“Nobody thinks it’ll happen to them…and then it does”.
I enjoyed watching Chernobyl. It’s currently the highest-rated TV series on IMDB, and I can clearly see why. But above all, it was the dialogues that impressed me most. After all, they’re all real conversations. And during the past few weeks, I thought about them the most.
I can’t say my COVID-imposed work-from-home routine has been “normal,” but I suppose this is the new normal. Everything was mundane, consistent, and days would pass by without anything changing. Expectedly, I had my to-do list ready for the end of the quarter, and my calendar was stacked full, so I knew I had some busy weeks ahead.
A rare pleasure during this lockdown has been the opportunity to enjoy things I once took for granted. You can still go out on paper, but the extent of restrictions has effectively taken the fun out of everything. Hence, when I got the chance to attend a wedding, I jumped at the opportunity. If I’m completely honest, I can’t say I didn’t enjoy myself there. The food was extraordinary, the event itself was both colorful and cheerful, and being among so many people suddenly felt “normal” again. Little did I know, I’d be ruing this for the next two weeks.
The next day began as any day would. I worked like usual, and as far as I recall, there wasn’t anything unusual at work. However, I had started getting these bursts of dry coughs. By the day’s end, I had a severe headache, and I felt my whole body aching. I had a premonition about what this might be, but I didn’t take it seriously until I got my COVID result.
I’ve never felt a jolt quite like the one this eight-letter word gave me. My situation physically was getting worse, but now my mental well-being was being affected too. I informed my manager and my immediate supervisor, and took time off work. It’s as if in a few hours, my entire life had been turned upside down. All those carefully thought-out to-do lists and tasks were out the window as I spent the next few days on my bed.
I’m still struggling to find the right words to explain the feeling from those days. It was unlike anything that I’ve ever felt or experienced in my life. I was lethargic, lackluster, and something as simple as changing clothes felt like a chore. Time passed like a hot knife through butter. I’d wake up at 9 AM and go back to sleep, only to wake up at 4 PM. To quote another favorite movie of mine, “everything felt like a copy of a copy of a copy.”
The self-quarantine part is probably the most challenging. I’ve always heard that no matter the illness, family, and friends’ support could help you see it out or at least face it. But this was different. I couldn’t physically meet any of them as this disease’s wicked nature would mean putting them in danger. Against COVID, you truly are alone. It eats away at your body and soon starts creeping inside your head. I had lingering doubts about this disease for a brief moment and what it would do to me by the end.
But as the days passed, I decided what the point in giving up without a fight is? What’s the point in not fighting back? So, as ill-advised as it was, I informed my supervisor that I’d be rejoining work from the next day. I wasn’t at my 100%, but I was determined not to let that hold me back. The first few hours were hard. I had to catch up on a lot. But as I mentioned, I was resolute in my decision to get on with life.
Now, I’ve tested negative for COVID. In other words, I have defeated COVID. And as much as I want to thank the white blood cells in my body, it’s the mentality that serves as the first step. You cannot give up. You cannot let it bring you down. And most importantly, you cannot let it inside your head.
Looking back, as horrid as those 14 days were, I learned a whole lot about determination. I have a different perspective on perseverance now. I’m a much stronger person because now, I know my mental strength. Who knew what was my bane a couple of weeks back has been one of the greatest blessings in disguise as it helped me discover my capabilities, which even I wasn’t aware of.