How do you achieve mental peace has always been that billion-dollar question. There's no definite answer for this ever going dilemma.
My story starts a little earlier than 2020. When I was trying so hard to get into a postgraduation course abroad, but couldn't afford one without a scholarship. So, I started applying to Universities and scholarships overseas. In October 2019, to my utter surprise, before getting any university offers, I got interviewed for the Commonwealth scholarship, that too making it to the top 3 of the lists. Unfortunately, no candidates were awarded that year from my sector. Right after that, I started getting unconditional offers from Top 100 universities of the UK, USA, Sweden, Germany, and Australia. I kept on applying for scholarships in order to fulfill my dream of studying in one of those universities. But the rejections also kept on coming. Amidst all these, Coronavirus started to invade our lives.
Every time I tried a little harder to keep myself on track rather than breaking down, other bad news would arrive. I was living far from my family and whenever a new symptom, a new vulnerable group, an increase in COVID-19 cases, a closed one's loss came into my knowledge I would immediately start to worry about them. I would constantly feel this emptiness inside thinking about a life without them. My worst fear slowly started to become my biggest fear and that was losing my family and not being able to look after them. I would also feel really unproductive and unworthy at times. I have gone through a lot worse before 2020 but this year hit different because I felt sad as well as anxious, depressed as well as lonely, frightened as well as weak. I endured an unknowing pain that kept me from enjoying even the biggest accomplishments.
Whenever I looked up on social media, I would stumble upon my friend’s post about being successful, about passing an exam, about starting a family, and importantly about being happy. But little did I know that what you see on screen may not be the real story. Everyone has their own struggles, their own battles. But all that happy news actually made me think what is happiness actually and how are they able to grasp it so easily? I deactivated my social media to keep my mind in peace. I felt like I was cursed and had an evil eye on me. I stopped letting people know about my accomplishments, about my plans, about my happy days. Maybe the time was really hard for everyone but I took it to myself for being a failure. I was deeply in search of mental peace. I lost interest in doing things I liked to do. But I never lost hope, because I had faith in God and that everything happens for a reason. My beliefs were so strong that it kept me sane in the middle of all insanity. I completed reciting the whole Holy Quran during the month of Ramadan. That was my biggest achievement this year. In the past, I always tried to do it but never had the time to do so.
And yet, when all the doors started to close, I decided to take a risk of asking my parents to sponsor my studies abroad. They agreed without any hesitation because that’s how parents are! Without knowing any outcome, future-prospects, or career plans I took the decision against my usual introverted, shy self. I found myself busy again preparing for my new start. Offer acceptance, Visa, Course Registration, Orientation and finally arriving in the UK and starting my classes felt like a dream. I started hiking in this beautiful place which I can call my home for the next 1 year. I found my therapist, my mood maker, the mother-nature herself. I vowed to be hard-working and focused than ever. I wish to enjoy life to the fullest alongside my studies. I prayed to be successful to make my family proud.
The coronavirus has kept us in the palm of its hand for a long time but the new normal life that we have adapted to has changed us for both good and bad. But everyone must keep on trying to achieve mental health satisfaction through whatever makes them happy and sane. Be it buying things online, working out, binge-watching Netflix all day, posting on Instagram, going crazy for favorite K-pop idol, gossiping, or making lame jokes- everyone deserves to have mental peace in their own way without being judged or feeling insecure.