MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS MONTH – Solitude, my friend (written by Madhumeetha)
May is Mental Health Awareness Month 2020. Therefore, we wanted to support the cause by writing a blog related to it. Unfortunately, many students suffer from depression and face a mental disorder.While 1 in 5 people will experience a mental illness during their lifetime, everyone faces challenges in life that can impact their mental health. The goal of this post is to fight stigma, educate the public and to support people with mental illness and their relatives.
Solitude, my friend
When I got to know that “lockdown” was going to be a thing as soon as the COVID-19 start spreading, I smiled. I thought finally, the universe heard my prayers and I could be closer to my bed at all times!
My life didn’t change drastically because I have always liked staying indoors ever since I came to the Netherlands to study. I thought the entire world could finally experience and empathize with me about being indoors. Unfortunately, it was not the same for a lot of my friends and family.
To be able to live with our thoughts has been extremely difficult for a lot of us.
I should know because after 23 years, I had to start my life all over again in a country. I have faced a lot of anxiety when I was left alone and I would start breaking down over the most trivial things. I couldn’t pick myself up that easily and be nonchalant because I was and am still extremely fragile.
I am like the warning sign they have on packages – Handle with care!
I am in the process of befriending isolation and solitude. I have eventually found my middle ground in the process. It was wonderful to learn that having your own space is the best gift you can get in your life. I must warn you, it is like getting gifted a puzzle. If you put it together immediately, you could feel fantastic but most often this puzzle has very similar pieces that you need to strategically place to complete the puzzle.
Picture;cDaler Usmonov – Solitude ( Google Images)
The truth is nobody but us can pick ourselves up after a tough day. But it does not mean we can’t seek help from those who can provide it to us.
I have contacted the student psychologist more than twice and talked to her over skype. She has also given me the confidence that she would be there to support me when I need her. I have also sometimes reached out to my friends when things become overwhelming.
Currently, I am interning with a company in the Netherlands for my Master’s.One monday morning, I sent my manager an email saying, I just don’t think I can work today because I don’t feel very good. Immediately he called me and reminded me it was of utmost importance to take care of myself. He told me it was okay to take the day off. He reminded me it was important to go through with the process because that is what gives us the strength to face each day. If there was anything this lockdown taught us, it was to make sure we can still pick ourselves up because we should and most importantly, together.
There is no shortcut to getting through life. I wish there was a guide book that could help us find a hack to bypass our problems. Unfortunately there is none.
My mentor in a recent call told two very important things 1. If you wake up feeling bad, or facing a breakdown, it is okay. Find the courage to pick yourself up 2.All we have are us.
We are allowed to cope in ways that we know and it is okay! I do know that we do have the strength in us to take care of ourselves and be there for ourselves.
I hope you can choose to be friends with Solitude, one day.