Saadia’s Side: We Are In This Together.
Think Pieces

Saadia’s Side: We Are In This Together.

Social distancing due to COVID-19 Outbreak has resulted in making people feel lonely and depressed.

When it was time to quarantine and practise social distancing, I was pretty confident that it would never be a big deal for me because my pre-Coronavirus-outbreak life was not much different. Being a loner, I had always derived pleasure from my own company staying away from anyone and everyone. Taking myself out for long walks and occasional dinner dates was always my idea of comforting myself. Even cooking some hot pasta and soup for myself in winter nights brought be the pleasure I could only dream of when around people. Despite being apparently extrovert, I rarely liked large crowds. I wanted to avoid those at all costs.

Hence, I was pretty much the most perfect contender for self-quarantine. Since I worked from home, I only went out for walks, grocery, and gym. My life and livelihood was never dependant on being out and about. Hence, despite showing no symptoms, I decided to show my social responsibility towards my community by staying home. Apart from the desire to protect others, I knew that it was not as difficult as others for me.

Hence, I started my self-quarantine almost ten days ago.

I brought food and groceries that were enough to last for two weeks and yes, an exercise mat with the dumbbells too. I was all set to (further) isolate myself from the outside world for at least two weeks.

The initial days went fine as it felt like a detox. Since I was not going out at all, I was left with much more time than before. The commute to the gym was over. I was eating only at home. Meeting people was completely out of question. I was staying in my PJs whole day quickly resorting to watching the Netflix seasons after work. I had all the time in the world to catch up with all the things I did not have time for in my pre-COVID-19 life. I watched many seasons in a row and made sure that I cooked as many new recipes as possible. From making pasta from scratch to cooking desi meals that required sweat and blood, I did it all.

I felt great, at least for the first few days.

On the sixth day, something started changing from within. The first impact was physical as despite working out at home I was not getting enough physical activity. From more than 10 thousand steps a day I was now restricted to my movement within my apartment leading to barely 200 steps in the entire day (I live in Australia). My energy levels started dropping. There was a constant sense of lethargy and exhaustion started building in. Despite eating healthy and regular coffee intake, my legs were aching and my heart needed to go out.

It also defied my pre-conceived notion about myself that I needed no people in life. I started missing my loved and close ones. Not that I missed hanging out with my friends for the brunches, but I definitely did miss the freedom of going out whenever I liked. There is a difference between doing things at your will and doing because you have no choice. I knew that now I could not even fly black to Pakistan because of the travel restrictions worldwide.

Although there was a fear of uncertainty and death but more than that it was my overwhelming sense of loneliness which was killing me. These times are difficult, not just for someone but for everyone.

For the first time in life, I have understood the true meaning of ‘We are in this together.’

Even if there is one Covid-19 patient left in the world, we are not getting out of this vicious pandemic forever. When it started in Wuhan China, we thought it would never reach us. But now it is right there. Hence we are in this together in all respects. We are all going through the same feelings of loneliness and helplessness.

Being away from our families, we are constantly thinking of our loved ones who are not with us. We all fear for the safety of our parents who are more vulnerable than us at this time. In these times, we need kindness and compassion more than ever before. Hence, be there for your loved ones and even for those whom you do not know using social and digital media. A message does not require you to leave the house and walk an extra mile. Just a message that could uplift someone’s spirit is not a lion’s task. All it requires is some bit of love and empathy that could probably make this world a better place to live in once this calamity is over.

At the end of the day, we are all social animals no matter how hard we deny it.

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By Saadia Ahmed
Saadia Ahmed is a Bollywood and cheesecake fanatic with no obvious interest in space travel. She tweets @khwamkhwah day in and out