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I remember my last day before this lockdown struck us, I was in Mumbai with my friends – our exams had gotten canceled due to the occurrence of COVID-19 but things didn’t seem THAT serious back then. We went out for a drink to our favorite place and little did we know that that would be our last time together for a while. I remember the day the “lockdown” was officially announced, it was 22nd March 2020 – honestly my first reaction was just a rush of emotions. I was an extremely social person, I loved going out for dinners, on the weekends, just walking around, meeting my friends almost every day and most importantly, I was not used to living with my parents for more than a week or a month – I was used to my independence and my life in Mumbai that living in Delhi seemed almost unrealistic for me. I convinced myself that this wouldn’t be so bad and I’d go back really soon with little thought towards how it could actually last for more than three months but here we are – on our fifth month of lockdown and if I had to describe how I feel at present, I honestly feel happy and at peace (ironic, isn’t it?).

However, this was not the case at the very beginning, I was, in fact, anxious for most of the time – I missed the weekends and the city I consider my home the most. I was irritable, upset, moody, and had brief periods of just falling apart. This was also the time where I had received my fair share of rejections from universities which I had applied to for my master’s program, it was one of the most difficult emotions to have to deal with – just the entire experience broke me to another level and the fact that I couldn’t go out to distract myself or find comfort in my friends made my situation even worse. Eventually, around the month of May – I would say that I discovered a part of myself which I had lost amidst so many things that had happened to me in the past year ranging from the process of letting go of people in my life, facing multiple rejections, letting go of a city which made me feel alive and more like “me” amongst all the judgment and biases and most importantly, trying to get my non-existent self-esteem back to life in order to avoid falling back into my self-destructive self (which happened quite frequently).

Being in lockdown made me more self-aware, more focused, and more goal-oriented. I had so much time in my hands, I could improve so many things about myself which is exactly what I decided to do. In May itself, I applied for an Internship and heard back within a week with a very positive response – and eventually, I started working for a Mental Health Organization as a content writer and listener.

What I went on to realize as I worked with people was that it wasn’t just about me, it was about the other people who needed more empathy and understanding in their lives and as a potential therapist, I did not let go of any opportunity which would lead me to make an impact on other people’s lives. I read more books about Psychology, I expanded my knowledge and gained more exposure through Internships and Training programs, I discovered that I could and actually loved writing so I began to write articles. This one very small part of my journey led me to introspect around one idea which all of us need to let go of - the idea that regardless of how many times you fail, no amount of failures define what your potential really is – instead of letting your failures discourage and destroy you, allow them to help you grow instead, let it lead you to become more resilient, don’t push it away. We are surrounded with this flawed idea that we need to heal from the things that disappoint or hurt us instantly but what we don’t consider is how healing is not linear, it’s a never-ending process and to accept all the things in your life the way they are including yourself – without resentment and anger but instead with willingness is what will lead each one of us on the ideal path of change and acceptance, giving us the strength to forgive ourselves and others around us. I had two options, I could either give up on what I wanted to achieve or I could just add it to my list of experiences which I had to fight through and I chose the latter which I’m grateful for.

So, even though the process of healing started off as rocky and difficult for me, there was eventually this glimpse of transformation or change in perspective that turned around things for me in the most positive way and I believe that each and everyone one of us alone has the power to create the same change for ourselves. I just want to say “you got this, now go get it!”.

Written by - Antara Jain

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