I don’t want to write today

because I have no words
that can easily replace
resting my hands on your waist
as we fall asleep.
Or how it feels to be grazed
by your stubble,
as we shrug off our slumber.

And I don’t want to write to you today,
no messages or little laughs on text.
Because there are no words
to give me what I’d like right now.
A hug, a hand held, a cheek pecked.

So there,
I don’t want to talk.
I don’t want to communicate.
Not with my words.
I am fed up of their inadequacy.
And I so desperately wish
you could kiss me
to shut me up right now,
and spare me the disappointment
of capturing this in words,
only to fail all over again.

Today

This morning, I roll over
out of bed,
dragging feet into a kitchen
to fix myself a cup of tea.

It’s early enough
to suck in fresh, cool air,
replacing the mentholated one
that I quit.

Grey speckled birds rustling leaves,
high above swept streets.
Coriander growing in the earthen pot,
threads of it tangling,
like my words when I try
to capture what you make of me.
You water, I twine.
Tendering in kind.

The roots don’t truly
feel like mine.

72 days

Of living in this new normal
Of sleeping with a racing heart,
difficult to quieten, to murmur to sleep.
Shhhh, I soothe, but…

It beats on, as time bleeds
like water on ink, sinking
into the pages of an empty calendar.
One day, two days, three days, four.
A week, a month…
and then one moment, I realised
I was not counting any more.

Counting days, nor goals,
nor things to look forward to.
How long until…? How long?
Hardly bearing this agony of waiting
for turbulences to smoothen.
Seeming so futile,
like smearing a crinkled sheet
trying to clean it of crevices.

I weep.

Weeping at the reality of screens
for work, for love, for everything in between.
My eyes are tired of the ‘almostness’
of granulated faces.
We must make do, at least we have these
pixels and echoes of sound
to convince ourselves we are not alone.
We must continue the grand deception,
for work, for love, for everything in between.

And in that between,
a despondence settling in.
Unpacking and unlayering itself
on my bedroom floor,
hanging in the air, wafting through the door.
How long are you visiting? How long?
Please leave. Go on…

I know not where it’ll go,
or who it’ll visit next ,
but I cannot entertain this guest.

A monthly mourning

Once a month, I get on a bus travelling
four hundred and eighteen kilometres,
to.

To cigarettes, coffee and sex in the morning
Sunlight filtering through orange curtains
Bike rides down empty streets
Hot and humid weather
Sunsets, beaches and unshakeable sand.
Sitting by windows, stealing wine drunk kisses
and tracing circles on the back of your hand.
Walking dirt paths to a hazy periwinkle view
To a reprieve from what I left,
to what’s been missing,
to you.

And then once a month, I get on a bus travelling
four hundred and eighteen kilometres,
away.

Only to do it all over again,
in another thirty days.

Each time, a mourning ritual.
A mourning for when things were simpler.
When there was no dread of missing you,
before I’ve even left.
When there was no counting of
how many hours we have left.

It is a loss meant to be mourned.
It must.
And mourned it is.
Each and every month.

Sixteen notes to self (in lockdown)

1. Get up earlier instead of right in time for your first zoom meeting/call for the day.

2. Shower when water is available. DO NOT PUT IT OFF. Or you’ll ruin your whole day, sitting cranky and feeling gross.

3. Move. Dance to music, walk, fold that pile of laundry, anything to get you moving.

4. Do NOT sit in bed all day and night. It gets old really fast and makes you feel miserable/sick. Sit up in that comfy chair in the corner instead.

5. Do something you like (apart from binge watching your three streaming services).

6. When being productive feels like too much, just do three things and call it a day. Any three things. Draft an email. Pay a bill. Write a report.

7. Spend some time away from screens. You’ll get sick of your devices.

8. Spend some time in silence. You don’t need constant background noise.

9. Keep track of the date and the day of the week. Don’t get lost in the seamless stream of time passing at home.

10. Fix yourself something comforting to eat. Make that egg and cheese sandwich. Cook the pasta al dente, simmer the sauce.

11. Breathe. 1,2,3,4…1,2,3,4…1,2,3,4….1,2,3,4…

12. Talk (so you can remember the sound of your voice, at least). Make the phone and video calls.

13. Play games. Things don’t have to be so dire and serious all the time.

14. Find the humour in your situation as if you’re in a sitcom. You don’t laugh because things are going well for the characters.

15. Engage your mind. There are so many things to soak in. Poetry. Art. Books. Reading material. Creating and learning is what makes you feel alive.

16. Whatever-it-is will pass.

Challenges shifting to online therapy

Since the lockdown, many therapists are now having to work online but are also facing challenges in the process (as are their clients). It’s important to acknowledge them as well as reflect on how they affect the therapeutic relationship and process.

adapting therapy to online modes

Therapy is ideally in person but due to accessibility issues, relocation of either therapists or clients, and situations like the current pandemic, it is necessary to adapt therapy to online platforms. These are some things to keep in mind when going online and adapting therapy to online modes: your approach, the type of concerns clients are coming in with, softwares, and guidelines to give clients in online therapy.

Sources: Introduction to Technology-Assisted Services (iCall, MHI, TISS) and Shifting to Online Therapy (Hank Nunn Institute) webinars

online therapy- considerations for therapists working online

A lot of therapists and their clients have had to shift to online therapy during the pandemic, including me. All my work used to be in person so working online is new to me.

Attending webinars on online therapy was helpful in knowing what to consider as a therapist before beginning to work online with my existing clients. This sketchnote sums up my main takeaways.

Sources: Introduction to Technology-Assisted Services (iCall and TISS) , Shifting to Online Therapy (Hank Nunn Institute)

Mental Health Concerns during the COVID-19 Lockdown

Due to the lockdowns, people are facing mental health concerns which are specifically related to the pandemic. Here are a few things they are experiencing and bringing to therapy.

Source: This sketchnote is based on what I’ve seen firsthand as a therapist and what I learned in a webinar called ‘Introduction to Technology- Assisted Services’ by i Call and Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS).

Remember, social media is nothing but pseudo-reality…glitter yet dust.

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