It’s a year now since the dreaded C word started to plague our lives. No not the C word you may be thinking of! It’s COVID. I’m not entirely sure any of us can believe the impact it’s had on our lives. The death toll has been tragic and my love goes out to the families that have lost loved ones.
I’m not going to get into politics or conspiracy theories. I just want to talk about how its affected me and how I have seen it affect others.
Many people have asked me how COVID has affected my mental health. It’s heightened my anxiety quite alot. I’m worried that I’m going to bring it back home to my family and that scares me a lot. Especially with a new baby. I find it mentally draining. You have to really think about every action now. For instance opening doors. Before I would open a door and that would be the end of it. You wouldn’t have to think about it. Now you have to make sure your hands are clean, try not to touch the door with your hands and then make sure you sanitise afterwards. There are so many new tasks we have had to add in our daily routines now. Of course they are all measures we need to take in order to be safe but its mentally draining when you’re constantly having to think about a lot of the actions you wouldn’t normally consciously think about.
It’s affected my OCD. Strangely nowhere near as much as I thought it would do. Its not making me wash my hands excessively or anything like that. For people that do suffer with cleanliness OCD my heart goes out to them, especially in the middle of this pandemic. The way it affects my OCD is through my anxiety. I will be anxious about the unknown circumstances of the virus, how it might affect me and my family. That will then make my OCD worse because the more anxious I am, the more I seem to be affected by it. Thankfully my counselling is helping to manage this along with mindfulness techniques.
I would describe the world right now as a world that is on edge. People are missing their family and friends. They are missing their freedom to do the most simple of tasks like going shopping or meeting with their friends. All things we took for granted before this pandemic and all things that made us happier. There is such a matter of opinion on everything to do with COVID. You only have to log onto social media to see people falling out with each other, arguing about restrictions and just general bad news. Then you switch the TV on and your bombarded with bad news about COVID and a daily death toll of people who have very sadly lost their lives.
Unfortunately there is a lot of hate in the world right now and to be honest it drags you down after a while. Your mood is affected by your surroundings and if you’re surrounded by negativity then its not going to do you any favours.
We’ve seen people do some amazing things in the last 12 months and its been uplifting to see. Theres so many people that have really stepped up to help others and I wish all these things got publicised more. Thank you to all these people, the NHS and everyone that has tried to help people during this pandemic.
Things I have done to make myself feel better
I have really tried to limit how much news I watch. I do like to stay informed and be aware what’s going on but that’s it. As soon as I hear the updates I switch over.
I have tried to learn something new. I have found that by learning something new its refocussed my mind and made me feel much better. There are so many online courses you can take now. I will hopefully be putting what I’ve learnt to good use soon.
Meditate. I have really found a lot of peace doing this. If I’m feeling bit overwhelmed I will find a meditation session on my phone and listen to it. Its a good way of clearing your mind and grounding yourself when you can feel your emotions getting the better of you.
Write your feelings down on paper. It’s amazing how therapeutic this can be. When I do it I feel like I am processing them and then removing them from my mind (the bad ones).
We have lost a lot of our freedom in the last year (to control the spread) but its broken people I didn’t think would break.
Things are tough right now, but its a whole lot tougher if we are falling out with each other. So be kind, be patient and be safe. We’re all human and we’re all trying to find our way through this weird world we find ourselves in.