For once, I’m not referring to the word you might expect to fall out of my potty mouth. Sadly.
I’ve wanted to write a post for a while now, but the world is already overflowing with coronavirus chat, and I’m very mindful of not wanting to add to all the anxiety. But writing is, and always will be, what I do to work through tough times. And, let’s face it, tough is a fucking understatement right now.
It’s really hard to know what to say for the best in this situation, so, as always, I’m just going to be honest. Just know that I have never considered, struggled to articulate myself and re-read a blog post more than this one.
I’m scared, guys. No-one knows what is going to happen with this pandemic, when it will come to an end, and what life will look like when that happens. When this first started kicking off, I was consumed by this fear. So many thoughts to try and deal with all at the same time, and all of them terrifying; What if Rex falls ill? If Eamo and I fall ill at the same time, who will look after Rex? Will Rex be ok? Will Eamo be ok? Will my family and friends be okay? Can we still work? Can we pay our mortgage? Will we lose our home?
But always back to: Will Rex be ok?
All these thoughts culminated last week in a total meltdown. My brain could just no longer cope with all the fear and worry, and it’s like it just short circuit. I followed my two-year-old’s lead and, instead of trying to be rational, I sat on the floor at home, alone, and cried in a way I haven’t for a long time.
I gave myself that time, to acknowledge how I was feeling, and confided in my family and friends. If there’s one thing I’ve learnt since suffering with postnatal depression, it’s that saying how you feel helps. Even if you’re terrified to hear it out loud.
I still feel scared. Every day this goes on, I worry about what the future holds. But I am managing, for the most part, to cope with that fear by focussing on what I can do to make things for my family and the overall situation better.
Social media for good
I’ve always tried to use social media for good. By and large I share things that will either make people laugh or smile. If I see something I don’t like, I ignore it or unfollow. I don’t share things that I don’t know to be true or which might send a message of negativity. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not perfect, but I always try, as best I can, to use social media for good.
The world is gripped by this outbreak, and I can see why and how people think they are being helpful by sharing the brutal truth about it. Before my meltdown, I would scroll through my social media feeds, convinced I needed to know every bit of news as it happened. And I was overcome with people sharing real-life accounts of coronavirus; doctors and hospitals in Italy being overwhelmed, death tolls rising etc. And then my brain shut down, and so did the majority of my social media usage.
When I think about who I’m connected to on social media, it’s mostly my friends and family. People I have a close relationship with and who know the current state of the world and are acting accordingly. Am I helping anyone by sharing a harrowing account inside an Italian hospital? Will that help anyone prepare for what might be coming our way? So we can sit at home feeling even more terrified than we already do? In my opinion, no. It certainly doesn’t help me. Call that what you will, stupidity, ignorance, whatever. I call it survival.
I now limit myself to the news once a day (mainly Boris chat), and the WHO website for any situation reports. I don’t look at FB (other than to post something) and I have started unfollowing accounts that add to my anxiety (it’s nothing personal, it just means our coping mechanisms are not aligned). And from my accounts, when I do use them, expect nothing other than love, humour and positivity, because the world needs as much of that shit as it can get right now.
Social distancing – just fucking do it!
One of my biggest fears about this whole situation is that we have to rely on other people to do the right thing. And it’s hard to put your trust in others when, for some baffling reason, there’s still some people in society who think they’re exempt from social distancing, that they are somehow invincible to this disease?
I forget who it was who said ‘be proud of the part you’re playing in the battle against this disease’ on the news earlier. But it struck a chord. And all I am going to say is if you think your actions will have no affect on this situation, please take a minute to reconsider your approach. How we all behave over the next few months will mean the difference between life and death. Please don’t ignore or underestimate the part you have to play.
I wanted to end this post by saying that as much as I feel scared, I also cling to the fact that every time I have been tested, and I mean really tested, nine times out of ten I surprise myself (in a good way). Human beings have proved time and time again that they can show incredible resilience in the face of adversity, which gives me a huge amount of faith in humanity (panic buyers/toilet roll hoarders excluded).
Finally, to anyone out there in the dark, feeling scared, feeling alone, feeling hopeless, feeling vulnerable, I want to reassure you that your feelings are very valid. And that it’s not an overreaction or dramatic to feel overwhelmed by what’s happening, it’s a hugely scary and anxious time. But for all the uncertainty in the world, what is sure is that none of us are alone in this situation and we will get through it, together. <3