How have you been? Like really, how have you been? How have you been coping in these uncertain times? Are you scared? Are you lost? Are you anxious? Or are you happy? Are you grateful? Are you at peace?

So many times, we go about our lives asking and being asked this question: How are you?

Most of us would probably answer with an “I’m OK” or “I’m good. How bout you?” And get another “OK lah. So, so” reply. So much so that, we might have unconsciously bring this attitude home with us. Not to our family, but to ourselves. Our true home. And we no longer know how we are doing; how are we feeling? Inside, it’s all just a bunch of “What to do next?”

One of the positive side effects of being forced to stay at home is the amount of solitude and reflective time we have on our hands – honestly, it’s unprecedented. It’s like an intensive 1-month retreat, but with Netflix. In Malaysia, it’s been 6 weeks (started 18th March 2020) since we started our Movement Control Order (MCO).

I’d like to take this opportunity to encourage all of us to take some time and reflect honestly. No need to pretend or give a ‘nice’ answer. Just think of it as having a conversation with your best friend on a windy day, sipping your favourite cup of beverage – and really wanting to know all about their lives and how they have been. The only difference is, your best friend is you, yourself! ๐Ÿ˜‰  Got your drink in hand? Ready?

1. So, how have you been?

How have you been coping?
How have you been living?
How has this situation affect you and your life?
Are you angry? Are you sad? Are you lonely?
Tell me. Tell me everything you’ve been through.
Tell me what you’re facing every day.
Do you feel guilt? Or shame?
Whatever it is, it’s OK.
It’s natural.
Don’t be afraid.
Take your time.
I’m listening.
You’re OK.
It’ll all be OK.

2. What do you plan to do?

Is there something that you need to do but have been putting it aside?
What is it?
Is something holding you back?
Are you scared? It’s OK if you are. I’m here for you.
What help do you need to get started?
Is there someone you can call?
Is there something you really want to try? Let’s try! Let’s go for it.
It doesn’t need to be big. Baby steps will do.
Whatever you can manage is good enough.
Trust yourself. You got this!

3. What do you wish to say?

Is there something you’re holding inside your heart?
Maybe deep down, you really wish things were different?
Or do you wish you were different?
What is it?
You can tell me.
Here, you can whisper in my ear.
Take your time. Gently let it come out.
It’s all good. You’ll be OK.
You’ll feel much better after this, I promise.

Many of us are going through what you are going through. You are not alone. There is no shame in admitting what you are going through. It’s natural and it’s OK. Honesty is the only policy. You’ll get through this, just like you’ve always had.

And…if you do need to reach out to someone, that’s not weakness. That’s smart! That’s kind. That’s loving yourself. So, if you ever feel like you need someone to talk to, whether in a crisis or not, reach out to someone. No one will know if you don’t speak up. Just send a text to your best friend. Journal, if it helps. Or you can call Befrienders Malaysia here. Or maybe drop a comment here if you’d like. We have a bunch of very supportive readers on this site. Whatever you do, just don’t drown in it. Don’t give up on yourself, k? Here’s a little song for you, if you’re going through tough times – or not. It’s a great song. Send this to someone who needs to read this.

{Article #11}