Tahera Jabeen

Tahera Jabeen

Development Practitioner and Mental Health First Aid Trainer


Life in the time of Corona - Living with new reality


It has been a very long time that I miss to say ‘hello’ to my colleagues or friends in person, but I consider myself fortunate enough to be connected with some in this virtual world, which is a ‘new normal’ situation for all of us. I felt the urge to write this post because this is Mental Health Awareness Week, which is taking place from Monday 18 May to Sunday 24 May. The objective of this week is to raise awareness of a topic related to mental health and to provide support for those who need it. The event like this provides an opportunity for us, both individually and collectively, to set out the importance of mental health to our private life as well as workplace with colleagues and to underpin this commitment with a range of activities to support learning on the subject.

Now, let me share my experience of the last 3 months of isolation. Being a certified mental health first aider and also a strong advocate of mental health awareness, I always try to spread positivity to my surroundings. Like many of you, I have also been in a lockdown situation since mid-March but in my case, it was not possible to maintain the complete distancing. This is because being single, I have not only to take care of myself but also to take care of the house of my parents who live a bit far away from my place. Though support staff are there and my brother also lives in the same building, I take care of my parents’ weekly grocery and manage maids there. During this lockdown, I visit them once in a week for a short period to fulfil my required tasks. At my own residence, both of my housemaid and driver were on long leave, but it didn’t affect me that much as being a flexible person, I adjusted with the ‘new reality’ very quickly. Apart from this, I had to take care of the refurbishment work in the newly rented flat in the same apartment building where I moved this month. It was not so easy to manage the work in such a sensitive period, but I am glad that everything went well, and I could manage to sort out many things through on-line shopping. My landlady is an extremely supportive person, who in a pleasant surprise welcomed me to the new place with her homemade pudding. That gives a kind of homely feeling in such a situation.

One of the challenges that I face is that being a nature lover, who loves to go to nature every few weeks’ break, it is a punishment for me now to not to take any nature travel. In such a situation, I found myself blessed that at least through one of the rooms of my new flat, I can get the chance to see some greenery and I am tempted to share a picture from that little green with you.

At work, it has been possible to adjust with the pressure of new demands with support from colleagues, especially my team members. And from time to time, personal sharing with my line manager also works like a therapy to me. In between work, watching movies on Youtube, Netflix and Hoichoi (Bangla movie channel apps), listening to music and reading books made me remain stable in such a difficult time.

Dear readers, on mental health awareness week, I want you to remind one bitter truth that legendary actor Robin Williams once said, “I used to think the worst thing in life was to end up all alone. It’s not. The worst thing in life is to end up with people who make you feel all alone.”

His quote reminds me once again that we humans are like trees to try to touch each other through our branches but ask yourself how many of you are actually able to touch the roots of your loved ones? The answer is, we rarely have the ability to touch the roots of our loved ones and that's why emptiness and loneliness are part of this modern life.

Due to social media, it is good to see many of my known persons to share their thoughts on mental health nowadays. This indicates their growing awareness about mental health issues. Being an empath, I always have an intuitive connection with people's mind but the irony of this trait is that when everyone expects me to be with them, I hardly feel comfortable to share my blue times easily with anyone. Yes, I am a cheerful and optimistic person whose motto in life is to show light to people, but I occasionally also have my own blue times that I hardly feel comfortable to share with any one. Rather I developed my inner strength through practising my own way of meditation that gives me the energy to fight against any tough situation. But I know not all in my surroundings can do like me. So, we must be ready to support them.

We need to be aware that facing mental health challenges is common for anyone in this modern and busy life but instead of hiding or denying, the best way to deal with this is to express ourselves and accept the challenging side of ours. And then to start dealing with the situation slowly. We have to remember that denial mode would do more harm. So, be brave to be your own hero, my loving friends!

Like the dog in one of my shared pictures, I am here with my loving heart to be with you, whoever needs me. Happy days of expression and to embrace our weaknesses!


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