A story by Michael, Across the UK
What challenge does this story focus on?
The thought of lockdown was a huge challenge for me. I have previously had depression and I was really worried that being in my own head, with my own thoughts, through enforced lonlieness away from my busy life, I would become poorly and not be able to cope.
How has this challenge affected you?
I felt very low as it became clear that lockdown(s) were going to happen, I had never expereinced anything like this and I was sure that it would be a total disaster for me. I was aware that many other people would suffer too, and I was frightened of this, but I couldn’t help but worry for myself too. I am not used to being alone. Coffee shops and a busy life have always been my haven, and to have these taken away was very scary.
What has or is helping you to move forward with this challenge?
The day before we knew lockdown was happening, I seemed to switch. I switched into resilience mode. Somehow I knew I had to get through and there was no alternative. I decided to go shopping! I bought everything I thought I might need for a lockdown, this included waterproofs (if we weren’t allowed to be inside, then I definitely needed to spend more time outside!), games and outdoor activities for the kids (I needed to feel sure that I could manage and support the kids through this time) and coffee, lots of coffee….
When lockdown was happening, I learnt to embrace the outdoors more. I visited the park everyday. I learnt to put up with technology and tried to embrace zoom with my friends, although I found this hard. And I got to know my neighbours with coffee over the fence at a distance. I structured my days, and made sure I was informed of what was going on with COVID through the 5pm briefings, but did not allow myself to read/watch more than these. I learnt to be thankful for what I had and I learnt to be more at peace in my own and less dependent on others – because I had to.
What have you learnt as a result of this challenge?
I’ve learnt that I can spend time alone. It’s okay for me. What happens in my head isn’t as scary as I thought it was! And actually, sometimes it is nice to be alone and have quite time. Concurrently I learnt to value my friendships and social contact more than ever.
How do you use this learning in your life now?
I am really grateful for friends and acquaintances. I understand and appreciated the value of coffee shop staff who say hi and have a conversation with me to pass the time of day, I realise this is important to me. I have learnt that I can have a balance of alone time and people time, I can enjoy this. I have learnt that I can problem solve and I am stronger than I thought I was. I learnt that I can get through really hard things and come through the other side.
What positive message would you like the reader to go away with?
Even though life throws some really, really hard and unexpected times, it is possible to get through these, even if they terrify us. We are all stronger than maybe we thought.