This pandemic has become a paradox. On the one hand we have a health crisis, on the other hand we have a mental health crisis. These two realities are no longer compatible. It was a year of horror film where we felt lambs following a flock. We have heard all the time on the news that we are facing a “war against an invisible enemy” and no one would ever imagine the effects of these constant battles.
It was early March 2020 and what was going to happen was very far away. We remember conversations with friends in which we discussed that this virus was light and fleeting. It was far from Portugal, it was uncomfortable, imperceptible to the eyes, and we compared this situation with that of influenza A. At that time, our group decided to spend a few days in Vila Viçosa. We remember political discussions, love relationships, family problems, all with the naivety of not knowing the future.
The first delivery began in the spring when the birds were singing, the weather improved, and there was hope because summer was very near. We had the solidarity that we were all going through the same situation. So we tried to find escapes – exercise, painting, writing, or even some videos on social networks. There was a hiatus in life for a while but we thought it was only temporary.
During this time we missed our routine, changed outfits and took to the streets, saw people and said “good morning” to the coffee shop owner, the university security guard, and even the person we least like. In the end we graduated, but without motivation from the lack of social contact, sharing classroom courses, we didn’t complete a chapter in our lives. The end of the course was a very trivial moment, we didn’t feel anything.
What about love and anger? The delivery brought a loneliness that tormented the soul; the young people were silent for a long time in our thoughts alone. And so the summer made us want carnal and sentimental stimuli.
Summer came, the end of childbirth, and that urge to live grew in us. This season brought the sea, vitamin D, exposure to salt water and sand, car trips with loud music and laughing with friends. It was a moment of light and hope, that is, the nightmare was finally over.
But then “someone” pulled the handbrake. The cases increased, the measures became more and more restrictive. The winter came. I brought the rain, the wind, the loneliness of an empty room, every day on the same day. After all, the horror movie wasn’t over yet. See family members lose their jobs and we fear getting the first job. Impossible mission. We couldn’t imagine the future because it was stolen from us.
While the first limitation brought us hope, the second brought us a cry for help, an obsession with the image, real life versus life on social networks. The bad weather and the constant closure at home have tied us to the virtual world, to a false reality. College and grades have become irrelevant. Sleeping is a phobia, the fear of lying down and not being able to sleep.
Mental health has become an antagonism: on the one hand, it is repeated over and over, on the other, it is not felt. And it is not felt, because it is difficult to speak regardless of all journalists, psychologists and public opinion dealing with this issue. We have a government that does not offer any support. University, schools, homes, councils that don’t come together to make a difference.
Man is not perfect, he doesn’t have to be the perfect student, son, or worker. And man himself is obsessed with perfection, alone in his head, because if he does not achieve perfection, he does not achieve recognition. We are obsessed with food and the body. Because “healthy mind, healthy body”. But it is difficult to attain a sane mind because we are alone.
We need patience, tolerance and understanding on the part of the police state in which we live.
The “good people” say that fundamental rights are extremely important. The Constitution of the Portuguese Republic has always been so safe, clear and the solution to all society’s problems – supposedly. What are these basic rights? What is freedom Where is democracy going? Are we lost in the middle of this pandemic? Everything used to be fine, but this pandemic has come to brave everything.
The pandemic made us take the mask off. Will we ever go back to normal? Someone to listen to us.