Buildings, concrete, the hustle and bustle—I’m used to all of these things.
I have been a city girl all my life, but it has always seemed somewhat suffocating, especially if you live where I live.
In Metro Manila, the traffic is horrible, the trains and other public transportation are packed. There’s not enough greenery. So, if I were ever bored, I would head to the mall, or go to bars with my friends, but most of the time, I would much rather stay at home.
Never in a million years did I think that the option to stay in or go out would be taken away from me—from us.
It’s been five months since the Philippines was put on lockdown due to COVID-19. Of course, I am no stranger to the four walls of my home as I have refused to leave this sanctuary countless times, but that has always been by choice. Now that I am being forced to stay put, I am anxious.
The isolation has affected my mental health in more ways than one. At first, there was a lot of motivation to do anything and everything. I worked out consistently, read a lot of books, tried to learn a new language, and baked more than I could eat—banana bread, cookies, you name it.
But over time, I had less and less motivation; I grew more and more anxious, even overwhelmed.
My breakdowns looked like this: Me—curled up in bed—crying about things way beyond my control.
I feared many things that hadn’t happened yet.
What if things don’t go back to “normal” until 2021 or 2022? What if it took even longer than that? I’m turning 28 in November; would I come out of quarantine as a single 30-year-old woman? How am I supposed to meet the love of my life if I’m stuck at home? Career-wise, I’m not even successful yet—not even close.
So many negative thoughts clouded my brain, and all I could do was cry. And cry I did.
There’s always a sense of relief when we let our emotions flow through us. Despite the bad days, I have come to realize that it’s okay to be vulnerable, especially during a pandemic. It’s not a sign of weakness; it’s the opposite. If you acknowledge and face your fears head-on, instead of avoiding them, doesn’t that make you brave?
Perhaps I have always carried these emotions with me but had chosen to push them aside and ignore them. But now that I have so much of the day and night to be in tune with myself and my body, I’ve learned to accept my feelings as valid.
Feel what you need to feel and then let it go.
It’s a strange time, but there’s comfort in knowing we are all experiencing this together. I cannot wait until we all overcome this virus. For now, let’s remember to be kind to ourselves and appreciate all the things we may have taken for granted in our pre-pandemic lives.
And so, I will continue to think of everything I miss—my friends, my favorite café, the bars, the malls, the buildings, concrete, and the hustle and bustle. I will continue to have bad days, but I will let them go.