Meditations & Mindfulness

Addressing My Mental Health During This Lockdown

By

I know I do not speak for myself when I say that this past year has been the strangest to come to terms with. Of course, we had no choice in changing any of the circumstances, except the way we perceive the situation and how we allow it to affect our perception of ourselves and the world around us. I’ve said it. Our mental health, no matter how strong or resilient we consider ourselves, will have definitely taken a hit. It is inevitable. The very freedoms of our usual and typical routines have depleted and we have had to embrace change. Change that has left us unconnected with the one thing that makes the world go round-human connection and love.

I have read so many ‘life motivating hacks’ and ways to embrace the new change that has been enforced upon us, and let me just say this. I have found it incredibly alarming. Yet out of a situation we cannot control, there have been increasing amounts of expectations that have been dumped on everyone globally. What I have found really hard to understand is how each and every person is expected to handle change in our lives with the same eyes. We all have our own stories to tell, ones that ultimately will affect the way we perceive such dramatic changes. So yes, we are living the same change theoretically, yet we are all experiencing it with a different set of eyes, brains, touch etc. Therefore, we cannot use any expectations all together, when addressing this pandemic as a whole. It is impossible.

 

How have I found it?

I said to myself that within my next post, I am going to be brutally honest about how this lockdown has made me feel; to be raw and completely open.

In all honesty, it has been a battle within myself, against myself. But that was because I gave into all the expectations of how things should go in the beginning. For example, setting unattainable goals, goals that were far too difficult to put into motion. And yet, knowing this, I still punished myself even though I knew I wouldn’t be able to achieve such huge goals within the mental sitting I was in. That was my problem. Let’s be honest here, social media does not help at all, does it. Even if you proudly call yourself free of its shackles, in some way or another, it influences your subconscious on a deeper level.

Despite the struggle of even getting out of bed, and obtaining even a strand of self-motivation, I found myself constantly bombarded with supposed standards, better than how I was coping with it all. No, I didn’t brush my hair every day, put on some makeup, or work out religiously. In fact, in some eyes I may have let myself go a little, meaning I put on a little weight, started to eat more than usual, but let me get this straight. When have I ever been able to do this in the past? Just have all this time for myself? It is a first. The precious hours I have gained were once used to pocket some capitalist out there in some way, shape or form. This new today faced by me, was just one thing- an intimate moment to connect to myself on a deeper spiritual level.

What I mean is, I started to see the blessing in the time I was given. I am not advocating to become unhealthy and let yourself go, no. A few pounds do not even matter, when the cost of weight gain, allowed me to find myself- so much closer to who I am as a person.

We are constantly faced with a desirable standard of existing. A ‘conditioning’. The pandemic actually presented itself to me, as a revolution of living. My living. A chance to seize back the hours of consciousness used to benefit others before myself. By no means was this realisation an easy one. I am an over thinker firstly, it brought to light many worrying habits that were toxic for my well being, such as eating disorders, body dysmorphia, past adolescent trauma that I carried and essentially just shoved ‘under the rug’. The pandemic was the moment for me to make peace with it all and perform acts of self-acceptance.

fc420d3619872052ac97fc1ac6f0f879 - Addressing My Mental Health During This Lockdown

What Have I done?

I decided to use the new-found privilege of time to improve myself spiritually. The first and foremost step was to address myself in the silence. When I mention silence, I mean actually stimulating thoughts from myself without influence from the outside. Actually, addressing my inner most intimate thoughts, fears and dreams and being okay with everything that came to light.

The silence is often (understandably so) first acquainted with a sense of darkness. Why? Because we never actually spend too much time letting light (mindful awareness) seep into ourselves. In no way am I actually saying here that we hold dark souls, but think of it metaphorically as in, years go by and the underlying issues, feelings and thoughts get buried somewhere within our sub-consciousness.

So, how did I address myself, you ask? I shut the outside off completely. Social media? Gone. Social interaction? Gone. I would describe myself as a lonely creature by nature, I have always enjoyed floating about within my own living, yet this isolation had a divine purpose; and now was my ideal situation to discover myself even further.

cf0dadd31b392cb716a8fbf35215182c - Addressing My Mental Health During This Lockdown

Self-improvement tips

While I am sure not all could be so radical with their approaches as me, I am in no position to make recommendations to you, of how you should improve yourself. We are after all, walking, talking, momentous creatures that reflect the most inner conscious workings of our psyche. Meaning we experience the world in our own eyes. We all require different innovations to contribute to our improvement.

There are things that apply to everyone however, when it comes to the art of living. Things that need to be addressed. First and foremost, the control of emotions. Not by disregarding them. No. By recognising them, before you act. Marcus Aurelius says, ‘the more we value things outside our control, the less control we actually have.’ Control of our situation begins first within. Coming to terms with your emotions and who you are beyond the workings of flesh and bone, is vital. If you do not, everyone and everything can just scoop you up within their turbulence, and disturb your inner peace. You have no wall against it, nor the natural barriers that come at your disposal naturally, through confident self-identification. You not only become a stranger to yourself, but you will not recognise any of the actions that follow through from your own judgements sometimes. How can you ‘Know Thyself’ if you have not even figured out who you are naturally without any influential drives or pushes from the outside?

9f3564b6211f433d2a7f706191eb6a9b 2 e1612023170754 - Addressing My Mental Health During This Lockdown

Moving forward

We have become a programmed society. Like it or not. That is the truth. With this surrounding system that has engulfed us, we are acquainted with loneliness. Does that mean we were never lonely before? No. It just means we had so much going on that filled the spaces, silence and in-between, that we never had the chance to notice the true essence of our existence.

Do you remember what I told you all in my previous blog post, with reference to Maya Angelou’s quote? ‘You only are free when you realize you belong no place — you belong every place — no place at all. The price is high. The reward is great.’ Well, now is the time to seize your wilderness and independence! This time out, has in fact made it far easier to step back from the conditioning and stress of life. Why? Because with a lessened demand to survive at the standard of the past i.e. work, commutes etc. we now can solely orientate our focus with coming to peace with our identity, in all shapes, forms and singularities.

Solitude is the message and origins of time, for in silence, we muster the courage to our greatness. There will never be the courage to face the unknown, if we do not blindly trust in the entity we have formed within ourselves. I cannot stress to you enough that the secret of your greatness and might within this time, is to mull and mould strength from your solitude.

It is comforting to know we are all going through this together. It is comforting to know that we can now seize back our living. It is comforting to know that despite the chaos and hardships that the unknown road ahead brings, we will always have ourselves-

 

a beacon,

a constant,

an anchor of stability.

d84317ba30790c2dae8d98f37271bd34 - Addressing My Mental Health During This Lockdown

Love, light and all that is good

 

Fatima Elmusbahi