A Privileged Position: But not so.

Many lose their job during the COVID-19 pandemic. Lock downs can be seen as threatening in many sectors including tourism, food and beverage, retail, and more. SMEs are struggling to cope with the uncertainties that lie ahead in view of the increasing community cases in recent days. People around you have been telling you how fortunate you are to have a job right now. You ought to treasure it and save up as much as you can. The future is just so uncertain. You agreed without thinking much, just like a well-oiled machine, responding to the usual social cues. Yet, deep inside, you know how much you are struggling with your current situation. Others may view you as privileged. It is not always so. Everyone has their own circumstances, their own stories.

Mental Health Issues Becoming A “TREND”

During this pandemic, we observed an increasing trend where people reported feeling burnt out, depressed, lonely, restless, unmotivated, and more. A mixed of mild to extreme cases of mental health issues can be found in the news, online media platforms, and social media. It is just everywhere. Did that make you wonder if you are suffering mentally due to the impacts brought about by the coronavirus pandemic? Well, I do.

I had lost touch with many of my friends, mates, colleagues, and families during the pandemic. It was partly due to the lock downs and safe distancing measures. However, the main reason was due to my character and personality. As an introvert, I wouldn’t choose social interactions as my default option. The lock downs and safe distancing measures just exacerbates my inherent issues of social isolation and depression. No, I had not reached out to any medical professionals or mental health professionals about my issue. It’s getting from bad to worse. If this can happen to me, it may happen to others as well. Those who are inherently at risk may have a higher chance of suffering mentally and emotionally during these uncertain times.

Unemployment and Retrenchment

On top of increasing reports of mental wellness concerns, we need to worry about unemployment and retrenchment. Some businesses may thrive during the pandemic (where demand increases dramatically — for instance, zoom and delivery services). Other businesses that were doing well initially may suffer from a dramatic drop in revenue (like tourism and airlines). Depending on the industry which you are working in, you may not be spared by the pandemic.

The main reason why we work is just to survive — provide a food, shelter, water, electricity, gas and all other daily necessities so that we and our loved ones are able to live. When income is cut off suddenly, people need to seek for alternatives in order to survive. Lesser is better than nothing. But just because we don’t hear from them doesn’t mean that there are no one who is receiving “nothing”. These people do exist and their voices are often left unheard. I used to be one of them almost a decade back. I know how it felt. The feelings of hopelessness and loneliness can be so unbearable that death comes to your mind just like your regular caffeine crave. Sometimes, a small chat with these people or a kind gesture to show that you care and they can still be a contributor to the society would mean a lot to them. It is extremely important to support one another — within your family, friends, neighbourhood and community. Yes, we may not be doing well ourselves but just a little a bit of kindness can bring us closer and provide more support to thrive through this pandemic together.

Endless Negative News All Around The World

The moment you open your eyes in the morning. The news just filled you with negativity. More than 50% of the morning news talked about COVID-19. It can be daunting, gloomy and tragic. The number of deaths still make me shiver in fear and lose my appetite whenever I think about it. No matter it’s in my country or other countries, it’s the same. Why is this even happening? How can this be resolved? What can we do right now? What are we not doing right? Yet, apart from doing my part as much as I can, there is little I can help in this situation. No power, knowledge, strength, resources, trust, capability…you named it. I have none. Yet, I still desperately hope that those who can do something about the situation step in and help. How ironic. (I despise myself for that.) No idea what to do about this. I can choose not to read the news, but that would mean that I lose touch with the current affairs. When I read the news, I felt so helpless thereafter.

When will this end?

No one knows when the pandemic will come to an end. The effectiveness of the vaccines against the new variants of the virus are still in study. Even if herd immunity is achieved against the initial strains of the virus, is there any evidence to suggest that the population would be immune to the new variants as well? If yes, that’d be the ideal scenario. If not, what should we do? What are the back-up plans? How can we be certain that the reopening will not result in another wave again?



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