Two days ago…
I woke up early, earlier than my usual ‘get out of bed’ time and I was trying for a few minutes to remember what day it was. Lately, everything in my brain is messed up, turned into a huge tangled up ball of information, dates, worries, anxieties and at times throughout the day I get tiny panic attacks thinking about three million different things at once.
Will I finish everything on time?
Will I meet all my deadlines?
Will I be able to book a holiday soon? Will I be able to travel this year at all?
Is this how life going to be from now on?
Will we ever go back to normal?
What is normal?
Do I like living back in Cyprus? When will I adjust and how amidst the pandemic chaos?
I miss the UK a lot, should I move back in a few years?
What do I even want to do with my life?
This is just a small sample that goes through my head, every day, all day.
I can’t switch off, my eyes often hurt from the amount of time I spend in front of a screen, let it be phone, laptop or TV and I feel so tired I have no energy to do much after work.
I have very little free time for myself, and even when I do, I’m most of the time too emotionally and mentally drained to do anything else other than read a couple of pages of a book, watch an episode of a series, or the Cypriot version of Chase. I still do my Yoga and started running again, the park near my new flat is gorgeous, so at least I have that.
I rarely see my friends, we mostly chat online and I visit my family once a week. Other than my flatmate-sister I don’t have any other significant social interactions.
I haven’t travelled in months, I haven’t even travelled within my island for a while.
My emotions are all over the place and I get teary quite easily, well, easier than before.
I haven’t slept well for a while, I put on weight because I snack a lot, being home all day my only breaks are to snack and most of the time I spent the day in loungewear.
Social media and message notifications never stop, day and night, an inevitable side effect of the lockdown. It’s hard to keep up and sadly, I admit I can’t really keep up. I can’t possibly read and reply to everything or stay on top of news, videos, articles etc. I’m sent or come across (after watching the Social Dilemma on Netflix, I’m even more aware how algorithms work, so I try not to feed the monster that often, but it’s proven rather difficult, considering it’s virtually impossible to survive without technology, the internet, social media.).
On top of that, I’ve only been back to Cyprus for a few months and I spent most of that time under unique conditions, I haven’t had the chance to find my feet and adapt to my new life. The daily horrific news, the archaic legal system, sexism, racism and a number of other social issues I hadn’t realised beforehand, haven’t made it easy, I must admit.
Lest we forget the inability to plan in advance, organise a holiday, make plans for the future, is just devastating to even think about.
It’s like we are stuck in Groundhog Day over and over and over.
In any other circumstances, dealing with each problem or situation individually it would have been easy to cope with, but dealing with all of them, anxiety, social isolation, social media overload, exhaustion and the list goes on, is unbearable. I feel I’m drowning, I can’t see light at the end of the tunnel, it’s as if the sun is forever hiding behind huge grey clouds.
And this is not just me. The majority of my friends, colleagues and other people I talked to feel the same, and I’m guessing they are not the only ones.
I’m lucky I have a job and I live with my sister, but for others the second lockdown effects are much much worse. They live on their own with no support network, a lot of people are sadly unemployed and it’s incredibly hard for them to find a job, even a temporary one now under these circumstances and let’s not forget all the businesses and freelances who went bust or are dangerously near bankruptcy.
I fear the repercussions and impact of this second lockdown (the first one was a completely new experience to all, noone knew what to do what was happening, now life is supposed to continue, despite the lockdown) will be long and painful.
Do the benefits of lockdown outweigh the horrible effects on mental health? Is it worth damaging our mental health permanently? There are children who were born and only experienced life in lockdown, there are children who went to primary school for a month before spending the rest of their first ever school experience at home, there are teenagers who started university online, there are young adults who entered the world of work for the first time straight working from home. Suicide rates have gone up, psychologist appointments are high on demand and many fellow humans suffer in silence.
I personally think that we’ve all had enough of lockdown. It’s time to get out, let the sun shine again, live like human beings, hug and kiss each other again and just be careful and responsible so there isn’t another outbreak.
PS To cheer us all up a few poems I wrote and some travel articles I posted on my other blog are coming super soon (well, maybe not so much the poems).