Like most others throughout the world today and over the last few months, mental health and well-being has been fraught with concern, grief and a reminder that most things are out of our control. Since March 2020, there have been many shifts in my mental health and I accept that this will be our reality, our norm, for quite some time to come.
Never has there ever been a time when we have felt our lives in others hands and I hope that we never experience it again in our lifetimes.
At the beginning of this year, I returned to work after having a baby and experiencing the most difficult year of our lives. Having our beautiful baby was the highlight of the year, of course, but the uncertainty of how to be a Mum, how to care for our little one and how to still be a couple was difficult. On top of those usual and very normal mental health blips in our lives, our world fell apart when my husband was made redundant during that time when our little one was three months.
As you can imagine, even the hardest most positive person crumbles when faced with the prospect of bills, no income and a baby that needs caring for.
Thankfully, my husband got a great job but our finances suffered and as a result, I had to return to work at the beginning of January. I was confused at feeling so happy to be out to work again, having a little more time for myself and being able to achieve something that I was familiar with rather than just being able to get a long stretch of sleep from the baby. Having only just returned to work, being asked to work from home for the foreseeable future with a baby and a husband was daunting and completely winded me. I hadn’t had a chance to really even ‘be’ and coming back home, back to where my anxious was coupled with a demanding baby and cooking/cleaning three times a day really impacted on our daily well-being, our relationship both as a couple and with our baby.
Within the first two weeks of lockdown, we found out that sadly, one of my dearest friends Father had passed away from the virus. At that moment, all realisation that this was real hit like a tidal wave. I had spent my time thinking about how I couldn’t cope, trying to work out how we were going to function having to be home at all times, where we were going to get nappies and food.. and then the realisation, that our lives and people could be taken from us without warning. Hearing the horrific account of how ill he was becoming, what was happening in hospital and feeling the anguish on their behalf that they couldn’t be there when finally, he had passed, was devastating. Now many weeks on, we are creating a new normal – a life where we have begun to understand what our boundaries are, appreciate the smaller things in life, come to appreciate our parents whom have now started to care for our little one whilst we work.. and although I’m not sure how our mental health will survive when we start to leave the house, get on buses and join London on the tube, I am sure that although we are all living in the same storm, we are not in the same boat.
This is the one thing I know will keep me going in the months to come.
Life is not over. Life is reborn, with new purpose and ambitions to be still, calm and to appreciate the smaller things in life.