I had almost ‘prepared’ myself for these unprecedented times

Written on 01/12/2020 12:00 am

Contribution by Warren Farley

Despite carrying a serious and diagnosed mental health condition I can truthfully declare I am coping with the ramifications of this present pandemic rather well, thank you.

It is not because I am ‘mad’ and hence oblivious! It is because I can grasp the pandemic (and particularly ‘lockdown’) It has been an opportunity for personal pause, growth, reflection and healing.

From out of years of once deep pessimism I had almost ‘prepared’ myself for these unprecedented times: ‘Nothing’, almost to that, which a person I have previously endured. And to have already reached a point where I could re-assess my existence in better mental health (during the lockdown). Once this would have caused me great anguish – everything closed in the High Street, some psychiatric facilities worryingly curtailed by Covid.

Yes, I was now in a more positive frame of mind. ‘Lockdown’ could not break me however grave it might be for the nation. Through my circumstances I had no employment to be furloughed away from and state benefits were still received. Personal finances were not an issue.

So little of my life altered…… well, there was those closed public libraries and the coffee shops in which I once spent many a creative hour engrossed by what I do best – writing! But then this can be done anywhere, even in the great pause, there is the familiarity of home.

I am realistic too. I detest cooking for myself (cafes shut). I am no chef. And often I stayed in bed just too long for my liking or comfort. As a single man there was nobody in the flat to perhaps motivate me. I was, however, aptly and most gratefully supported by the caring lady from my local voluntary services organisation. A welcome voice twice each week to make me feel still involved, connected and wanted. The representatives of the charity which houses me also telephones, and not least I would call my Mother. I was not alone, never being in a crisis mentally or emotionally. Sadly, I hear that some were.

But I am learning to be content in any situation. And as I informed younger people from the start – This is not as bad a threat as a Nuclear war! And privately, as ones’ inner past.

I was relatively free to walk outdoors, shop, exercise, and observe the phenomenon. My creative writing has seen improvement during this time. I composed poetry; I could really think!

When Coronavirus departs as history, gone from the air and all surfaces of the world (perhaps this will be in the Spring of 2021), I can understand from it not only others tragedy but dare I say ‘hope’. I want to be a published author in that Covid free new world. It can’t be just like the past, or my sad past.

I can come to value being alive having survived the pandemic and my own mental health needs. I can realize today the dreadful psychological toll that it has had upon so many human beings. It can humble me. Nobody I know has died of Covid – 19.

Conversely, had the pandemic not brought out the best in other people too? Helping, caring and supporting in a love and concern for one’s neighbour? I remembered that the NHS is so very, very essential – The clinic where I am medicated by injection fortnightly stayed open throughout the crisis and for those who may well have believed that lockdown was too much to cope with, then there were nurses there to listen and take appropriate action if need be.

Staff in an unselfish risk of exposure to a deadly virus. The many.

So there was the safety net of a whole array of careers. At least this was my experience. Other people, ordinary members of the community as well as those whom I don’t yet know, who went through ‘A year in our lives’. A time to pause, and a time to be thankful to all; in remembrance yes – but hoping for yet better days.

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