I am Karma from Bhutan. I graduated from college in 2019 with a Bachelor’s degree in English Studies. I was looking forward to the year 2020 with lots of hope and passion but the coronavirus pandemic crushed all my hopes. It became a tough situation in my life. After graduation, I was thinking about how I should proceed from there. I often wondered about the purposes, goals, and what I should make of this ‘one wild and precious life.’

In our everyday lives, we are always distracted, with or without intention. Sometimes we are too scared of reality that we turn to escapism by choosing to keep ourselves busy with little things such as watching a drama series or visiting a neighbor and gossiping about what was broadcasted in the previous episodes.

Bhutan and her people started the New Year of 2021 behind closed doors due to the second lockdown in the country; it lasted for more than a month. With so much time on our hands, we were forced to face the dark realities of our fears. I was unemployed, depressed, and unaware of many things which could have made my life easier. I found myself thinking and overthinking frequently about the purpose of life. Because I had plenty of time on my hands, all the mistakes, all of the wrong decisions, and opportunities I missed echoed through my mind day and night. I was reminded of it all and it harmed my self-esteem and it eventually held me from reaching out to my family and friends.

I totally avoided all text messages, phone calls, and video calls all due to the fear of having to talk about how I was doing. However, I was very active on social media; every day I scrolled the newsfeeds on Facebook feeling pathetic and saw all my friends and family with the green dot on the messenger but I just couldn’t talk to any of them.

This all changed when I saw on the news that the government of Bhutan was providing help for people who were mentally disturbed by the pandemic. We could make a phone call to the numbers given on the television and we could talk about the problems we were facing. Initially, I was hesitant to give it a try but I did eventually call the number.

The service was wonderful and it was like a light of hope in the darkness. I talked for hours and realized that I was feeling better. The one thing that the receiver on the phone told me that changed my life and made me feel better was when she said, “Karma, you are not alone in this. Trust me, your family and friends will be more than happy to hear you talk.” Those comforting and reassuring words were all I needed. I slowly opened up to my family and friends and they were all just there with open arms and hearts.

I am grateful to my king and government, forever and more.