Touch is partnering with Southampton City Council to support our community to live with covid. The aftereffects of the pandemic continues to be part of our lives and it is clear that this virus has not been eradicated. Together, we must accept this and do what we can to look after ourselves and one another.
We have loved hearing your lockdown stories both at our events and via My Amazing Story, as we believe that by sharing and talking about tough times we can support one another. This is how we slowly start to work through the enormity of the cultural upheaval we collectively experienced.
My own lockdown coincided with my maternity leave, which, if you’re interested, you can read more about here. I am grateful that my sons and I were safe and healthy and able to access the support we needed. I have no doubt, though, that I hold tension related to that period, and that it has not been resolved, or even fully realised. Having the privilege of hearing and reading your lockdown stories has helped me to start to process some of this tension: to acknowledge that things were enormously difficult and that I feel at once grateful, angry, guilty and confused when I think back to that time.
During those early months, one of my biggest fears was that I would be hospitalised and that my children would be frightened without me. This is the anxiety that burns most brightly on reflection, but there were a multitude of questions that niggled and unsettled me:
My neighbour hadn’t put their bin out – were they ok?
Was it a problem that my eldest son was developing an American accent from all the Pokemon he was watching?
Should I be missing the baby groups that I was secretly grateful to skip?
Did I upset that person when I fussed their dog on my walk?
Kate with her younger son, who was born during lockdown
The shoulds, the ugly judgements, the guilt, the anxiety. They wore me out and I am only now exploring and acknowledging this. I also feel guilty that there may be people reading this who lost their job, their loved ones, their home. It feels ‘icky’ to explore my feelings towards lockdown while knowing how comparatively privileged I was. I know, though, that all our experiences and feelings matter, no matter how big or small the things we went through were.
One thing I know is that when my family started to receive their vaccinations my tensions began to ease. When the time came for my own vaccination, it felt like I was contributing to a collective and communal safety net. Breathing a little easier started for me with the vaccine roll out.
Reflecting on my lockdown experience and hearing others’ has allowed me realise that I—we—are more resilient than we think. We did ok. I held on to the mantra that ‘everyone has a story’ and that helped me to treat others’ with kindness when my local beach seemed overcrowded, or someone went out without a mask on. I resisted judging people by holding on to that mantra. I am proud of that attitude.
You can read others’ lockdown stories here, and contribute your own should you wish to. The wonderful Frances shared her story at one of our events, and you can watch it here. More information on the vaccinations can be found here.