Sheikh Umar Ahmad

Pandemic, Panic, Paranoia & Isolation paradox

Pandemic, Panic, Paranoia & Isolation paradox
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We can better prepare ourselves for this situation, the more dreadful it turns, the more valiantly we will fight it together. Merely overshadowing the facts will only lead us to greater disaster.

Sheikh Umar Ahmad

Almost 3 months into it, we are yet to experience the worst as the cases are peculiarly increasing day after another. A global emergency has already been declared by the world’s prestigious health body WHO. Multi-pronged & pragmatic strategies are being taken all over the world to contain the spread, create scientific knowledge base & to have a serious thought of how to tackle this pandemic threat from further worsening by researching on novel anti-virals & effective vaccines. As of now there is no effective treatment remedy available yet, though some remarkable studies have been carried out & clinical drug testing is already underway in some laboratories. Preventive measures are thought as only available options in containing this global pandemic takeover. The main strategy that is actively talked all over is the social distancing being most effective among others.

The outbreak of coronavirus disease in general is stressful to people due to this global curfew like situation and confining almost whole world population within their homes. Fear, anxiety and panic gripping about a disease can be overwhelming at times and can cause strong depressing emotions in adults and children. Merely, panicking, rumor mongering & feeling paranoiac will not help. Spreading false infodemic among general masses through online platforms cannot improvise the strategic efforts put in at large. They just make things look more complicated and more gruesome that takes a heavy toll on the very psychological well-being of inmates.

Worst is yet to come, we cannot brainwash ourselves, but by socially distancing ourselves for the time required, it can be defeated but together.

When an atmosphere of uncertainty and unprecedented crisis situation exists all over the world, we in Kashmir are trying to adjust with the new situation that has arisen post pandemic takeover.  We are known to have experienced the worst of turbulent phases of history in wake of existing political instability from decades, only the takeover is different in its existence. But creating an atmosphere of confusion & by conceiving our own policies of deceit & defeat, we are just making it more worrisome for all of us here. We have right plans in place, we have policy framework put forth but to disenchant general public, is against the very spirit of humanity. With a global health emergency to deal with, we have no other choice but to behave. No matter how resilient we think we are & how much co-existentialism we dictate, many of us will feel the emotional toll of this alarming situation.

To further add to our woes, thousands, if not millions are already facing uncertainty over their livelihoods, with some finding their jobs lost altogether. And there are relentless reports about mass suffering, death, and being plunged into a recession. Our society is already facing the brunt of economic clampdown, inflation, unemployment is at peak & above all political instability repercussions are at their worse. So how do we protect our minds in times of unpredictable chaos? A situation that’s out of our control is one of the most common triggers for feelings of extreme anxiety. Our brains feel as though we are standing at the top of a bottomless pit and can’t see a way out. This virus is new, and many of our questions will remain unanswered. One way to handle uncertainty is to anticipate stress.

But at the end of the day, do something collaboratively to reinforce the fact you are all in this together – perhaps winning it together or otherwise.

If you prime yourself to expect things to be difficult, it makes it easier to cope with. Say, out loud, that you are about to encounter a difficult time, we simply do not know what will happen – and that is OK. If it makes you feel stressed or worried, recognize that feeling and perhaps note it down. Acknowledging the truth of the situation helps the brain accept it and move on. We can better prepare ourselves for this situation, the more dreadful it turns, the more valiantly we will fight it together. Merely overshadowing the facts will only lead us to greater disaster. We all know how difficult it is to be caged in our homes, but we are helpless, we have nothing in our hands, at the same time we have nothing to lose at, if we follow the advisories and instructions issued time to time. Worst is yet to come, we cannot brainwash ourselves, but by socially distancing ourselves for the time required, it can be defeated but together.

Apart from panic, this new normal can trigger feelings of sadness and, in severe cases, depression. Maintaining our regular routines is quintessential for our identity, self-confidence and purpose, but loosing it is a risk factor. Make a habit of daily exercising as physical movement releases chemicals in the brain that are essential for regulating mood. Yet confining yourselves to interiors without any personal space can exhume it to worst. There is a way to live peacefully, even while on top of one another. But at the end of the day, do something collaboratively to reinforce the fact you are all in this together – perhaps winning it together or otherwise. There is no denying that the current situation is deeply concerning – but until it appears so, view it as a much-needed opportunity to catch up, have your time to reconnect with families, friends & build connections with neighbors and get involved in community outreach. We know that we all are equally involved in it. Either defeat it together or taste your defeat together.

 

The author is freelance journalist & currently working as Senior Research Fellow (DST INSPIRE) at Indian Institute of Integrative Medicine (CSIR-IIIM) Jammu, Jammu & Kashmir. He can be reached at biotechumar@gmail.com

Disclaimer: Views expressed are author’s own and do not reflect the stand or policy of Oracle Opinions.

 

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