Sunitha‘s #MadCovidDiaries 2.02.2020
So I have been struggling to dedicate time the last few weeks. I wrote this a few weeks ago and I wanted to share this first to set the context of where my head has been…
This week has made me worry that I am overdoing everything. It feels almost reminiscent of the first lockdown in some ways with the obsessive behaviour and taking on a million and one things. Recognising that I need to find balance and making the changes in my life are not necessarily the same thing, and there’s an intense feeling internally that I am moments away from drowning under everything. My brain is struggling to focus on writing and I feel like there’s everything and nothing in my brain at the same time. I need fun, I don’t mean in a patronising way but I need something that isn’t me sitting on Zoom or some other video call, I need something which is freeing and without structure. The truth is that as much as I know these measures are so necessary, the psychological impact of living like this is getting to me.
Last night, I dreamt about my uncle. He was alive and well, and I was annoyed because I couldn’t recall why he was suddenly alive especially given that my whole family had failed to tell me. As stupid as it sounds, I was really glad that he was alive but I couldn’t shake the feeling as to why no one had even bothered to tell me. He was there, as I always remember him, and I genuinely felt as if everything was how it was supposed to be. It took me a while even after I’d woken up to come to the realisation that in fact, my uncle was not alive. When I recalled the dream to my mum, she said, well he meant a lot to you and she’s right. He wasn’t always the easiest but he was definitely important. After other people in my life have died, there’s always a moment where they have appeared in my dreams, which I always feel is when I need them most, at a point some months after their death. Some people in my family would say that is something more spiritual, but from my more scientific standpoint, I feel like it’s just a part of my grieving process and I am moving on.
So now I am writing again tonight as this week I turn 30. I have dreamt of my uncle being alive again, which really shook me this time, somehow managed to apply for some job applications even if I had a complete meltdown, and recognised the importance of walking away constructively…
The last few weeks have been super intense, to the point where I feel like I am finding myself further and further down the rabbit hole of despair and destruction that precipitates a full blown breakdown. I’m dithering about whether I can put the energy and effort into engaging with any mental health services since it’s usually a mindfuck. Under normal circumstances I can barely manage it but right now I think I need an alternative tactic although I am questioning what that can truly be. In some respects I am surviving since part time work and freelancing has been better for my mental health illnesses. For example, being able to turn up to meetings without showering so I can focus my energy where it needs to be until I have the motivation to shower is perfect. It has the added impact of giving the impression that I am semi functional, which I could never manage when I had to travel to work on public transport. Honestly, the recognition that I come across as functional to the vast majority of people is not lost on me but I sometimes wish people could take a little trip into my head and realise how much I wish I wasn’t inside my own head.
Turning 30 has left me reflecting on the past in ways I never expected. At this point in my life, in some ways, I am exactly where I always wanted to be as a teenager with pie in the sky ideas. The random ramblings of my teenage self on bits of scrap paper is so far from the person that feels able to express herself in a public space creatively. My ability to embrace my madness, in spite of what others may think, has actually led to a sense of acceptance even in the chaos of my mind. Though my gender and sexual orientation was a known part of my existence, telling my dad and him responding with “just find happiness”, it brought a sense of relief because I realised he would be more hurt finding out I’d felt uncomfortable telling him than the truth. Even my mum surprised me recently when she asked if she could share my blog with someone and made a passing comment about my sexual orientation. In some ways, I finally realise that she has come to terms with so much and no matter what has happened, she loves me. If I sound sentimental and privileged, perhaps I am, but a lot of this is so far away from the life I experienced as a teenager. Perhaps the scariest realisation is that somehow, in spite of all the trauma, debilitating anxiety, long episodes of depression, multiple existential crises, I have made it to 30.
So let me finish off with this sentiment. Given that I never expected to make it this far, I don’t know that I have the capacity to process what to do. I know age is a number but I really feel that life has aged me, even though I was already born an old soul. I want to leave this to all the people that I know and don’t know, who struggle on a daily basis, battling to survive to do the “bare essentials” like eat, shower or get out of bed. I want to remind any health professional that the most difficult situations, at least for me, arose from being treated like I had no understanding or agency over my life and decisions. Fundamentally, that needs to shift.
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