I will be completely honest- in the past 6 months or so, unless there has been a major news announcement or a government press conference, I have only been getting my news from the internet aka Reddit and the BBC website. Why? Because on more than one occasion, the TV news channels have either resulted in me having genuine anxiety attacks, or I’ve plunged into feelings of despair, or hopelessness.
As of the date of this post being online, England (where I reside) is currently in it’s second lockdown since Covid-19 decided to exist, and royally bring destruction and inconvenience alike to billions of people around the world. Since this all began, I know of people whose lives have been turned upside down, and I also know of people who simply don’t believe it exists. What a world we live in.
My ambitions for 2020 were entirely based around the ultimate first world desire to get out of renting, and become a first time homeowner. At the beginning of the year, I imagined a Christmas where me and my boyfriend (Tom) for 4 years would be able to put the Christmas tree up, decorations outside, and have family round the new house. I imagined in the summer that we could have BBQ’s outside, have more than 2 people round and not feel as if we’re huddling like penguins, and plan the next stage of our life. A mini me? A wedding!?
I realise that my problems are completely minute, and to be frank- this is a huge lesson I’ve had to learn this year. There’s been many times, even recently where I’ve gotten upset over the feelings of failure, and life being miserable, and it’s like really? There’s a pandemic going on, people are losing their jobs, mental health is more of an issue than ever, people’s essential hospital appointments are being delayed, and people have lost their lives. I am really sitting here, with my job, my roof over my head, my relationship, my family, my friends, and the lack of mourning and grief- and I’m willing to sit here and wallow in my own misery?
Of course I’m entitled to- my perception of my problems are valid, and if I am feeling upset, I am allowed to feel this way. This second lockdown has really hit it home that there are things in life that are out of our control, and as someone who is a do-er, this situation have unnerved me immensely. I am already a highly emotional person, without not being able to just see my family and friends- but I am extremely lucky that I live with someone whose logical and got a great ear when I need to vent for x amount of time (I know… poor Tom).
You may or may not be able to tell by now, but the above may scream ANXIETY. I was diagnosed with Generalised Anxiety Disorder way too long ago, and to a lot of the people who know me- explains a lot right? HA!
My mental health during lockdown has generally been one of restlessness, mindlessly searching for the thing I’ll do to fill the void of failure, and when I am feeling positive- ensuring that the people in my life are okay, and that we are still good. I have had an battle in my life to not shut myself away from everyone, not because I don’t like them- but because on the contrary, I don’t feel as worthy of their kindness. As a 25 year old, I’m aware that this sounds incredibly needy, and since Covid-19 began, this has been something I’ve active been working on within myself. To give credit to myself, this is an area that was a red flag before, but when I think about it today- it’s downgraded to a solid yellow warning flag.
So as I’m sat here reflecting on what I’ve been writing about, I think that if you’re not feeling okay at the moment, if you’re feeling lonely, anxious, angry, or altogether pissed off- you have every right to be. Covid-19, and the subsequent lockdowns the world has faced is an anomaly, where the aftermath will be taxes for days, and your grandchildren learning about it in their school Humanities modules, and we are right in the epicentre of it- having to live this out. In my country alone, we’ve lost over 50,000 human lives to this virus, and thousands more are suffering emotionally and physically after contracting it themselves, or losing a loved one. At this point, we are like sitting penguins, wondering when we will finally get the cure for this to sod off.
We have no control of what happens next for our nations, but if you are sat there and wondering what to do next; check in on your loved ones, catch up with someone you haven’t spoken to in years, watch a film, eat your favourite snack- heck do whatever you want. Your mental health is what is most important.
If you are struggling to cope, and you want to speak to a confidential service, you can text Shout at 85258 (free & 24/7), or call Samaritans at 116 123 (free & 24/7).