Happier during Coronavirus:
Why there are parts of the pandemic I don't want to go away
Now here's something I don't like to admit: I've been feeling guiltily content during this time of turmoil. To be clear, I'm not happy about feeling like we're easing into a thickening plot of a dystopian novel, one created by the writers of Black Mirror where an invisible monster is restricting our freedom and having us reconsider what is "essential". I'm not happy about training myself to push crosswalk buttons with my elbows, constantly reminding myself to respect a 1.5 meter bubble around others, and introducing coronavirus buzz words like "asymptomatic," "flatten the curve," or "herd immunity" into my vocabulary. And I'm definitely not happy about starting every morning frantically scrolling through the news — my own personal graph of observing exponential graphs growing exponentially similar to said graphs — or reading about the loss of those around us. But ironically at this time of unknown, unease, and uncertainty, I ashamedly feel the happiest I've been in a very long time when I look outside and witness the subsequent stillness of it all.
I have generalised anxiety disorder. And although it affects people who have it in different ways, this is how it affected me at my worst: starting every morning feeling like there was a 10 ton weight sitting on my chest. 4am runs in the park. Sitting in office bathroom stalls until panic attacks were manageable. Avoiding phone calls. Too sensitive senses. Daily pep talks to convince myself that not everybody hates me. Crying at train stations when it suddenly became too crowded. Abruptly leaving hangouts. Abruptly leaving parties. Abruptly leaving.
And so, upon seeing these typically busy streets become so quiet made me feel a calmness I didn't think would be possible in my lifetime. Because secretly, this is how I wish the world was. It's the first time I haven't been afraid to leave the house, in fear that I'd come back home later on battling an irrational anxiety attack. And yet, I also feel a deep sense of guilt for wishing that we lived in this quiet state of "home-confinement-social-distancing" version of the world, at the expense of others.
This being said, I feel for those of you experiencing mental health issues, especially for the first time, during this time of lockdown. That although my mental health is enjoying this, I do not enjoy this for those suffering. I've been there. I've been living with it for the majority of my life. During this time, where I am at my highs, I am thinking of you.
And so when we finally beat this situation and go back to normal — your normal — people like me will fall back into that daily struggle. And when that time comes back around? I hope you think of us the same way we are thinking of you.