With the reimposition of the lockdown, many people have gone into a spiral of negative thoughts. Let's face it. The first lockdown was not a very pleasant experience for many people. Though it was a time for families to come closer to each other, many suffered from anxiety and depression of extreme level.
Especially people who lived away from their families experienced extreme levels of loneliness and helplessness. This feeling was because these people had no social contact or connection of any sort. But during the lockdown, people were able to find creative ways to express their feelings. Some took up writing, while others explored their creative side by painting, investing time in crafts like origami. But after the strict lockdown ended, most of us went back to living our regular lives.
Social lives were back on track and with the opening up of cafes and restaurants, people barely continued to pursue hobbies. But that's the problem.
The lockdown taught us to create a balance between our social and our work lives. It made us realise that just as working and creating your life is important, it is equally important to take pause and just be thankful for what we have.
Think about it, social media and being socially connected with your friends during the lockdown and still feeling alone and isolated is a modern-day problem. Did people feel the same way during the Spanish flu? May be yes! Maybe not!
But this makes us realise, peace needs to be found inside. Being yourself is ok, and not feeling very good about being with ourselves is also ok. But to deal with these emotions effectively we need to channelise our energies effectively.
"During the lockdown, most of the young population spend countless hours on Instagram. Scrolling their Insta feeds day in and day out. This addiction brings anxieties and identity crisis as Instagram is a platform that propagates fake perfection, and almost everyone tried to chase it. Lockdown was all about an identity crisis," says Nikhil Chandwani, the Founder and Editor in Chief of NYK DAILY.
Talking about the effect of the lockdown Chandwani says, "Lockdown pushed us to spend time with ourselves. If we were escapist in the past (most of the population is an escapist), then lockdown came as an alarming reminder. Few people chose to decode this alarm and work on themselves, others found new ways to continue smoking their cigarettes."
The Oxford dictionary explains 'escapism' as a person who seeks distraction and relief from unpleasant realities, especially in the form of entertainment or fantasy. It is a defence mechanism that the mind uses to deal with difficult situations. But human experiences tell us that challenges should be taken head-on.
So what can be done differently during this lockdown?
"The best way to deal with this problem, in my experience, is to write. If someone is able to write their thoughts/emotions/feelings without worrying excessively about the sentence structure/grammar and flow, the thoughts which come out on a paper will be raw. This rawness in expression comes without a filter and that’s what can help people cope up with modern-day problems," suggests Chandwani.
The Bridge Chronicle spoke to a few people to understand their experience with writing. We took to our social media to invite people to share their experiences.
As it turns out, writing, as a matter of fact, has helped a lot of people through the pandemic. Talking about writing, Sonali Raman a techie says, "I had never thought about writing. I haven't even read enough books to know what classifies as good and bad writing. But when I moved back home and started spending every living minute indoors, I realised, no matter how much I talk to my friends and family there was a void. I know everyone was going through the same feeling and so it was not ok to just focus on how I felt. That's when one day at night I wrote my first ever original line. It felt so satisfying... I haven't stopped yet."
Arnav Dhuri, a game producer said, "I am not much of a reader, nor am I the kind who takes life slowly. Until now, I always looked at writing as a slow form of art. It takes too much time. But during the lockdown, I began writing random thoughts. A friend had suggested them to me, and it actually worked. Soon, I tried to put them into form. When I sent it to the friend, she said it was like spoken word poetry. It hasn't slowed me down, but I enjoy the rush of capturing every thought."
But a persistent reply throughout was that people are scared of writing, or feel they aren't good enough. To this Chandwani says, "The Escapist mindset is an issue. If people stop escaping small things, the fear of failure will leave them. Once this fear goes, writing becomes a cakewalk. Also, people must live in the present when they sit and write, they should write in an active voice, write present-day thoughts to start with and that’s how they can start their journey. Later, they can explore numerous other writing forms."
Still, wondering what to write?
Writing as art is intimidating. Thinking of the right word, in the right place, and making sense of a bunch of words can be daunting. But trying is the key. Chandwani suggests, "People can write poetry, letters, short stories, micro fiction, speeches, etc." Before you write, remember that anything is art, as far as you believe in it. Writing is a form of expression and no one can judge what you choose to express.
Finally, Chandwani says, "Writing help immensely in overcoming negative emotions. How? When we write, we are essentially facing our thoughts rather than escaping it. If we face our fear, the fear of failure hits a roadblock and that’s what writing offers."