The Reality of Lockdown

Tara from our High Intensity and Lighthouse Team, shares her thoughts on the reality of lockdown. Read the full blog post below…

As lock down began, I was full of good intentions, I mean let’s face it, enforced time at home (I had wished for this so many times whilst busy in the rat race) lots of pyjama wearing, virtual socialisation- I could choose to switch off or ignore at the press of a button! (selfish maybe, but still a control often craved for) Time to find myself, I thought, learn an instrument? Learn a new language? Deep clean my home?

Quality time with my other half, so many opportunities, so much time to enjoy.

Long soaks in the bath, endless self-care activities, basically the Queen in my own castle. 

Of course, I was concerned about “the virus” however, that was happening and I could do my bit by staying home. Simple?

The reality of my lockdown has been somewhat different to my imagined ideals…

I work in a stressful job, supporting people in crisis, who are suicidal and have enduring mental health issues.

Difficult at the best of times, even more challenging in lockdown.

We underestimate being present in a room with a person experiencing distress, being able to hold the space, being aware of each other’s facial expressions, making them a cup of tea, giving them another time to come and speak and be listened to. It maybe seems strange but the benefit of being able to see someone is listening to you, far outweighs a phone call.

So in reality, 32 hours of my week are consumed by working at home, no office comradery, no journey to or from work (which in itself, to me, is therapeutic) that signifies the beginning  and the end of my working day.

Some shifts I do daytime; some shifts I do evenings-juggling the two, allowing for meals and sleep can be tricky.

I often feel stressed at work and look forward to being off, then being off is stressful so I look forward to work. And so it goes on.

You see, virtual socialisation seems easy in theory, however when you are the head of a family with their own complex needs, a new Grandson, who should be being passed around family and friends, a child in uni, having to forfeit their graduation, but hearing tales of drunken pub goers and protest rallies.

Lost loved ones, I will never ever forget having to stand at the bottom of my sisters drive, watch her sob in the road, alone, at the loss of her young son, my first born nephew, and not be allowed to throw my arms round her, and bathe her in her families love and warm touch.

His brothers, his Dad, his wife, his children, his friends rendered powerless to express emotion or hold each other. 

Orchestrating virtual meetings, quizzes, birthday celebrations, and sincere condolences from a screen.

I look at my shoes, my favourite brown boots, recalling when I had the last chance to wear them; instead my sweaty squashed slippers, my feet grateful for the non-constraint, the fuel in my car seems to last 10 times longer, whilst the hugs  at the end of those car journeys seem a million miles away.

In reality I have watched the complete series of Vikings, endless Vicar of Dibley, 13 Reasons Why, Taboo, most of Game of Thrones (it’s a work in progress) and at least 50 full length films I would not normally bat an eye lid at.

My long soaks in the bath have turned into “have I got time for a shower?”

I’m not going anywhere, a quick wash with a few baby wipes will do for now.

Not being able to do a lot of things has increased my enjoyment of disarano, or Malibu, or wine, or whatever it is that gets me through really.

Pjs are elasticated, my waist is thankful for that, as for daily exercise, I’ve had two walks round the block, and one small stroll along the steps at Silloth pre-ice cream is my claim to keeping fit since all of this began.

The days roll into one, it takes me ages to work out what day I am in, at least in Groundhog Day Bill Murray gets to leave the house!

I don’t miss going shopping, I don’t miss social gatherings per say, and I count myself lucky I have someone at home to hug. 

Trying to support your family from home, without them, is interesting at best, five-way conversations, watching my family change by photos and videos. 

The “easing” has been a whole new set of s**t shows; pubs can open, snooker clubs can’t. 

I can’t go visit my family, but I can sit in a park, or can I? DO I have to keep moving? I am really not sure anymore. 

When we are allowed out, do we want to go back to “normal” do we have the capacity to? 

As I sit here thinking of how I would fair as Lagatha, the Viking queen, in Scandinavia, and patiently wait to see what, as a citizen of a free country, I am allowed or not allowed to do, with the added “what is acceptable to everyone else?” 

While we all jumble along trying to “do the right thing” I will leave my brown boots by the front door, until I feel it is well and just for me to interact with this fractured world. 

Pubs, parks, cinemas, weddings, funerals, parties. 

Films, TV, alcohol, pjs, work, food. 

Can we go on holiday? Yes? So we can leave the county; but I’m not yet permitted to hug my adult children. Where is the sense in that? 

I have no clue how long I have been in lockdown, I can’t speak any new words never mind a new language. 

I can still play the penny whistle; I haven’t started to consider a new instrument. 

I might have a soak in the bath tomorrow… Or the next day. 

Is my home spotless? No, far from it. 

I am here, and I’m managing best I can. 

If there is a second wave, if we have a second lockdown, I’m ready.