Words Nishrin G.
Header Credits Fatema D. (@theletteredveil)
“When you press the pause button on the computer it stops. But when you press the pause button on human beings they start, that’s when they began to rethink and reimagine”- Dov Seidman
The aforementioned quote sums up my experience of lockdown quite well. Initially, for the first few days my mind kept throwing out what-if scenarios like, “Will my family be safe? “What if I get sick?” “How will I spend my days?” and “What if I can’t cope?”. Being a mental health school counselor I started thinking about students, especially the ones living in dysfunctional families. How would they cope? What if they witness domestic violence in the house? What about special needs children? Each morning I woke up to the number of cases rising, death tolls getting high. I started feeling the collective fear of the pandemic. Being an introvert, social distancing was never an issue, but it is not so when you are obliged to do it.
Charles Darwin says “it is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change”. Gradually this became the life goal, to respond and not react, to pivot and not hurry on things. People around the globe started involving themselves in things they love doing the most or things they would like to try but never got enough time for. Social media got filled up with stories of people going back to their hobbies. I resumed my yoga practice. Gardening was always on the list and so I explored it further. I reconnected myself to movies I wanted to watch and to the books I always wanted to read. Now I feel so grateful for the period that has finally made me start my journey of memorizing Quran.
One of the hallmark experiences of being at home for 30 plus days is bidding farewell to Onycophagia. Yes, being a mental health professional doesn’t guarantee that your own devils will be kept in place. For thirteen years I was suffering from anxiety issues which lead to the habit of nail biting and then it turned into Onycophagia. To my surprise the time which would have increased my personal fears and anxieties has made me free of it. Maybe, I learned more about death than life in this period. It made me accept how transient our lives are. Thus I became more mindful towards others and especially towards my self.
Readers Note: Onychophagia, or onychophagy, is considered a pathological oral habit and grooming disorder characterized by chronic, seemingly uncontrollable nail biting that is destructive to fingernails and the surrounding tissue. (https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/conditions/onychophagia-nail-biting last accessed 02/06/2020)