This month, as part of the Chronic Voice Linkup, I’m sharing the reality of coping with the demands of depression during lockdown.
I’m so excited to have stumbled upon The Chronic Voice blog, which is a health, wellness and chronic illness blog that aims to articulate lifelong illness from various perspectives.
This is my very first introduction to the concept of linkups and I’m a little nervous, hugely curious, and totally inspired to connect with this month’s prompts — they are Bothering, Demanding, Nourishing, Telecommunicating, and Tolerating.
Reflecting on these prompts made me realize we are all adjusting to the intense, powerful energy of the Covid-19 crisis. Ironically prior to lock-down, with the long winter days now behind me, I felt hopeful. I had taken the first steps to combat the urge to self-isolate. My mental health was starting to improve.
Bothering to make an effort in lockdown
But then Covid-19 hit and hopeful feelings dissolved into dread.
No more sitting in my local cafe, people-watching while sipping a barista-made coffee.
Shock set in. There were and still are so many unknowns about this deadly virus. I could literally feel myself collapsing into a familiar coping mechanism. The collective anxiety around Covid-19 escalated triggering the internal drive to self-isolate.
Simple self-care tasks like showering and washing my hair felt completely overwhelming
The slowing of my motor-processing skills was palpable. Bothering to make an effort was no longer a priority — which brings us to the next prompt.
the Demanding aspects of depression intensify in lockdown
The demanding aspects of depression intensify in lock-down. I notice when I am triggered and how this pushes my whole body into a state of hyper-vigilance. Managing depression demands a lot of time, energy, effort, and attention. While ongoing pressure and uncertainty around Covid-19 worsen the situation. Latent anxieties are triggered. Motivation is almost non-existent.
During the coronavirus outbreak, the necessity to self-isolate dramatically changed the way we live. All of us have been affected by a sense of enormous loss on many levels. Adjusting to the loss of not being able to control aspects of our lives we normally take for granted, is compounded by the volatile nature and spread of this pandemic.
The shock of what we are dealing with is a stark reminder of the frightening lack of control we have in the grand scheme of things. One of the most helpful things I discovered while in lock-down is the power of opening up a dialogue around the things we could and could not control.
acceptance is deeply Nourishing
One of the most positive, powerful life-lessons to come out of lockdown is the power of practicing acceptance.
Experiencing lockdown in a tiny living space with my husband and grown-up son pushed us all to our limits.
Being in lockdown revealed a latent pattern of avoiding my emotions in order to maintain peace. All the while an internal war was raging. All it took was a tiny trigger and BOOM! the lid was lifted on all those suppressed emotions.
Opening up a conversation around how we were all feeling, created a space for us to bring our emotional experience into a place of acceptance.
As we discussed how we actually felt all the little knots of expectation started to loosen. Accepting the fact quarantine didn’t have a foreseeable timeline was a breakthrough moment. Up until that point, a lot of energy was expended trying to keep a lid on grief, anger, and uncertainty bubbling beneath the surface. Now we felt a sense of connection through our shared pain.
is telecommuting the new normal?
I wonder, is telecommuting the new normal? There is something liberating about being able to connect, work, share, and see each other remotely.
I live on a narrowboat and with no fixed abode, it’s difficult to make physical connections. The accessibility and ease of connecting remotely is a useful, time-saving way to build relationships, access healthcare, and get things done.
tolerating lockdown on our houseboat
It felt intolerable at times, aboard our narrowboat home. Our living space is like it says on the tin, narrow. Compounding matters, the Canal and River Trust told us to stay moored until further notice. We are used to moving every two weeks, so by the end of six weeks, we all felt understandably antsy.
I believe we all have our own tolerance threshold. There’s only so much our nervous system can deal with and I believe the pressures of lockdown significantly affect our ability to cope with the demands of self-isolating.
I’m immensely grateful for the love and kindness of my family during this difficult time. Hopefully, we can all look back and see how resilient we are.
It’s amazing how this month’s prompts have brought us full circle.
Chronic illness pushes the limits of what you think you can endure, but it also can reunite you with the invisible, untapped power of your heart.
Always remember: chronic illness does not define you. You are stronger than you think you are and every step you take in this journey reflects your true strength.
Thank you for reading, hope there is something here that might be helpful. If you liked this article, be sure to check out other bloggers in this linkup. I can’t wait to read their articles!
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And now it’s over to you dear reader, what are your thoughts on this “new normal” we are all facing?