Know Someone In A Toxic Domestic Situation, Currently In Self-Isolation?
I started by writing this as an open letter to someone with a toxic domestic situation, who’s having to stay indoors in these times. But, as I began, I realised that it may not directly reach those who I wanted to speak to. If I were stuck in a home where I was unhappy, or getting hurt, I’d not be browsing the Internet for letters addressed to people like me, because I’d feel helpless. Helpless and humiliated that somebody has decided to commodify my misery.
My heart goes out to all those people - women, children, men, the elderly - having to self-isolate in these times. From their immediate reality to the reality of the world at large, they would not be able to find any respite. Or hope. Imagine waking up in a home you itch to leave, even if just for a few minutes, even if, just on the pretext of buying daily needs, and not being able to do that. Imagine not knowing how long this would last.
The teenager or young adult whose budding sense of self is tied to experiences outside of the home.
The woman with an abusive husband.
The man burdened by emotional trouble he doesn’t have the vocabulary for.
The elderly who find solace in the brief company of neighbours their age.
The ones living with a sexual abuser.
The ones in a loveless marriage.
The ones on the verge of a divorce.
The anxious who’ve been triggered.
The depressed who might’ve plunged into a place darker than before.
The suicidal ones.
In the last few days that we've been observing social distance, I've been thinking of all the people all over the world living in houses, but not homes, not alone, but lonely. Some, alone, too. I want to tell them they've not been forgotten. But, something tells me not too many will click on a headline that takes them to that painful place they wish away. If at all they're online, they're probably trying to distract themselves or haplessly looking for help. Not open fucking letters.
So, if you know someone in a toxic domestic situation in these trying times, be that distraction or the help they seek.
Here are all the ways you can make them feel better on a video call:
By simply talking to them.
By having a virtual meal or cup of tea with them.
By playing a game with them.
By showing them something - a new recipe, the project you're working on, your kids or partner, your roommate, your parents.
Check on them daily
A simple text can make them feel less lonely and scared.
Ask them to help you with something
This will make them feel valued, and give them something to look forward to.
Urge them to join a fitness challenge with you
You workout together, just in separate geographical locations. Fix a time. Find an online class, and get your daily exercise together.
Whenever possible, visit them
Even if you spend just fifteen minutes with them, it will bring something positive - a distraction in the very least - into their day.
Lastly, make yourself accessible
Now is the time to keep your phone on loud, and Internet on top speed so you're accessible at all times, and not just for those in toxic domestic situations. But, for everyone in your life who you love.
It's my appeal to you - don't forget the ones who already feel forgotten. It takes something as little as a text to let them know you're thinking of them. Send that text.
If nothing comes to mind, or if you've not spoken to them in a while and it feels awkward to send a text, copy paste the following:
Thinking of you. Hope you're well. Sending lots of love your way.