“I don’t feel like I am alone in my concerns, I’m filled with hope” – Imogen finds an upside to lockdown

A big thanks to today’s guest blogger Imogen. We’re delighted to share her encouraging, insightful story about how lockdown has helped her to manage anxiety.

Quite early into lockdown I realised I felt a bit strange. It took me a while to work out that what I didn’t feel was panic. Over the last couple of years I barely had a day where I didn’t need to suppress anxiety. It had got better over time, with CBT, avoiding the news and taking up new-old hobbies, but it had never not been there.

All my underlying stresses had coalesced into a massive panic episode that took weeks to recover from physically, and left the anxiety with me. I’ve invested a lot into living by my values and my concerns about the divisiveness of politics; Brexit; Trump; climate change (I still had to hold my breath when I typed that); any news, all the time; turned into a conviction that the Apocalypse was upon us. I knew other people were as concerned about the issues as I was, but it felt like nothing was happening to change things. Indiana Jones trapped under a crushing ceiling, hissing “We are going to die!” could be worse as invasive thoughts go, but it’s still very distracting.

But now I feel better. It seems an odd time for this to happen. I’m very aware of the realities of the situation, but I’m lucky to have plenty of space, I can access the countryside, I’m working from home, and I haven’t yet been affected by the virus. I’m worried about my vulnerable relatives and friends, but at the moment everybody is well and safe. I’m definitely not cut out to teach from home, but even this is only causing a normal amount of stress. I’ve been catching up with friends much more often than I did ‘in real life’, I don’t have an excuse not to.

Lockdown has stopped the constant activity that we have trapped ourselves into in recent decades, and given many of us the opportunity to think whether we miss it or not. Terrible inequalities have become apparent to people who perhaps hadn’t had time to recognise them before. It feels like the whole world has been given a chance to reflect, and now I don’t feel like I’m alone in my concerns. Despite the situation, I’m actually filled with hope that people will want to build back better.

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