Locked in anxiety
It seems impossible to write about counselling without looking at the impact of Lockdown on our mental health. No doubt about it, Lockdown has raised levels of anxiety - in those of us who feel we are prone to it and those who have seldom experienced it. The call to remain alert, to be on the defensive, to come to the rescue of those at greater risk than ourselves, to save the NHS, have many of us running scared, through our streets and the supermarkets.
The fact that the media is so unrelenting doesn’t help. Without a clear strategy, the voice of doom comes pouring into our homes by the second. We are stuck in limbo, eager for numbers to fall, for guidelines to change, for a return to ‘normal’, which, we’re told, is unlikely to be as it was before.
If we're employed, we are anxious about our work, whether or not we are working from home. Many of us have a reduced income or none at all. We’re wondering if and how we are going to survive.
As parents we are concerned about the welfare and the future of our children. Some of us may be struggling with
home education and worrying over the risks involved in returning our children to school.
We may be questioning whether we’re offering the right support and care to relatives, friends and neighbours. We may resent being ordered to stay at home without contact with another soul.
We have been forced to change our way of being
As a society we have been forced to change our way of being. We have battened down the hatches and are trying to abide by a new etiquette which says that buying more than a ‘fair’ quantity of toilet roll, antiviral products, baked beans or eggs is indicative of a particular attitude.
If we're not already utilizing all forms of digital communication to keep the wolf of isolation from our door and boredom at bay, then we must 'get with it'. And if we don’t have the means or the aptitude for electronic relating? Well, then we're accused of being out-of-touch whilst forced to live without touch.
Numbers attending traditional ceremonies are reduced. Extended families are unable to meet. Parents are separated from children, grandparents from grandchildren.
And intimacy? How is this possible when we must remain apart? At best we feel challenged. Without hope we feel thwarted.
All inequalities are magnified
Separated by a 2-metre distance and afraid of touch, we are living with heightened anxiety. Distancing is tearing us asunder and all inequalities are magnified. And whilst the media hype up the ‘new normal and the ‘new economy’, some of us are asking, 'Does life have to be this way?'
It's going to take time to heal from the social implications of COVID-19 - the divided families, loneliness and loss. If you feel the need to seek counselling help, why wait to begin?