Today morning, as I heard my father's gifted voice in a melodious song he had sung on New Year's eve, I became very emotional. A month back, our family went through a rough time when my dad fell and suffered a bad head injury. It was totally unexpected as dad has always been this healthy, hearty and happy person living his life to the fullest.
I frantically started looking for the next flight to Kerala (India) from Singapore. I just wanted to get to my dad and mom as soon as I could. But then a thought occurred to me. Would it be right to visit my dad in ICU as I could be a virus carrier? (with so many unknowns about the virus, there's always some risk, including the risk of catching the virus on the flight). Plus there was the risk of getting quarantined in either India or Singapore. With two little kids, that was definitely something to consider.
My family back in India, especially my brother and mom, reassured it to me that dad is under good care and that the best decision from my end would be to not travel at that point. With a heavy heart, I decided to not fly.
It was a tough call, but I did it thinking of the long term impacts of a seemingly simple decision to fly, ignoring the global spread of the virus. Today I know of atleast two people in my close-knit circle, who couldn't attend their own parent's funeral because of the lockdown. An unthinkable, painful situation!!!
Despite the fact that each one of us is facing the consequences of this crisis, fighting our own battles, it is surprising to see the lack of seriousness on compliance in staying at home, not meeting others, and wearing masks when stepping out.
How do we become more united globally in fighting this global crisis?
The crisis is being dealt with essentially at two levels: 1) Governments 2) Individuals. For the purpose of this article, I will be focusing on individuals because governments are nothing but a body of individuals and this whole crisis is ultimately humans vs virus.
This crisis is indeed bringing out our strengths and weaknesses as individuals, families, societies, communities and countries. In order to understand what we need to do, it is important to clearly reflect upon our strengths and weaknesses.
Sharing a few thoughts below on what could be causing lack of compliance in the fight against Covid-19:
1) Being in Denial: To be in denial is to refuse to accept that something is wrong. In psychology denial is defined as a coping mechanism to adjust to distressing or traumatic situations. As per an article from Mayo Clinic, when in denial, a person a) Won't acknowledge a difficult situation b) Try not to face the facts of a problem c) Downplay possible consequences of the issue. Therefore being in denial for long can prove harmful.
In the Covid-19 situation especially people exhibit denial by refusing to accept that one is equally vulnerable, and to understand that being healthy doesn't mean you are not a virus carrier. Such denial coupled with a deep desperation to feel normal can make people break rules, potentially harming themselves and unfortunately many other innocent people.
We display denial in varying forms and degrees. I recall, when faced with the 2018 Kerala floods, my family refused to believe
that our house will be affected. So did our neighbors and scores of other people. Even as water started flowing into our house we were in a state of denial.
Getting out of denial is extremely important to take the right action. Though you can find many articles on how to, in my experience, accepting the reality of the situation and expressing emotions openly, be it fear, anxiety or helplessness is the first step. I was the first one to do it in our famil