Monday, 5 April 2021

Our anxieties coming out of lockdown: BRiC's Collective Voice


The topic for a recent Sunday night’s discussion suggested by our lovely Anita Traynor, focused on how we feel about, ‘coming out of lockdown’. Naz led the discussion by sharing her personal reflections as we explored our thoughts and opinions on the topic.

Lockdown has played an important part in protecting our well-being and in doing so it’s also ‘over-protected’ our social life and social connections as well as our relationship with the outside world. Anxiety about whether it will ever be the same again, anxiety about whether we will hit another wave and go back into lockdown, the fear of whether we will be exposed too much and become vulnerable, and anxiety about social interactions and how they will 'look'. A lot of us have changed the way we work and study, so there is the uncertainty hanging over what it will look and feel like should we go back to the way 'things were'.

Some of our members had mixed feelings about all this, whilst many of us felt a nervousness, some members actually were not anxious, as all they seemed to hear was how scared people are. There was a common understanding around this as it has been one ‘heck’ of a year and the situation is set to continue for some while yet, as described by a majority of us.

Many of our ladies have made plans and need the ‘taste’ of normality in order to look forward to the future with optimism.

A number of our members have become much more solitary and the loneliness has had a significant impact on our mental health and well-being, we acknowledged similar feelings when we went through our breast cancer journey, however we found that trying new things like meditation, arts and crafts, experiencing the beauty of nature has helped us cope better.

We are worried about resuming ‘normal’ life as some of us don’t wish to go back to how busy life was before the pandemic, and have made firm decisions to learn to say ‘no’ to too many social engagements, as many of us are most comfortable and safe in our own homes and familiar surroundings.

Some of us who are keyworkers have travelled to work throughout the lockdown despite restrictions in place. Seeing patients has been tough for nurses; the anxiety around having to start organising clinics for patients and the fear of how safe we may feel is going to be a challenge.

Many of us are excited and looking forward to seeing our families, friends and colleagues. We yearn to hug our nearest and dearest, the laughter, the touch, the sharing of emotions and face-to-face meetings. However it may not come naturally and may take some time to adjust to a ‘new normal’.

The sadness around not being able to be with others during their hour of need, not being able to be together at funerals to support each other and missing many milestone events like, weddings, birthdays, new babies, graduations and the list goes on. But we have been fortunate enough to have had the internet technology we have nowadays, which has let us connect with our loved ones and mark these occasions differently.

We sometimes bounce between two opposite views. Sometimes we are desperate to get back out into the wider world, eating in the restaurants, travel, theatre, going to the cinema, seeing friends and on the other hand we feel anxious about whether we will ever feel safe in these types of surroundings.

Whilst some of have had the option of working from home, we now fear the pressures of employers wanting us to return back into the office. We are experiencing negative thoughts, like, will I be safe? Would they accept me? Can I still do the job? We need to be open, honest and share how we are feeling, which can be a challenge, so therefore circumstances make us feel trapped.

The rollout of the vaccination programme which is in place gives us hope and a sense of protection, that our fears will subside in time, as we learn to live with the virus and also have some kind of freedom to do what we enjoy.

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