“I’m back… it’s been a while since I’ve been able to write. I do love writing in this way and… after being inspired by a fellow diarist saying they’d written this week, I felt that now was as good a time as any.”

Sunitha‘s #MadCovidDiaries 09.04.2021

I’m back…So it’s been a while since I’ve been able to write and part of that has been because I feel as if I have been busy with so many things and part of it is just lack of motivation. I do love writing in this way and have seen the benefits but I also know that I struggle to sustain myself for long periods of time, which in itself is something that I have had to manage in all sorts of situations. However, after listening to the podcast that I did with MadCovid and feeling better about things, and being inspired by a fellow diarist saying they’d written this week, I felt that now was as good a time as any. In spite of all that, I feel strange about how I am interacting with myself recently, fragile from this week and feeling sure that no one actually wants to read anything that I write about myself. Given that context, I am going to see if I can manage to get through this in one piece.

This week I have been back at work, I currently only work part time and the project that I’m freelancing on is coming to an end but it’s all very full on. On top of that, I started training this month on ‘Building Movements’, which I applied for in order to help build the campaign that I am involved in. During the first session, I was mostly alright, the introductions and general vibes about everyone even on Zoom felt wonderful but on Thursday, I felt as if I was doing it all wrong and felt a strong sense of imposter syndrome. For me, activism or whatever other word you want to give it, has only become part of my life in the last year or so. It has been a combination of me realising that I needed something to help me survive in this world; some incredibly supportive, encouraging people that inspired me, and recognising that even though I have a different energy, people like me are still needed in movements. In spite of that, there have been moments where these spaces have felt like a secret club where everyone knows everything and I’ve felt completely on the outside. So on Thursday, I was on Zoom and in this moment, all I could feel was this overwhelming feeling that I had absolutely no right to be in that space, and that everyone was going to realise that I was this terrible person that they all hated and didn’t deserve to be there.
When I spoke about this to a friend today, I realised that this whole feeling is also something that I know still comes up for me occasionally in social spaces.

As a child and teenager, I was bullied and I always felt different. As an adult, I know I’m different but I also know I’ve socialised to be more accepted by society, and/or I’m around a lot of very diverse people who are less bothered by social norms. Yet, I know right now, I am on edge, feeling a sense of hyper vigilance and my anxiety is definitely exacerbated, which puts me back into that childhood frame of mind where I feel uncomfortable and awkward. At the same time, I know things are intense for me right now so I am trying so hard to take care of myself and be kind. But let’s be fucking frank, that’s easier said than done. So the last week has also been a lot of napping, downtime, watching some terrible films and attempting to eat well but also eating whatever I feel like eating. My partner’s current interest is making pizza and that definitely helps with providing some joy in my life especially given that he has optimised his recipes to the point that I think I would pay money for his pizzas. Surprisingly, some of those simple tasks like eating and cleaning, we’re both trying really hard to be on top of but maybe I also need to be less worried about these specific tasks right now because it means I can’t focus my energy on the things that matter right now like what’s happening in my head. It’s definitely affecting my sleep, which has involved a lot of napping and today, I overslept though luckily the meeting wasn’t too important.

I’m really worn out at the moment and struggling to relax. I know things are supposed to be getting more relaxed with the restrictions lifting but there’s something that fills me with a huge amount of discomfort. On one hand, I managed to get on the bus last Sunday to see a friend without having an anxiety attack or throwing up, which is what happened the last time I got on public transport when the restrictions started to lift. On the other hand, it feels like the film Groundhog Day, and simultaneously like none of last year really happened. Given this, I feel like my mind is struggling to have a grip on what this reality has become for me and everyone else. I’m also considerably more disconnected from some of what I continuously remember are the aspects of our lives that give us time to decompress and relax. Although when I met my friend last Sunday, we spoke about campaigning, politics and colonialism, we also spotted an interesting bird, which my partner let us know was a sparrow hawk, and I completely lost track of time with him in the most wonderful way because I didn’t need to rush off to do a bunch of other things –  I was just able to exist and live.

Admittedly, as a result of the downtime, I am now in a position where I am struggling to complete a bunch of my freelance work and now on Saturday, I will have to catch up, which is probably going to mean it’ll be super intense. However, I know that this is part of how I operate, leaving everything to the last possible moment but always completing it to a good enough standard. I really wish I was more planned, more organised, but pressure is a great way for me to actually get things done. Inevitably, I don’t necessarily think that it’s always a negative amount of pressure but I do think that without it, I just act very leisurely. For example, I both simultaneously love and hate tidying but I make the most progress when I put a twenty minute timer on my phone or when I know people are coming over and the pressure is on. In all other circumstances, I just kind of pick things up, look at them, put them down and continue in that fashion until nothing really gets done. Sometimes I wonder if other people time themselves when they do any type of activity or whether this is something that I have learnt works as the only way for me to get results and my past obsession with results oriented work and optimising that plays into that. Even with this, I’ve left it until the last possible moment to write.

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