Life under lockdown

Published On: April 7, 2020 09:26 AM NPT By: Shantanu Sharma

Shantanu Sharma

Shantanu Sharma

The contributor for Republica.

I have been on mental lockdown for a long time. I have been suffering from major depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder for nearly half a decade


It is not an understatement to say that the COVID-19 virus has changed the world. The whole world is in panic and disorder right now. The fact that we don’t know when this will come to an end is even scarier to contemplate. The majority of the countries across the globe are in lockdown. People are told to stay indoors to minimize the spread of the coronavirus as much as possible. Being in lockdown might seem unsettling for the majority of people right now, but I am used to it. I have been on mental and physical lockdown for the last four and a half years. However, I am still fighting to not let the lockdown lock my life down.

I have been on mental lockdown for a long time. When one deals with a mental illness, it is just like having a mental lockdown. I have been suffering from major depression and OCD for nearly half a decade. In today’s society, the term depression seems to be commonly used. Nowadays, this word gets tossed around like kids playing with a tennis ball.

What really is depression? What does the mental state of someone suffering from major depression really look like? It looks like being in complete darkness where no ray of light can be seen. I become a prisoner of my own mind. My mind locks me in this darkness. I cannot seem to find any way out of this prison. The worst part is I don’t even know why I am depressed. I have no specific reason for this constant feeling of despondency. This is what it feels like to be actually depressed. This is being in mental lockdown.

I also suffer from OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder). This is an anxiety disorder where one has recurring thoughts, ideas or sensations (obsessions) that make them feel driven to do something repetitively (compulsions). These repetitive compulsive behaviors can range from hand washing to rumination (constant replay of something in your head). OCD can significantly interfere with a person’s daily activities and social interactions.

My OCD deals with rumination. My mind constantly dwells on a certain thought and replays it over and over again in my head. My mind randomly latches onto something that I might have heard or said in the past (recent or distant) and keeps dwelling on it. For example, if someone had just greeted me 20 seconds ago, my mind starts questioning and doubting what was just said. It keeps replaying this recent occurrence in my head, and I have this sudden compulsion to know exactly what was just said to me. I have this irresistible urge to know exactly what word was used to greet me. I might have clearly heard “hello” 20 seconds ago, but my mind begins to doubt that as well.

Suddenly, I become really anxious and my brain starts thinking of every possible word that could have been said to me in that scenario, “hello”, “hi”, or “hey”. My brain runs on autopilot and I cannot seem to stop it. I am in mental lockdown again because of my OCD.

Depression also brought devastation to my physical health. My depression reached to such an extent where every second that I was breathing felt like I was being suffocated to death. I saw no way out of this suffering except ending my life. On the cold night of February 20, 2016, I fell backwards from a height of 30 feet and crashed to the ground. To my surprise, I was still alive on the ground. I could hear my dad yelling and rushing out to see me. He and a few neighbors hastily carried me to the nearest local taxi. I still remember everything like it was yesterday. For the next two months, I endured more pain than I could ever fathom. I was left with a broken spine, broken right femur, left dislocated hip and broken ribs. My mind was just in shock for a couple of days. Slowly I started grasping what just happened to me. All of these broken bones healed with time, but I was left with a permanent spinal cord injury. Even in this progressive medical world of today, there still is no cure for a spinal cord injury. I have been confined to live a life with my lower limb on lockdown ever since.

Even though I have been on mental and physical lockdown for a long time now, I am still here. Something inside of me has kept me alive through all this adversity. It is my spirit. This spirit has given me the inner strength to endure the darkest times of my life. Concurrently, the darkest times has allowed me the opportunity to find my spirit and strengthen it further. Ironically, adversity can be a blessing in disguise. Thanks to adversity, I am a much stronger and better person today. I have an even more relentless spirit that allows me to keep going in life. There will be uncontrollable calamities that life will present us with. It may even put our mental and physical state on lockdown. However, as long as we don’t let our spirit be on lockdown, our life will never be on lockdown.

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