I’ve been struggling to find anything to write for a while probably because the world seems to have so much going on it’s difficult to know where to begin. I started the year in a positive way everything seemed to be falling into place. And then we went into a lockdown.
It has been a rollercoaster. The outbreak of coronavirus has been devastating for many and to everyone who has lost someone to this virus my heart goes out to you.
Now I’m a very introverted person I like my own space and more often than not I prefer being alone. I don’t usually go out anyway so the thought of being put in a lockdown didn’t seem too difficult. But I couldn’t have been more wrong. Choosing to be alone and not go out is one thing but not having the option to is very different. It can lead to feelings of loneliness and feeling trapped especially with people that have experienced past trauma. It can bring up emotions and memories that have been suppressed for some time. Living situations can also add to stress levels and emotions as we also see that domestic abuse reports are on the rise during the lockdown which is heartbreaking to see. Like most people that deal with mental health issues structure has always been something that helps me a lot. The structure in my day to day life has now gone and I am left trying to find a routine and stick to it myself which is difficult. Being stuck with your thoughts is difficult enough as it is but suddenly I’ve found myself with all of this time to sit and think. Trying to find distractions throughout each day to take my mind off of my mind.
We are only halfway through the year at this point and so much has happened already. This is the time that we all need to come together and help each other the best we can. We may be at a distance but never underestimate the power of a phone call or a text. Check in on your friends and family. But also check in with yourself. Are you looking after yourself? Have you had enough sleep? Have you eaten and drunk enough today? Taken any medication that you need to? You are never a burden. Please reach out if you are struggling in any way. You are important and deserve just as much support as anybody else.
Everyone talks about finding a hobby during lockdown. It can be so easy to scroll through social media and see people post about everything they have been doing each day and what they have achieved but sometimes the biggest achievement is getting through another day. Try not to push yourself. It is hard and we know that, I am right there with you. Take this time to do things you love, things that bring you happiness and make you smile. I can’t count how many times I have been told by mental health professionals about mindfulness and like many others I couldn’t contemplate the idea of sitting crossed legged on the floor meditating to relaxing music. But then someone told me that mindfulness is ‘getting lost in something you enjoy’. It’s where everything else goes out of your mind just for a little while and you are completely focused on what you are doing. That could be anything as long as you love it.
There are many helplines available which I have mentioned in other posts.
As well as those there is one coping mechanism that I have found particularly helpful in times of remembering trauma. I tend to disassociate when I think of past trauma or when I am triggered by something. During these times I am disconnected from the world around me, I don’t recognise myself and everything around me feels surreal. Like I’m in a dream world. So I use this:
5- Things I can see
4- Things I can feel
3- Things I can hear
2- Things I can smell
1- Thing I can taste.
This is a grounding technique, there are many others that may help too.
I hope this has given some comfort to know that you really aren’t alone even in times you may feel it. We are in this together and we will get through this together.
Make time for yourself and stay as safe as you can in these circumstances.