‘Thought I’d text, how do you manage not seeing people? We are here if you need anything, but if you can let us know how you manage isolated, we’d appreciate it’- the text from a ‘friend’. Not seen or heard from in months, a married mum of 2 teens, Physio by profession! Lock down then promoted texts and calls. Weekly contacts and chats from ‘friends’. Rarely heard from without my initial contact, because they are ‘sooo busy’. Now they were not working so they ‘had the time so thought I’d call’. When the return to work and seeing friends and relatives was allowed, the calls went back to normal. Nothing, unless I text to say ‘Hi, are you free for a coffee, chat or walk?’ Reply – ‘will let you know’. Three weeks later, still no reply. Or if it comes, ‘I’m sorry, my mum’s visiting’ or something that means they have no time for me. I’m used to being alone, isolated. I struggle with interactions following 2 years of a lack of compassion being shown in all aspects of my life; I am OK being ‘by myself’. What hurt the most. They realized and actually asked. How I coped. Because they, living with family, having a job they love, a partner or a pet. Saw lock down and no interactions, or allowed to do their job, took away their ‘normal’, their purpose, their identity, their friends and family. I lost all of these over a number of years, through redundancy, domestic abuse and unkind people. At the end of March, the one thing that really matters had to stop. Face to face sessions with a Mental Health Clinician, who told me one session. ‘I thought of you at the weekend’. Because they were worried. For the first time in 2 years, I actually mattered. She didn’t judge or tell me what to do. I had seen another who told me as she scribbled down some information – ‘You need to look at these web sites and do breathing techniques’. Not at all helpful.
Appointments moved to video calls. Exhausting as you have to talk. The visual clues and appearance less obvious. The courts and cafes have opened with screens. Those who need to see their clinicians’ face to face still delivered by video calls or wait. And you’ll have to wear PPE (Face covering) No searching for non NHS venues to install a screened facility, to aid the recovery of those who suffer with MH issues. It feels like CV 19 has returned Mental health treatments back to years ago, fixing it can wait. Can it wait for the person who feels alone, not of value and if they were ‘not here’ when would someone notice? If you have no mental health do you have any health? Do you have any life or just an existence when you dissever to be treated the same as the person with a broken leg! Not addressing MH face to face services which aids the clinicians well being at work too, is just letting the minor MH issues fester until it replaces CV-19 as a pandemic.
Lock down, not going out, not meeting or visiting friends and family, is how I live. It has not really changed for me. It has added some new issues that have set me back in my ability to go out. Spending all day convincing myself going for a walk will be fine, thrown by the risk and thoughtless individuals who failed to leave 6 feet gaps when passing, even told to ‘move up’ when queuing and leaving a 6 foot gap in a queue! It took me hours to feel up to going out. Never liked people in my space, when the 6 foot gap did register with people, limited numbers in shops actually helped me to do the shopping at times.
Covid -19 restrictions, in the main have not helped me. My commitment to the clinician who has gone above and beyond for me, to still be here. Has included making active efforts in regaining soliciting, making friends and finding pleasure in outdoor activities. I keep trying, I may get there. I am now redundant (Not CV-19 related) so I am again living on a limited budget and looking for work in a world where you still have to pretend you are ‘normal’. When you feel you are not and the world you are existing in is even further from what normal was when you broke down 2 years ago.