There is something we read in school that we all related to and agreed upon. It is a phrase from Shakespeare’s poem ‘The Seven Ages of Man’.
The poem began with the phrase ‘All the world’s a stage and the men and women merely players‘.
The poem explained the different stages of life and the roles that are played by the players at different stages. It was as realistic as it can get.
But has anyone thought what might happen if the theater takes a break or the player is not mentally ready to play his role at that moment?
Since stories and poems can encapsulate situations more impactfully, we can look at a hypothetical story of Anni.
A simple impression of him would be of a guy who is shy, reclusive, and reserved.
He was a student in a timeline and in a place where people are living happily playing their parts as players do in the stage called life. He was supposed to play the role of a learner as well.
He was already good in academics and studies were a breeze to him. He continued to do so.
However, life is not single faceted as the roles we are supposed to play.
Life is neither as simple as distinguishing black from white. It is like the whole spectrum of colors where there are fifty shades of grey.
In it was our protagonist Anni.
Still, his role was not difficult for him to play and that too not out of compulsion. Anni was following the routine doing all that he does to keep himself busy in different activities.
One fine day, a very strange progression occurred and the society didn’t remain as it was before.
An unknown and unseen enemy swept across the streets taking one life after another.
Society transformed in a way it never expected to change. It was the outbreak of a pandemic and the role that the players had to play was to stay at home as social distancing was the only way of saving themselves from this unknown enemy.
In confinement, life became what people used to laugh at.
Not TikTok, in fact, Bigg Boss.
Lockdown drew a lot of attraction towards the pain of the migrant workers suffering to even pay their rents or have two meals a day or towards the life of celebrities for some who consider it to be important or relevant to a daily man.
The hardship of a daily man became boredom and not his duties he was supposed to perform.
However, the hardships in ordinary life were bearable as people were mentally and physically trained to deal with them on a regular basis and there were many escapes and coping options available.
That is the point of having recreational activities.
But boredom is something that people were never expecting or had a way to deal with.
For a random person, the options were watching web series or TV shows, cooking, doing other household chores, listening to music or reading articles from ‘The Uncharted Minds’.
All of these things might seem exciting and on a normal day we aspire to do all of these but it becomes a drag when these are the only activities you can do.
In that grind, was living Anni. He’d wake up unsure of knowing what to do. On the news, things were getting worse.
He was seeing the possibility of being unemployed as there are speculations of a long withstanding economic turmoil.
He was living the present by reminiscing about the past and postulating the future.
That adding to the fact that he was having nothing to do was making him anxious. What he was getting was a pat on the back from different sources that times will get better and everything would be fine but it was not making anything better for him.
He started getting panic attacks, feeling he was falling short of breath for no reason at all. He’d wake up in the middle of the night and crawl back again into the bed being sad while having a feeling that a lump is stuck in his throat.
Being irritated, he’d distance himself away from people even more.
He couldn’t sleep even when he’s sleepy feeling he’s in a war-zone.
In a crisis like this, anxiety and depression can take a toll on people. It is imaginable that how many Anni(s) might be out there in the world, husking themselves and their emotions.
It is exhortable for them to talk to their close ones and seek help. If it doesn’t help then they should seek help from counselors. It is the time for people to also be empathetic towards others and be sensitive towards mental well being.
It is a crucial element of our well being and mental health inadvertently affects our physical and social well being.
So, if people notice that the people they know have been precluding themselves from interactions or there is a change in social behavior then they must be sensitive towards the cause and follow up with warm gestures.
It does help.
Because togetherness is important in these tough times and Prime Minister Modi has also emphasized this as well by saying that it is the time to practice social distancing and not emotional distancing.
We must take care of our mental health now. Because it is important for us to remember that tough times don’t last but tough people do.
Sayantan Mitra writes about society with touches of polity and politics. His main focus is on providing informative content with a unique perspective, but never at the cost of providing just mere entertainment.