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Covid On My Mind

Updated: Feb 2

I’m writing this as we make the transition through an extraordinary time - the Covid-19 pandemic has shook the world, leaving it full of fracture, separation and anxiety.

📷 Edwin Hooper


It's been challenging even for the most optimistic among us to stay positive during such trying times. Here's a catalogue of some of my thoughts & feelings of life during lockdown comprising three parts: Ping – You Have a New Notification; Over & Over & Over Again & Dear Fiona



I. ‘Ping’ – You Have a New Notification


One ping after another – WhatApp > Facebook > Messenger > Text - an onslaught of messages and striking images from around the world of friends, family and acquaintances having tested positive with Covid-19 or having been directly affected by the deadly virus?!


📷 Jeremy Bishop


Once upon a time, a new notification was almost always the newest rib-tickling meme or funny video – my daily dose of laughter, positivity and escapism. Nowadays, every time my phone buzzes I’m filled with intense fear, panic and anxiety - bracing myself for bad news.


As we bade farewell to a somewhat strange (and depressing!) 2020, new waves of sad news dampened my New Year hopes as deaths were accelerating in many parts of the world (particularly in the UK), and most worryingly, a terrifying new variant was detected in my home country, South Africa!


More contagious, more infectious and more transmissible than the original virus, it was spreading rapidly across the country wiping out whole families and ravaging close-knit communities, with my hometown Durban badly hit!

Online orbituaries, death announcements and funeral notices of people that had tragically lost their lives to COVID-19 – some family, some friends – were fast becoming a daily occurrence.


Being miles away, I felt helpless and, with all outbound international travel banned (due to yet another coronavirus induced lockdown … aaaarrrrggghhhh?!!!), I was utterly powerless!


A grim reality, more devastating than I could ever have imagined.

I have always approached life’s challenges with a positive outlook, consciously searching for the silver lining. However, having to contend with a barrage of sad news and lost in a daze of negative media stories (about our world being pushed further and further into crisis!!) - life has been traumatic, to say the least.


Overwhelmed! Anxiety > Depression > Stress.


Relentless and unpredictable, the virus strikes again and again - each time with a mightier force. As chaos swirled around me, paranoia and panic set in - a suffocating feeling of dread, constantly living in fear for my health and, that of my family and friends!


Help! Confusion > Resignation > Despair.


How do you stay afloat when it seems ALL news is bad news?

And when the best forecast for today, tomorrow, and the day after tomorrow (Eat. Zoom. Netflix. Sleep. Repeat!!!) - is doom and gloom, how do you stay positive?


On any given day, it felt like the world was falling apart. The world was a mess and life was hard!



II. Over & Over & Over Again


As I hunker down in my apartment, everyday starts to seem the same … I feel like I’m stuck in a recurring scene from the movie ‘Groundhog Day’ starring Bill Murray whose character relives the same day (and relives it and relives it and relives it!!!). He is doomed to repeat the day, caught in a loop of unknown duration!!


Ugh …as if that wasn't enough, having to contend with short, dark days and dreary weather + an eerie, unsettling silence that hangs over Londontown - it feels like a disaster moving in slow motion - with no end in sight.


The days blend and blur—as the weeks become months and months become a year … soon!



III. Dear Fiona


A letter of hope to my dearest sister-in-law & all those working & serving on the frontline.

📷 Fiona Nair


Every day you rise, don your suit of armour, ready to work and serve on the frontline. Each day you fight an invisible enemy with the ferocity and bravery of a warrior - helping to deliver and save lives, keeping our world ticking over.


I wish that I could tell you this pandemic will be over soon and life will return to some form of normality, but I can’t ... as the everyday harsh reality of dealing with Covid-19 is demanding and heartbreaking.


You’ve seen its brutality and force firsthand. I know it’s alot and it can feel overwhelming like being hit by a mighty (and never-ending!) storm.


At times, I have felt helpless, trying to find the right way to comfort you while I myself was in pain and afraid for you.


All I can tell you with certainty is that it takes tireless courage, commitment and sacrifice to show up every day - to keep fighting and to be there no matter the danger, no matter the hardship.


It isn’t easy knowing that you will have to get up and do it all again tomorrow.


Occasionally you will lose faith but it will be restored again and again, because - even amongst the darkest clouds, there will always be moments of light as hope faces up to the worst!

I hope that some of what I write here will help communicate my sincerest and heartfelt support and give you some form of comfort. I may not be with you on the battlefield at all times but I am always with you in spirit, no matter the distance.


Keep your head up, keep your heart strong and keep your hope alive … and there will be light!

Much love,

Mel

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