Self-Preservation Is The Key To Survive

Saturdays With Shivani

I am so angry right now that I am unable to think or talk coherently so I am trying to write instead; in the hope that my emotions will find a release. In February, India was close to the 10k mark of COVID cases per day and with a vaccine on the horizon things just seemed to be on the upswing. Barely two months later, the only upswing we can see is in the COVID numbers that are threatening to touch the three-lakh mark as I write this.

The ones who were asking the right questions are also tired now; or busy coordinating the availability of resources to help whoever they can. There’s no time to play the blame game and it would be too late by the time we come to it.

I helplessly watch the images of pyres burning by the river side and the melting furnaces. The stench of death nauseates me as I cry watching the videos of doctors breaking down who are at their wits’ ends.

Scores of people dying alone, unattended with no one to hold their hands; their loved ones denied that last hug or the chance to hug each other. The ones who are left behind mull over the possibilities as they sift through the possible scenarios that could have been, should have been but aren’t. The sorrow and grief are getting piled up; shoved up somewhere to be handled later.

When all this will be over, and it will be, maybe then we shall take stock of what all we have written off as collateral damage and tally our accounts. That would be the time we shall need each other to lean on, to cry with or just to sit in silence to allow grief to ravage us and paradoxically heal us as well. I foresee a PTSD like situation in the bereaved and in the healthcare workers. Though it scares me, I hope that those affected would have the courage to reach out and the rest of us would be around to help them through it in whatever capacity we can.

For now, the only word that I am holding on to is, self-preservation. When the conditions are adverse, bacteria form spores to tide over the unfavourable circumstances. When things swing in their favour, they germinate and thrive (I hope you will pardon this analogy from a Microbiologist). Just like the seeds that carry life within them and wait for the right conditions to spring it upon us, I believe we too need to switch to self-preservation mode.

Self- preservation is not synonymous to being selfish. It only means you are prioritizing your own well-being along with your responsibilities. Dig deep within to make place for yourself where you can lie down and curl up as you please. Be kind and make time for yourself, to collect yourself and to gather the strength to bounce back when the time is right.

Meanwhile, stay safe and take good care of yourself. You know what needs to be done so just do it.

Dr. Shivani Salil

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