A Dear Pandemic Diary

Last time I was here, I was asking if you would like that Corona (the beer, folks) with lime or without, today, I might take a dozen bottles with or without you. I apologise in advance; this may seem like an untoward journal entry.

While the pandemic is upon us, and God, is it upon us - I wonder to myself, is this regression to teen years going to bring me down, or the virus? While I don’t have to wake up at 5 am, listen to VH1 till 6:30 and move to school by 6:40 anymore, I have to deal with chaos that nobody ever told me about. No school lessons taught me how to be home and keep sane; hiding under the table definitely doesn’t work. Crisis intervention only tells me so much that I might truly have to be infected in order to utilise my knowledge. I wish I could run back to my 3rd grade moral lessons and really be the person that they proposed we be - the sane, calm, adjusted one that obviously had nothing but respect and compassion for everyone. It would make life easy.

When we speak of the pandemic, many don’t realise that while the certainty of having the virus is difficult to deal with (and that may as well be an understatement), the uncertainty it brings with itself is the silent killer that may lead us to a Noah’s Ark situation. The aforementioned teen regression that I speak of? Well, people my age and around my age have had to come back home from being away for college or their respective jobs plainly because, “better be sick with family than without.” And people who were home already, have lost their autonomy and are back to being home with the ‘others’ deciding what is to be done. My teenage hormones, albeit crazy, perhaps, were the only thing that led me to the slightly retained sanity I used to encompass, till, well, a few days ago.

Having reread that paragraph, I understand if I might sound ungrateful, believe me, I’m not. I assure you, I’m aware of my privilege of being safe and healthy, of having resources to maintain that, of being able to share my thoughts and being able to help myself and others while I’m at it. I suppose all I’m trying to suggest here is how while ‘inside and isolated’ may drive us crazy, figuratively speaking - doing both while you’re in a toxic household or with someone who may be riddled with their own issues - may, literally speaking, make you crazy. Personally, having had to deal with a symptomatic-to-hypochondriac mother has been driving me up the walls, the paranoia that surfaces is so strong, that any denial will be harshly rejected, and that’s my reality to live with now. Upon asking my near and dear ones, I’m now able to recount several cases of unhealthy relationships, malfunctioning behaviour and what one may call unsettling dependency. My sample is too small, and perhaps not as generalisable - I mean it is, after all, purposive and convenient (Okay, I’m going to stop now). But, what may be concluded is that there’s a danger lurking, and we’re not aware of it or, well, not wanting to be aware of it. May as well dump it in that subconscious, right?

The curse on mental health that social isolation is, is not unknown; there are plenty of people with flared anxieties or triggered depression - and then, there are people who may not even be aware of what they’re going through and end up more hurt than ever. As a future mental health professional, I can sit here and count out hundreds of flaws in self-isolation and social distancing, but the science behind it is not unknown and it definitely is better of the two evils. I can’t give an informed solution, as someone once told me: mental health is like fingerprints, different for everybody (and definitely, incriminating!). I only ask everyone to be more receptive to the idea of keeping your thoughts open and look for more sources of help (and try to be one, too).

If you were to intimate yourself with my thoughts - I don’t suppose the fear of COVID-19 is as high as having to figure out how to placate my mother, submit two assignments and attend 3 classes and write 2 research papers, while simultaneously completing my to-dos of ‘productive work during quarantine.’ Every time I watch the news, I worry that maybe the numbers that rise up everyday are just becoming statistics to me and my brain, and my empathy and fear will be drained out by my need to do chores and completing tasks and just proving that I’m ‘productive’. Or perhaps, it’s the other way round, maybe that is good, denial till faced with the issue - a (good?) coping mechanism. I wouldn’t know; if you do please, page me.

I only think of today as possibly weighed by my worries and the silliness that pertains to “whoa, today was busy”. Maybe, you can do one better and ask your near and dear ones how their day was. And yourself, it’s important that you ask yourself about your day. My day was mopping, Humanism and the utter joy followed after finding recent, high Impact Factor research papers. Well, it’s yet to be over, but you know I’ll keep you posted.


Harshita Jain

Second year Psychology student from Delhi University, with a keen interest in reading anything from Archer to Rumi. Speaks in analogies, more often than not. Writes poetry and paints, when not testing people's attributes. Believes in Occam's Razor.

The Pangean does not condemn or condone any of the views of its contributors. It only gives them the space to think and write without hindrance.