which has paved the path to mental illness.
For those who craved the break, the lockdown seemed to be stretching on and on, and while the break they dreamed of was supposed to be filled with fun, entertainment, and meeting long-lost friends and family, it turned out to be consumed with idleness.
As a matter of fact, staying indoors with such a certain group of people for a seemingly infinite time period involuntarily leads to scuffles and skirmishes inside the house. Apart from that, people are more likely to be haunted by their internal fears, insecurities, and untapped emotions – all of course, because a free mind wanders very far. Hence, one notes how overthinking leads to anxiety, low self-esteem, sleepless nights that culminate in tired mornings; these build a vicious cycle of agitation, impatience, arguments that provoke ones’ urgent desire to leave their homes.
Then, emerges the stories of individuals who did not belong to stable family structures in the first place. With the lockdown, they’ve been pushed into the same place for days, worsening the recurring waves of domestic violence, emotional trauma, and anxiety.
While domiciliary induced tensions appear endless, they’re certainly not the cap; unemployment further adds to Covid-19 enticed mental disorders. The Asian Development Bank has reported that 2.3 million individuals face job insecurity and individuals, previously dependent on their daily earnings, have been deprived of the basic necessity of life. One can only imagine how they spend days searching for food to fill their kids’ bellies.
Unfortunately – albeit expectantly – hopelessness and helplessness have had many succumb to the suicide and the morbidity of killing their own family members. With depression already endemic to these groups, the pandemic has only served to worsen the situation.
While all this seems to be quite a negative take on the situation, we may have emerged from it with an increased awareness about issues like mental health and domestic violence – that have long been
underestimated in Pakistani society. We may have emerged from it with a better understanding of ourselves and the coping mechanisms that suit us. We may have emerged from it with better relations with family, with more tolerance, more compassion, more compatibility,
and a greater sense of community. After all, absence makes the heart grow fonder – in this case, the absence of people, the absence of luxuries, and the absence of a life that we were so used to living and took so much for granted.