Monday 4th May 2020

I keep telling myself that I’m OK

Lockdown is weird.  The social isolation doesn’t really bother me as much as it does others.  I learnt to enjoy my own company many years ago.  If I need a social fix, I can phone someone, or read Facebook updates.

Yet, there’s this weird background stress that comes in ebbs and flows.  Some days, I’m able to enjoy my isolation and get a ton of things done.  Other days the uncertainty is overwhelming.  I find myself becoming negative.  I want to retreat.

The stress never really goes away, but it’s always in the next room over.  Sometimes you can make yourself forget that.  Other times, it’s all you can think of.

I find myself getting incredibly angry at people who trivialise what’s going on.  There are those that want lockdowns to end, and to prioritise economies over welfare.  This isn’t a balanced approach on how best to get through the next few months, these are people who just believe it’s their right to get a haircut.  I fucking want to punch these people – they make me so fucking mad.  It’s all I can do to stop myself engaging on social media and telling them what cunts they are.

It’s things like this that remind me of this silent stress we’re all under.  I constantly check in with my mental health.  Just as you might take your temperature to make sure you’ve not developed a fever, I find myself regularly asking myself if I’m OK.

I always tell myself that I have it better than most.  I’m healthy, got food on the table, and a roof over my head.  I’m learning to not take that as an answer though.  It’s too easy to dismiss what you’re feeling as no worse than others.

I have personal worries though.  They seem selfish in the big scheme of things, but they are still valid.  The post pandemic world seems like one that suits me so I feel positive on that, but I do worry that as we move into a new age, maybe what I’m writing is now irrelevant?  How does that play into my personal aims?  I’m not eating as well as I could.  Will I be able to lose the weight I’ve gained?  Will I fence again soon?

I genuinely believe I’m doing as well as I can.  I’m using displacement activities to keep myself occupied and away from sources of stress.  I’ve stopped checking news more than a couple of times a day.

As a result, some days I’m really productive and positive.  I’m getting things done, putting lockdown to good use.  But other days, I feel depressed and  just want to shut out the world.  I’ve told myself that either is acceptable.  We’re living in historic times and I take it day by day.

The mental health challenges from this outbreak will be felt for years to come, although I suspect we won’t know the full scale of this other silent epidemic for quite some time.

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