TLFMagazine -The Lockdown Meltdown

The Lockdown Meltdown

The Lockdown Meltdown

By Natascha Shah

We have been in a lockdown since over a month now-39 days? 40 days? Who knows? Honestly, I have lost count. When it all began, I was excited about #quarantineandchill. I was chilling and winning- cooking exotic dishes like Hummus and Pita bread, Afghani Chicken Stew, Kashmiri Dum Aloo, Banana Breads and what not. I signed up for two online courses and charted out my fitness schedule. I was going to workout twice a day- because I had all the time! This is exactly what I wanted; a break from my busy routine and time to focus on my body. I went on a no-dairy, no-wheat, no-added-sugar diet. I ordered a trampoline while deliveries were still taking place -because that was essential (I even ordered a life time supply of ingredients). I was sketching, reading and applying a face pack every alternate day.This was during the first week of the lockdown. 

In the second week, I started cooking daal - now I know why we had it almost every night pre-lockdown, because whoever was in-charge of the cooking wanted to get the hell out of the kitchen in as little time as possible. I couldn’t understand why did people eat chapatis? Can’t everyone just eat rice-it is so much easier to cook! I tried to carefully avoid my family members’ expectant looks. “So what are you cooking today?” I would be asked with a big smile- “Daal,” I squeaked back. From searching for elaborate recipes, I started googling, “Ideas for two-minute meals.”My body had started revolting against the lack of stretching and too much of phone and TV time. 

Cut to the third week and I was hoping food would magically appear in the kitchen. I had stopped sketching because I ran out of ink (I was thankful because creating something everyday and posting it online had started feeling like a task) No one had asked me to post it, but that is something we do right? Everyone was posting their creations- I couldn’t believe, even when the entire world was shut down— battling a deadly virus- we were still competing. 

It is in the fourth week that the lockdown extended and my spirits sunk. I cried after maybe three years?! And blamed it on my hormones. I really didn’t know what was it? The fact that I was at home and missed going out? I missed my parents, I missed going to events and meeting new people but I was mature enough to understand we were in the middle of a crisis and we have to be at home for our own safety. The fact that I felt sad, made me feel guilty! I was better than that!

In the beginning of the fifth week, I had stopped chatting with my friends. I had stopped working out. I was having copious amounts of wheat, dairy and sugar. Hell, I even downloaded tiktok- that’s when I knew things were really bad. I slept at 3 am and woke up at 1 pm. I had stopped cooking, I hadn’t read or written anything since over a week. I didn’t feel like watching anything. I didn’t touch my phone for hours altogether. I was crying without any rhyme or reasonfor hours at a stretch. My body pained, I didn’t feel like getting out of the bed.  I was officially having a meltdown. 

But you know what? It is ok. We are living in a weird new world, battling a pandemic. We have too much time in our hands and all the monsters that we had buried in a corner of our brains have woken up and started creating a havoc. It can happen to anyone: Doesn’t matter if you are surrounded by your loved ones, anyone can have a breakdown. I have been with my family and have the greatest husband in the world but I still had it! There is nothing to feel ashamed of. 

So what do we do? Honestly, I don’t know. Everyone has a different way of dealing with anxiety and stress but here are a few things that helped me:

1. Reach out for help- talk to a loved one; be it a family member or a friend, it feels great to share and discuss what is bothering you. They might not have the solution to your problem but they will help you find it.
2. Meditate- It is really difficult to calm your mind and stay still but try! Even if for just two minutes. There are plenty of apps and online meditation sessions, even Instagram live sessions- join one.
3. Remember this is a crisis not a competition- You don’t have to emerge out of this as a Master Chef, you don’t have to use this time to finish a project or to start a new one- if you feel like sleeping-do it. If you want to rest-do that, if you want to eat- do that. 
4. Social distancing-emotional connect- Check-in on people, face-timing your friends might seem like a task, but trust me once you do it, it will make you feel great!
5. Movement- while you don’t have to feel pressurised to get a bikini body, but try and stretch everyday to facilitate movement of energy and to avoid muscle pain. 

After a couple of days of crying, talking to family and being in bed, I felt much better. The world is still under a lockdown and my problems still exist but I am feeling way better and have a new kind of energy! I even decided to write all of this down, just to let everyone who might be feeling low know that it is ok and like everything else, this too shall pass!