The most accurate way that I would describe the experience that I have been subjected to for the past months is that of an endless tunnel. Your feet are tired, you’re breathing heavily, and you see the light in the distance. Yet, when you try to follow it, you soon realise that you’ll never get there, because the tunnel doesn’t have an ending, just like isolation has no aim.
You see, there are two types of people in quarantine, the driven ones and the aimless ones. Both may seem very different, but they have one thing in common: they are both afraid. They don’t know when they will reach that light; in fact, some have even given up entirely. It’s hard, you know! Even if you have a goal in mind you can’t help but sometimes feel guilty that people around you are risking their lives fighting for others when you yourself are stuck inside and can’t do anything. It makes you think a lot. It makes you feel a lot. And it could potentially harm your mental health.
It is especially hard on those who already don’t feel good about themselves. Who already think too much about themselves. Who lose their purpose in the blink of an eye. In other words, it’s especially hard on teenagers.
I think it’s about time I get into the meat and bones of this article, and why exactly I haven’t been doing the best. I know it’s important to keep a positive outlook, but sometimes people need to hear the truth without any sugar coating. Besides, I’m sure that if people hear that they’re not alone facing these issues, they will at least feel a little bit better. I know that sort of thing makes me happy.
Ever since the passing of my grandmother about nine months ago, I’ve had panic attacks. Some of them are more intense than others, but they all manage to give me a total meltdown most of the time. Sometimes it’s because I’m in a crowded space, sometimes it’s because I feel a rush of anxiety, and sometimes it just happens for no rhyme or reason at all. Let’s just say that because of the stress and anger I’ve been feeling in quarantine, it has only gotten worse, and it is slightly amusing. At first, my attacks kicked in because I was stressed out at school, but now they kick in because my thoughts and fears can overpower me at times. I don’t feel like I can breathe. I feel like I’m being suffocated. I sometimes wonder if I’ll die.
But I need to remind myself that it will end. They always do.
I am scared. But, I am also angry. Because I feel useless. I feel like I am not contributing anything to the situation. People are dying and I cannot help but feel like a horrible person for not being able to do anything. But, I need to remind myself that by staying home, I’m potentially saving lives and I’m not letting this virus spread. I need to remind myself that this pandemic will end eventually. And I need to remember to breathe, because life is always about moving forward.
The light may seem unreachable, but it is still there and you’re still making progress no matter how small or insignificant it may be.
I remember I once heard this story about a man trying to turn his life around and get fit via jogging. However, before he could reach the streets, there was a large hill that blocked his path, and this man could never seem to jog over it. He envied his neighbour, who could make it past easily with no worries. But one day, the man passed the hill, and in exhaustion, collapsed onto the ground. At that moment, a hand reached out to help him out. It was the neighbour himself, who smiled at the man and said:
“Every day it gets a little easier. But you got to do it every day, that is the hard part.”
Whether we spend our lives learning, loving, or wandering aimlessly, we struggle. We’re all a little sad all the time, because we know our time on earth is temporary. But the second the alarm clock begins to buzz with noise and you get out of bed, you can manage to get up the next day. It gets a little easier. But you have to do it every day.
So maybe we should try to focus on what matters to us the most before our time is up.
I am not going to tell you that it is going to be okay, because I would be lying to you. We can’t control the flow of life, the only thing we can control is ourselves. So we need to take control of our emotions and muster all the strength we have to get through this. Have a little hope; there’s no harm in that. I will try my level best to harness that hope and channel it into my life, and I hope that you do too.
Stay safe out there.