Sunitha’s #MadCovidDiaries 17.8.2020
There’s an element within me that feels like I have made a huge jump from where I was at the beginning of lockdown or even a month or so ago to where I am now. There have been a lot of repetitive feelings and I feel like I’m living days over and over again like in Groundhog day without much variety. However, having a routine with some amount of flexibility of setting my own hours has been good for me. Of course, it doesn’t stop me waking up on Saturday, shaking with anxiety because I am overwhelmed with the world. Although I have made some improvement from the weeks of lying awake at night unsure about certain friends, by realising that whilst they are lovely, by being in my life, there’s a risk of me falling into old habits.
On Sunday, an acquaintance told me that they were hungover and I realised that I had no connection to it. The last time that I had been drunk was in January and I was genuinely annoyed that I felt fine the next day. Hangovers or other terrible behaviour would always make me regret drinking and whilst I don’t mind if friends around me drink, I know it is something that I can only do with obsessive control. My friend and I discussed drinking and part of me felt nostalgia for those times when I felt carefree but also, I honestly said that I was past that point in my life. Drinking always led me into all sorts of situations and whilst I don’t regret the past, I know that it was a form of numbing the pain inside. Whilst the benchmark was always my dad’s drinking, I never realised that on some level, I was mimicking the same behaviour. When I feel very depressed, the desire to get drunk is there within me and I do know that I have to internally fight the urge.
My internal self always seems to be imploding on itself, fighting against all the voices of doubt and procrastination at times. Whilst I appreciate it, I usually end up making some decisions and actually doing something eventually. However, when it comes to anything related to my feelings, there’s just me going round in circles. On the weekend, I asked my partner if I was secretly an unkind person and the series of questions I asked him clearly didn’t make sense to him. The anxiety I had wasn’t rooted in when people had been unkind to me and I had taken a break from them or complained about their behaviour to others. Instead, I had a genuine fear that I had hurt people that I care about in my life. Though I have been a people pleaser in the past, this behaviour stems more from being the child left out at school or being bullied for being different – I never want anyone to feel the way I felt in those situations. On some level, that shared experience is why my partner and I found an affinity for each other.
My partner has been struggling the last few days and I always find that following on from that, I have a few bad days or weeks. Though, I know there’s a limit to what I am able to do when it comes to helping him when he’s worn out, sleeping terribly and his anxiety is in overdrive, there’s pain associated when you see a loved one suffering. There’s a lot of my family and friends, who saw us both being non functional last year, and really worried that perhaps, we weren’t good for each other. If I’m honest, perhaps, there were times I felt the same. In spite of that, I feel like he’s one of the few people who has helped me by managing my guilt over the need to be productive or nudging me to do things that will improve my state of mind. His empathy of understanding what works for me even though our mental health illnesses manifest in different ways, has shifted my internal narrative from being a broken person who needs to be fixed to someone, who accepts that they’re just wired a bit differently.
I feel raw today, maybe it’s the discussion with my mum and her making the step to get help. Though probably because I listened to a Tamil song about a son singing about his mother, who has died. Music is so evocative. The song reminded me of my grandmother, my mum but I was almost crying on behalf of my mum, no longer having her mum in her life. After three years, the death of my grandmother still overwhelms my mum with emotion and understandably so, my grandmother always had her back. Sometimes, I realise the loneliness I feel in life is exactly how my mum feels all the time except whilst I reached out, tried to heal some of the wounds, my mum continued to have more piles of shit added. Just like she wants me to be happy, I feel like I want her to embrace her humanity rather than trying to be superwoman.
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