A FaceTime photo series about Mental Health during lockdown and the coronavirus pandemic.
CW: Mental health, anger, depression & anxiety.
THROUGH THE SCREEN
As Covid-19 spread throughout Malaysia, the Malaysian government decided to place the country under the Movement Control Order (MCO): social distancing and staying at home was the new normal. I started a FaceTime photoshoot called "Through the Screen", where it is a photography project about staying connected with people around the world but through the screen. In conjunction with Mental Health Awareness Month, Emma (@fyi.khoo) and I teamed up to create a creative makeup photo series that showcases the emotions that we felt during this lockdown.
MCO Mood 1: Anger
My emotions went haywire as the Movement Control Order (MCO) in Malaysia started. I was optimistic that it would just be a temporary situation but as time went on, it started to feel like this was the beginning of a very difficult and stressful time of our lives. Anger was one of the first few feelings that crept in my mind in the first week of MCO. Being under MCO meant that our daily routines would be disrupted, our constants were no longer our constants and it also meant that we had to stay put in our homes with no choice to go anywhere or do anything. It was frustrating to hear that there were people who weren’t cooperating and were taking this situation likely. All we want is for this to be over as soon as possible but there were people who were delaying that from happening and possibly making things worse than it already is. I admit that I’m a workaholic, I’m always looking for something to do, and being under MCO is preventing me from my usual routine of being outdoors. It also meant that my scheduled work needed to be postponed or cancelled. The frustration and anger that I was feeling created stress and a block in my creativity. The anger and frustration were slowly subsiding but another feeling was creeping in and that is depression and sadness.
MCO Mood 2: Depression
Depression and sadness came right after the feeling of anger and frustration subsided. I was determined to maintain a positive mindset throughout the MCO but I found myself changing. I found myself falling into a rabbit hole and it was quite difficult to keep going without the constant thoughts of giving up. Being away from my family and feeling homesick contributed to what I was feeling. I felt cooped up in a small house with limited interaction with my family. Even though I tried to talk to them on the phone or have video calls, what was lacking was the physical interaction with them. There were many times I found myself feeling numb but also overwhelmed with emotions. I just wanted things to be normal again but it seemed like it will be a long way more till things get back to normal. Throughout these 2 months of being under MCO, I've broken down countless times and have had many thoughts of giving up race through my mind. I try to take those emotions and channel them through art or discover new hobbies. Even till now, I'm still trying to prevent myself from falling into a rabbit hole that would be very hard to get out of. I'm trying to stay motivated and constantly remind myself of my goals and life purpose. Most of us don’t realize how much we are affected mentally and emotionally by this pandemic till it's too late. It's important that we listen to our emotions and acknowledge our feelings. It is one of the most difficult times of our lives and we need to be there for our loved ones because they may be going through something difficult as well but don't know how to express it.
MCO Mood 3: Anxiety Anxiety is one of the worst feelings I've felt throughout this experience. I would wake up feeling unable to breathe and fear of the unknown would start racing through my head throughout the day. After reading so many news articles about Covid-19 and constantly getting news updates from my family, it started to make me more anxious than I already was. The fear of the unknown was what scared me the most. There was no guarantee of what was going to happen next. I found myself crying almost every day because I was so anxious and scared. After crying it out, the heavy feeling would subside but this would happen almost every day and it was emotionally draining. I could feel my sanity slowly slipping away and I couldn't recognize myself anymore. Fear is such a dangerous thing. It can cause so much havoc in our minds, more than we will ever realize. Now seeing that the Covid-19 situation in Malaysia is getting better, my anxiety has gotten a bit better. I'm glad to see that Malaysia is on its way to healing.
If you are struggling with your mental health please don't suffer in silence.
Here are some resources:
https://www.mindout.org.uk (LGBTQ specifically)
Malaysia - https://www.befrienders.org (worldwide)