I’m sure we all had big expectations and plans set for the year 2020. No, not the unrealistic futuristic fantasies that movies and shows were feeding us for years. Like flying cars, robots replacing humans, teleporting etc. Travelling, graduating with a convocation were some of the things on the bucket list and more. It was supposed to be the kick start to a great decade, but that could not be any further from reality. However, 2020 turned out to be the most straining on most of our mental health. We had to face the unknown feeling helpless and all the underlying complications with it.
When the lockdown was first announced back in March, and we heard the first few cases of Covid-19 in Bangladesh, none of us gave much thought to it. As the weeks, then months rolled by, the adrenaline rush of the initial phase of quarantine faded. We could not rely on our usual coping mechanisms. Quarantining with family was not pleasant for all of us. Some got closer to them, while some faced abuse.
Many of us felt unproductive as we scrolled through various social media platforms and kept playing the “next” button on streaming platforms. Not to add the stress now that the academic classes are online too. Time felt like an abstract concept as we lost touch with it. Depressive symptoms, irritability, and insomnia tendencies started skyrocketing. Suicide rates are predicted to rise by a significant amount this year. According to a research project approved by the Institutional Review Board (IRB) of North South University, 51.9% of adults suffered from poor mental health. Among them, 48% of males and 57% of females were depressed.
Family members were losing jobs, and financial problems started arising. Some of us lost the only earning member of the family. Eventually, workplaces began opening up, and everyone got back to work with the sheer desire to provide for their families. While the rest of us had trouble sleeping at night due to fear of losing someone.
Some of us tried to make ourselves busy by rekindling an old passion/hobby, learning a new skill, or just calling an old friend. People started eating healthy, exercising and took this time to work on themselves. The rates of small and online businesses began increasing.
2020 has really changed all of us. It humbled us in a lot of ways. We got time to reflect on life and appreciate the smallest things. Reevaluated our priorities and made changes. It also made us realize that some things don’t really last forever. Something that we often fail to comprehend is that our parents are just humans who have unrealized issues and trauma. Some families got closer and took this time to be more compassionate towards each other.
This year has been challenging for all of us, but we survived with a little consideration and empathy. While that may not be the case for all of us, we can always look out for these people. Checking up on them and encouraging them to get professional help. Mental Health is Important, and nothing could have proved this statement more like 2020.