Lockdown blues

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“This lockdown has shown me a plethora of uncertainties from varied growing age groups.” Roseline Gomes shares her experience of being a counsellor during this lockdown. “Each day waking up with frantic calls by youth, being accustomed to read overwhelming emails from the middle age groups and letters pouring at the door steps asking for help in buying essentials and medicines from the geriatric population,” life did not seem to be very easy at this stage for her.

“When I wore my shoes of a counselor this lockdown, and started volunteering to guide my people from the community, each day I battled with my self-esteem.” As a counselor, Roseline was all set to reach out to many but, it was definitely not a smooth ride. “Every time it was the fear of failure that grasped my peers known and unknown that led me getting into intensive practice of counselling skills.”

Roseline says that she mentored adolescents living with caretakers who constantly displaced frustration onto the young due to lack of finances, emotional dysfunctions and other unresolved personal concerns. “Children at homes were drastically burdened by the emotional and physical abuse that made them stop believing in their abilities and increased their levels of fear. It amazes me how as adults who call themselves to be caregivers of another generation that embrace the approach of sustaining, stand as hollow individuals trying to displace their insecurities to the generation that is dependent on them.”

“Each time my heart used to be submerged in disappointments after understanding narratives of senior citizens. It makes me realize how small we are as a collective entity if we cannot preserve our young and old who create our community by their skills and experiences.”

Roseline proved to be very helpful to all those adolescents who reached out to her. She slowly started to feel confident and after a while, nothing could shake her. “There are adolescents during this period of economic, personal and social shutdown who reached out to me and explained about the discrimination they are facing in the family system. Thoughts of incomplete education, failures in relationships, unemployment are already dominant in their minds and then there is added parental burdens and childhood trauma.”

“In this contextual lockdown situation, I have witnessed verbalizations of trauma, mockery of cultures, dehumanization of minority groups and abuse of many relationships. Some were spoken during the sessions and some got hidden within the four walls of mighty buildings due to fear and isolation.” Roseline also had a case that was reported to her where a caregiver brutally molested vulnerable teenagers. “I grew more fearless and started training the young and the older generation on more life skills and positive interventions.”

This lockdown also brought to her notice the discrimination of individuals due to their outer appearances. “Few of my comrades, due to their differences in facial features were related to the virus and that created havoc in their cognitions. They were our people from the North East. I approached so many of my students, colleagues, friends to talk about the real discrimination that they all were going through, but each time there were feelings of defeat.” Roseline says that the people of the North- East have truly lost their sense of belongingness and fear overpowered them. Just think for a minute of how many times an individual, a citizen of our country has been called names like, chilly chicken, fried rice, chinki and so on. We are racially discriminating people who are a beautiful part of our own country. “I then applied music, theatre as therapy and created a forum where each one could express. Gradually self-worth emerged and unfolded community integration and citizenship.”

“Today we all have become a team to fight against the trauma’s ad have started educating each other about the beauty of individuality. We will try to create a world where children, teenagers, adolescents, adults and senior citizens mentor each other in bringing out a stronger system where there is hope and not discrimination, where is communion and not hatred, where there is victory and not fear.”

– Tabitha Kumar

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