It’s been seven weeks since I started practicing social distancing and it has been one of the most difficult things I’ve had to do in a while. Not neglecting the fact that distancing myself from people has kept me safe, unfortunately, I’ve had to deal with anxiety.
Before all these, I had a routine for each day which involved a lot of productivity and it took my mind off a few things. I made plans and was taking the necessary steps to hit the targets I set for myself. I finally had a sense of direction and was slowly getting the hang of life, until the pandemic hit Lagos and my plans gradually became vague.
The first few weeks into the lockdown, I tried to be productive, plan my day, and involve myself in brain-tasking activities. I took long walks in the mornings to exercise, get sunlight, and prepare my mind for whatever I decided to engage in that day. I thought quarantine wasn’t as bad as people said it would be and I was getting along with everyone just fine. I kept close communication with my family and friends because we’re all in different places right now. I tried to keep calm and remain positive hoping that the situation will be over soon and I’ll get back to my work-life routine.
As the weeks went by, I began to feel confined and afraid. Each day became different for me: I was happy on some days and extremely sad on others. I didn’t have the motivation to do as much work as I used to. I woke up many times feeling very anxious and without a purpose. More than ever before, I felt alone. I empathized with people who are away from their loved ones, those that have lost their jobs, and others that have lost loved ones due to the pandemic. I couldn’t imagine what half the world was facing and it made me sadder.
Because of my anxiety, I became distant. I didn’t have the energy to be social. I wasn’t reaching out to anyone and wanted so bad to escape everything that’s been happening. I started to overthink the little things and couldn’t get a good sleep due to the nightmares I had. Soon, I began to force myself to do anything, and on most days, I couldn’t get up from bed to eat or work.
I saw myself back in a place I fought so hard to come out of. I was anxious over the things I couldn’t control and because of that, I let myself slip back into darkness. I didn’t have an explanation as to why I felt like I was being pulled in different directions, but all I knew was I had to talk to someone.
A few days ago, I woke up with a terrible body ache. It almost felt like a sleep paralysis because I could barely get up from bed, so I tossed and turned till late morning. My nightmares were pretty much the same but I thought not to dwell on them as I did weeks earlier. After drooling for hours, I picked up my phone to call a friend. I didn’t know when tears poured from my eyes. I was crying so much that I forgot why I had called and then hung up. My heart was heavy from bottling up a lot.
I went into the bathroom and cried some more, trying to relieve myself of the burden. I realized that this period of quarantine has in some ways affected me negatively and I needed to cry so many things out. After minutes of hiding in the bathroom to feel better, I was still sad. I needed to talk about my anxiety so I called my sister for comfort.
How my sister has been able to grow from a sibling to a mother figure in a few months still amazes me. The way she’s always been there when I desperately need my mum is unbelievable. I told her everything that bothered me and how I’m struggling with anxiety this period. She showed up for me, gave me advice, made me feel much better and cheerful again. I was able to come out of a dark place after some weird weeks.
Being in quarantine is different for most of us and nothing about this year has been easy. Life is hard for everyone right now and not knowing when all these will be over scares even more. It’s okay to feel down sometimes, but it’s the steps we take to control how we feel or react that matters the most. I still don’t have life figured out, but right now, I’m doing the best I can, and that’s good enough.