Lockdown highs and lows





Almost seven weeks into the Covid-19 lockdown and I often wake in the morning and have to re-set my mind to this new reality. My brain tries to encourage me to forget this perpetual sense of Groundhog-day and I wake with renewed hope that this has all been a dream. Of course, it hasn’t. The reality is that many people have become ill, or lost friends and family members. This virus has been brutal.    

The overwhelming fear I experienced at the start of the quarantine, has morphed into something deeper. Most of the time I can level with my thoughts and reason that if we stay at home, we’ll be safe and well. Yet, my overactive mind has other ideas. It keeps me up at night. What ifs, whys and anxieties manifest in sleepless nights and a quickened heartbeat. Worries spill over in unexpected ways – a desire to retreat inwards and hide my feelings, emotional outbursts and some days where loneliness prevails. This new ‘normal’ can be hard to accept. 

One thing I find very challenging, is being so far away from my parents. So often, in times of need, I’d readily turn to them for emotional support. Yet we literally have an ocean between us and that, right now, feels like a vast chasm. The current reality is that I’ve no idea when I will be able to see my family again. Plans we had for summer visits will remain on hold. Months will pass when I cannot visit them. My children will continue to grow whilst their grandparents cannot hug them or touch their smiling faces. The homesickness I sometimes feel is heightened and acute, yet I try to remain positive and hopeful. 

Our days have been a mix of schoolwork, exercise, hugs, eating, games, books, i-pads, Zoom calls, Fortnite, Lego and ballet. It’s a heady mix that often blends into chaos. Tempers fray and tears are shed. Yet, we are still here for each other. We know and acknowledge that this time is foreign to us all. We make allowances for behavioural slip-ups and unkind words and try to remind each other to smile and be grateful. 

Exercise has become a sanctuary for me. It’s really the only time in the day that I have space to myself and it allows me to process my thoughts and channel negativity into something more uplifting. I know everyone has different ways to release and gain head space and exercise may not be your thing. Yet, right now, for me personally, it feels good to sweat away niggling doubts and concerns.  

Whilst this period is hard, I also love spending time with my kids. There have been moments of true clarity of late. Moments when I realise that my children are growing so fast. It’s as if we’ve been given a new lens to look through, one that reveals to us more about the lives of our offspring. We see their resilience in the face of this bizarre situation, we see the way they tackle home-schooling, we see them yearning for the face to face contact of their peers and we see their unending desire for snacks!

We are living this piece of history and recording our thoughts, no matter how insignificant and rambling they may seem, is so crucial. I’ve loved reading posts on social media, detailing how people are spending their days. I’ve taken comfort from poetry and reading a variety of texts and I’ve laughed out loud at hilarious memes that show us the importance of humour in the face of adversity. This patchwork of documentation makes for a colourful record of this time and I hope it will provide us with solace and reflection in years to come. 

CONVERSATION

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