In the past few weeks, we’ve read and heard of the fight against COVID19, the war that has just begun, the battles that we’ve won and the losses that we’ve sustained. We’ve seen people create incredible art, music, show commitment and dedication towards keeping spirits up, and also read about how we don’t have to pressure ourselves to achieve our full potential during this time.
With all these conflicting messages, our minds are in collective turmoil. Each day might be a challenge. Whether or not we admit it, we aren’t sure what we believe in, or how much we can manage.
The truth is, both of these apply. When the stressor is short, and time-bound, we might perform really well. Our current one isn’t (yet). We are operating from survival mode, but expecting to perform as though we are at our best. In doing so, we are overlooking the feelings of uncertainty, loss of safety, and vulnerability – which are reinforced by the language used to describe COVID19. At war, people might emerge heroes and they may fail – both can happen. It depends on what we focus on.
Staying at home, resting or creating art – these don’t make us heroes. We are doing what we need to right now. We don’t need to become heroes during this time, because this isn’t a war. This is a crisis, not a siege. We can be ordinary people who are figuring out how we can manage our emotions, thoughts and actions while facing the unknown. There’ll be mistakes and muddles, calm and chaos, peace and joy – and they’re all okay. If we unburdened ourselves of the heroic expectations, and focused on being who we are, what would that entail? Being messy? Discovering our demons? Unpeeling our anxieties? Hope and resilience tucked away deep within? To be vulnerable is to be human, while exploring this vulnerability can lead us somewhere we haven’t been yet. Isn’t that an adventure to look forward to?
This article is written by Ms Nandita Seshadri, a therapist and integral part of Team Adveka.