Covid-19. Week 2 of Isolation. Feeling Isolated.

I’ve found it tough this week, I can’t lie. I have been thinking about all the people suffering, the people working so hard to keep us safe (my husband being one) and I’ve been thinking about my kids and home-schooling and their lack of interaction with friends and family. I’m going a little stir crazy, stuck with my own thoughts for company and there have been lots of tears this week too. The tears bring guilt because I am lucky, really lucky and I know these tears stem from a deeper place, the isolation is a trigger.

I have suffered with anxiety in the past, dehabilitating at its worst but over the years I have learnt to deal with this successfully. My trigger is this fear of being alone and it always has been. Alone with my own thoughts or alone physically, it doesn’t seem to matter. I am most definitely a sharer. I like to talk and I cannot hide my emotions.

Don’t laugh, but I have a really close relationship with my parents and my siblings and no joke, if I hear that I will be away from them for a prolonged period of time I panic. This is learned behaviour – obviously I would be fine. And I am absolutely fine if my husband is with me too I should add, he is my safety blanket, my security. But right now, I feel alone because when he goes to work, risking his health at the moment (more normally his life as a Police Officer). I can’t run to my sisters for support or turn up at Mum’s for a cuppa and a cuddle. And I can’t rely on my brothers to take the piss out of me for doing this either. My whole family is aware of my neediness.

When my husband goes to work, my anxiety bubbles up, what if this, what if that, what if I start to feel anxious and I have no-one to run to!? By which time I feel anxious already and I am alone. How selfish! How could I feel like this when I am the one safe in my house, with my health, a warm bed to sleep in and food in my cupboards?

I am really grateful for my home comforts and our safety whilst others are facing the impossible so my anxiety contradicts this and I should be able to fight it and make it disappear. but I can’t, not always.

So instead I try to throw myself into various tasks at home. Home-schooling for instance. I said I was alone but I do have my two young children with me – they won’t be burdened with Mummy’s anxiety though it gets buried until they are busy or asleep (unless, like this week, it rears its head unexpectantly and I blame hayfever or contact lenses for the red eyes!)

My book shelf has been fixed and my washing is up to date for once. And because my business has been quiet I have managed to clean every day – to an extent – always ensuring I leave a job for tomorrow! I also have a part time lecturing job. I throw myself into this a couple of days a week, with conference calls and Zoom lectures. This is a welcome distraction. I haven’t yet succumbed to learning to cook. This is most defintely my husband’s domain, who cooks for me every day and is very much appreciated for this. But I have baked some Betty Crocker cakes and obviously we’ve done lots of crafts together lately too.

Distraction – that’s what my therapy is, that and meditation, yoga and exercise and a nice juicy apple or orange (seriously – this cheers me up!)

I’m not too sure why I felt the urge to share all of this. I think that perhaps I am eager to share because I am lonely?! But also, because our mental health is so important too. I feel extremely lucky to be safe in my home and I am eternally grateful for the keyworkers fighting for our lives.

We should look after each other by being kind, sharing and looking after ourselves too. My husband often says to me “do you need a hot chocolate?” because once, in one of my darker times, it made me feel so loved and safe, it was special. So maybe that’s what we should all do; find our hot chocolate and take a moment to ourselves so we can look after one another.
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I needed distracting last night and as I took my bin bag out my neighbour popped his head around his door. He mentioned he didn’t have any credit on his phone to ring his daughters so I combined my daily exercise with a trip to top up my elderly neighbour’s phone card. The phone card came on a run with me (I ran so fast I pulled a muscle in my bum, which made my kids laugh at least). He was so grateful and didn’t want to ask for help. He also said he felt like he was in prison, so I went to my garden with the kids and we chatted with him through the fence – at a distance, you could tell his spirits had lifted slightly as the kids called his name from their trampoline, so we will do this again today and maybe we will draw him some pictures too. This is a distraction but also a pleasure to look out for those most vulnerable and lonely. We are lucky.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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Events prior to this awful virus had us reminding each other to #bekind to one another, so let’s do that. Check in on our friends, family, neighbours and support one another.

Look after yourselves too, find your hot chocolate. xxx⠀⠀⠀⠀

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