The pandemic is still affecting my mental health, causing me to feel anxious and overwhelmed. I made a decision a few days ago to disconnect from online news, but weirdly, it’s given me a sense of emptiness.

Sunitha‘s #MadCovidDiaries 16.11.2020

TW:

It’s been a challenging week, where I felt like I reached breaking point on multiple occasions. However, I think whilst I experienced elements of burn out, I have found that I have been able to recharge over the weekend. The most important part that I have been able to recognise is that I am able to focus on myself even when things around me feel overwhelming. In part, this comes from the lack of pressure to be around other people, which honestly is something that maybe I didn’t recognise impacted my welfare. Whilst I have mentioned previously that I have elements of introversion, I didn’t fully appreciate how time for introspection helps me to recalibrate my inner motivations. In spite of that, I know that this existence has only been made possible because of the pandemic so it feels like it stings quite a lot when I know plenty of people have been suffering with its impact. Also, it doesn’t ignore the fact that the pandemic is still affecting my mental health, causing me to feel anxious and overwhelmed. However, I made a decision a few days ago to disconnect from online news but weirdly, it’s given me a sense of emptiness that I didn’t understand. My partner highlighted that perhaps consuming news helped me to feel a semblance of control in an otherwise hopeless situation, which makes complete sense. Also there’s definitely part of it which is about the addiction that comes with reading the news first thing in the morning and the last thing at night.

My current form of escapism has been a mixture of trash reality television and Star Trek: The Next Generation. Whilst I have made fun of my mum for watching trash reality television in the past, I am now understanding the catharsis that comes with watching fully manufactured reality television. In particular, I have been watching a lot of wedding themed reality television. For someone who is so anti-marriage and who is not exactly heteronormative, there’s something kind of perplexing about why I enjoy watching this type of tv. On some level, I think part of the enjoyment comes from how it cements in me that I do not want this in my life but also I think there’s a pleasure in knowing I am saving thousands of pounds by avoiding the wedding route. In spite of that, I still feel like I get a lot of pressure from my mum as I think that she would love for me to have what she never had, a white wedding, but I think that she also thinks there’s an element of permanence with marriage. When I was younger, I used to struggle to understand her point of view but I think these days, I finally understand that she just wants me to be secure.
The scariest thing that I realise is that feeling secure is something that I never felt growing up as my home was always a place of uncertainty. In some ways, I think the reason that my partner and I have bonded is in part to do with this shared feeling. The feeling of home for us was always an abstract idea, which I think we are both fortunate to have at this stage in our life, though it hasn’t been without its setbacks. When we first moved in together, I think I struggled to feel like it was our space together. Worse than that, we had that illusion of security shattered when we were burgled. On a more trivial level, we are both very particular about everything, him because he’s autistic and I don’t know the reason behind my behaviour. In lockdown, my favourite argument was how to load the cutlery tray on a dishwasher, which ended with both of us thinking that we had convinced the other one of our point of view and so carried on doing it in our own way. However, I’m not even sure what my way was anymore and I think because I’m so forgetful, I just started doing it his way in the end. On the other hand, when it comes to the important matters, I think we put off the massive discussions until I reach my limit and realise, it’s time. Often, in my head, I think it’ll lead me to leave and I’ll have mentally packed a bag as well as thought through multiple escape plans. Yet, usually we resolve things harmoniously. The truth is that I never feel secure because I have always had to function on the premise of escaping. Growing up felt like the nightmare that would never end and I think I never ever wanted to end up there ever again hence the engrained mindset.

Another engrained mindset that I have is that I never believe in myself. On a simple level, I know that I have talents in certain areas and I know that in some circumstances, that makes me better than other people. However, there’s a difference between knowing some information to be true on a factual level and believing in something on an emotional level. My whole life has been about pushing myself to be the best that I can be, which I completely blame on the education system. In fact, as a queer yet femme presenting womxn of colour, I have to be extraordinary. It’s a privilege that my cis white male counterparts really don’t have to be concerned about in the same way. Today, I reached a beautiful milestone in my life though, when I realised that I was on a zoom call, which was with all women, being remarkable in their own right. More than that, it was a collaborative, supportive atmosphere, which made me realise that this is what I have been missing out on when working in spaces that were dominated by cis white men. In defense of the latter group of people, given that my partner is one of them, I have to say, whilst the status quo benefits them, it is also highly limiting with all the expectations that come with being a cis white man.
It’s been kind of balanced throughout my writing today. For the first time since I have started writing, I actually feel kind of balanced within. My sleep might be a disaster but I feel hopeful. I’m not sure if it’s because I feel like I am starting a new chapter in my life with all the new things that have appeared in the last few months or if it’s because I am sticking to my guns when it comes to boundaries. Honestly, it’s not even like my mental health is wonderful right now, I’m still talking in my sleep as well as tossing and turning. The other day I spoke to my partner and discussed the concept of how we struggle to function because of the types of people that we are. Yet, almost immediately I said to him that I wouldn’t want to be anyone else and although it’s difficult for him to function the way he is, it adds so much value to my life. We grew up as those kids that were definitely described as weird, which as teenagers became awkward and as adults became broken. However, the truth is that for the first time since I was a small child, I think I love myself.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. We ask that you seek our permission before you use any of our material – this includes researchers who want to harvest our data for analysis!

One thought on “The pandemic is still affecting my mental health, causing me to feel anxious and overwhelmed. I made a decision a few days ago to disconnect from online news, but weirdly, it’s given me a sense of emptiness.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: