This has been the worst year I remember in all my 63 years of partying and struggling on this planet.
Fortunately I haven’t minded the lockdowns, I’m a natural recluse (or perfect writer-type) and I’ve been mainly alone for most of my life anyway. I’m married, but my family are mainly dead or stopped speaking 30-40 years ago, and my husband’s lovely family are in New Zealand. His choice not theirs.
The thing that’s worried me greatly has been an underlying message about mental health, especially that of younger people, and I don’t feel it’s been either positive or helpful for them. Nor do I feel that the message has been particularly helpful to adults.
Focus is Everything
Firstly we need to draw the distinction between clinical mental health issues, severe mental health issues – such as PTSD, and everyday issues. It’s the everyday issues I’m talking about in this blog, I’m not qualified in the others and having had one small example of PTSD I can tell you I never want to encounter that ever again.
So the focus here is everyday life in a pandemic, with non-clinical, non-severe anxiety. I’m trying to catch people before they fall into those categories.
Is that it’s been a terrible time, true, especially for those who have been ill and/or lost a loved one. It’s also been tremendously difficult for those who have lost jobs, businesses, and still have a lot of worry going forward as to whether they will keep their homes, etc, if they can’t return to work.
For those with disabilities and the clinically vulnerable it has been a miserable time of hiding indoors because you’re on the high risk list, not getting much fresh air and not seeing family and friends. Technology helps of course, and we are blessed to have it, but nothing replaces a real hug.
For young people at school and university it has been difficult, and I’m going to share a separate blog to go into the focus on their situation, but their lives won’t be affected by this as is popularly thrown around, to their detriment.
It’s All Just Terrible and No One Can Cope
That’s the message I’m objecting to. The media are hammering the idea that the public can’t cope with what’s going on. Those alone and vulnerable aren’t able to cope with not seeing family, people in nursing homes and care homes can’t cope, people unable to see their loved ones when they pass can’t cope. People already suffering from mental health issues can’t cope. Children can’t cope not being at school. Young people can’t cope with the disruption to their education, or their university experience. NHS staff can’t cope. The elderly can’t cope. And on and on and on and on.
If you think about it this country is doing a sterling job of coping, and I would image that others are too. Yes all the things above matter, but even if you’re struggling, if you’re keeping going then you are coping and you should be immensely proud of yourself. There seems to be an attitude nowadays that says that feeling hurt, feeling overwhelmed, feeling anxious, feeling frightened, and so on, means that you aren’t coping, and that isn’t true.
I was crippled by acute anxiety for over 22 years undiagnosed, and a further few before I beat it, except for normal situations that would make anyone anxious. Yet I’m here, which means I coped. It hurt so much, but I’m here, I got through it. So are you.
Not knowing what to do, or how you’re going to get through this situation, fearing for the future, being anxious and hurt by this situation, they’re all horrible, but you’re still standing. Someone needed to write something to remind you of that.
If You’re Really Not Coping
Don’t feel upset with yourself, each experience is unique and one size of idea doesn’t fit all. What I would say is, that perhaps in reading this, you might realise that you are doing well, that what you’re feeling is appropriate under the circumstances.
Remember though that doing well when you’re feeling great is completely different to doing well against the odds. People often think they’re not doing well because their measuring upset, unhappy, and frightened, against a good time when everything is going swimmingly.
I’ve lost track of the clients who have given me a huge list of upsetting events, and then told me they’re stupid to feel as anxious and lost as they do. I won’t put the reply I normally use here as it’s not exactly PC, but it does make them smile, all I will say is that I offer a short-sharp reality check and tell them how much I admire them for the way they have coped. Because I do. They usually go out with their heads held high realising how incredible they are.
I wish I could do that for each and every one of you who are not feeling that you’re coping at the moment.
Can I Help?
As you know I’m not given to promoting my work on this blog, it’s an offering of help. However, these are unusual times and many are struggling, and I’d like to offer you some positive support if you, or anyone you know, needs it.
I run spiritual mindset groups where we study a huge range of things that help us to a) have a more positive focus on life, and b) build a library of our own techniques to help us navigate life. We also dip into the world of spiritual work if that’s appropriate to any particular group. But my spiritual background was self-help first, and “What the heck this world is full of miracles” second.
So, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org (via this blog) if you’re interested in working with me, I am slightly crazy and given to simplifying things and making them as easy to deal with and humorous as possible, you have been warned. At the moment the groups are doing a happiness project that is going down rather well and proving extremely useful. I also take people through that 1-2-1.
Hang in there, this will end. If you’re still struggling along then pat yourself on the back and respect your courage. Remember that hurting doesn’t equal not coping. Most importantly…
The economic situation is driven by the pandemic, it’s not a sign that any country is collapsing, and there’s no reason that once things pick up, life shouldn’t return to normal or better.
I would imagine that the airlines will be booked years ahead with people wanting to go on holiday, visit family and friends, or get their businesses up and running. Those airports, the planes, the products, the goods, they will all be needed again and they will need workers to provide them.
I’m holding positive intentions for us all of better, better, and fantastic.
To your happiness