Initial blind panic has given way to acceptance, rationalising and sublimating – all coping mechanisms!
Some Covid images that will haunt history forever are those of Indian migrants trudging back home; a baby trying to awaken a mother who died of starvation and dehydration; a 15-year-old girl cycling hundreds of miles to bring home her injured father; thousands of unclaimed dead being buried quietly in mass graves, and the eerie sight of empty streets across the world…
We are all stressed, let us make no bones about that. With Corona on a worldwide rampage, nobody is safe forever, nor can we afford to be under perpetual lockdown. We are on guard all the time — watching out for a virus that could attack through a random cough or through the milk packet or biscuits; we wash hands obsessively, and sanitize every item that enters our homes. How can that not be stressful?
Helpless in the face of an unknown terror, humans have responded as best they can, exhibiting a strong ‘fight-or-flight’ response — hunkering down, regressing as they retreat homewards in the face of danger, or fighting back as scientists, doctors, nurses, policy makers and people engaged in essential goods chains are doing.
It is daunting when those you look up to for guidance are floundering just as badly as you. When a miniscule virus quickly brought America to its knees, we knew this was a to-each-his-own situation. When powerful industrialists and the government were dithering, what could daily wagers do but flee home? That was their way to cope.
Adaptive as humans are, we have accepted the situation as best we can, depending on our varied circumstances. We are coping, and that is why it seems that we are less scared today than we were initially. That initial panic was of the unknown; today we are coping by drawing circles of safety around us. Knowing you are cornered brings out the best in all. Initial feelings of helplessness and immobilizing fear have given way to acceptance. A world that had grown used to information at the tap of a button, accepted that here was an unknowable that defied understanding and refused to be pinned down to an expiry date.
We have all settled into a routine of sorts in these unprecedented times — and even learnt to like some parts of it. That is rationalisation, a coping technique – trying to convince ourselves that we needed this – a time to pause and reset. Those smarter have turned adversity into opportunity. People are busy sublimating, yet another coping mechanism — cooking, writing, painting, exercising, finding ways to build immunity, doing yoga and meditating. Those who relied on gyms and salons have discovered new ways of attaining the same goals of fitness and grooming. Those who miss their parties have discovered fresh ways of socializing online.
Yes, we have accepted. We are coping. We are also hoping that one day soon this time will be relegated to the pages of history. When we will say — we lived it, coped with it, and yes, we overcame
DISCLAIMER : Views expressed above are the author’s own.