Covid Recollections

A fine trip yesterday across country after a lovely session with a therapy client. Job is going well, men and client seem happy. Progress slow but we have 6 weeks left. Guess they are pacing themselves.

I got a great long sleep last night. Gone by 9.30 and awake around 6. Ideal, and a note to self – asleep early is best. Awoke many times and that’s okay – I just kept putting on The Last Testament of Garab Dorje which sent me back to sleep easily.

My son T has lost his phone so out of contact exploring some remote Indonesian Island. What a life he is having…..and I’m curtailing worry often.

So yesterday back here had a wonderful walk with E in the sunshine in the park across fields, along the riverside, soup at the cafe. Good deep chat.

We acknowledged how much better we feel outside in nature, massively so. Happier, very much more relaxed. E commented it’s simply because all around us is alive. I watch the dog and she is also just hanging out as she is in the house, yet outdoors so much happier, all senses online and alert and observing the natural world like us.

In the house there are these not alive walls and floors and ceilings. Much as they are as pretty and I have plants all around the place. Still the feeling is so different. I said out loud as I lay on the field in the sunshine watching the crowd, that I’m at my happiest with being outside, a bit of good company, pausing and being with nature.

On the way home in the car we talked about how the feeling in society has changed since the covid scare. It definitely hasn’t returned to normal, there is a cloak of some kind over us all, perhaps the residue of fear many are still recovering from after the trauma of it all.

I was very afraid for a good few months. We did not know if this was something like the plague or what the chances of dying were. That seemed to be high at first.

Spraying my shopping, spraying any take alway food packaging being delivered. Decanting the alcohol hand rub into smaller sprayers and distributing them to everyone I knew and didn’t know. Buying n95 masks from China and distributing them to family, friends, employees, neighbours, anyone who wanted them.

Holding my breath if a jogger breathing heavily passed me in the park. Feeling afraid when a friend was in the car, so we had the windows down. Not getting too close to people in the supermarket.

In general other people felt dangerous. That in itself was a horrible experience. Others going from being harmless to potentially harmful.

Glued to Andrew Cuomo’s New York daily broadcasts for some sort of reassurance and stability for weeks and weeks. Yes cognitively compromised by fear for a good while! He seemed sensible compared to our lot in the U.K.

I had zero trust or faith in our leadership who seemed to change their story regularly, and made rules and laws that made no logical sense which they didn’t even follow.

It became taboo on social media to ask certain questions about it all, which made it harder to get information. I had lots of unanswered questions about the disease and our mitigation actions.

One lifelong friend unfriended me for questioning the validity of blanket lockdown mandates and suggesting a thorough cost benefit analyses. It was clear these lockdowns were going to have serious consequences for general health, mental health, economically, educationally….and with ambiguous benefits. It seemed like a panic driven decision. Much as I enjoyed the peace and quiet all around.

It all really got to me. I did very deep dives. I joined lists and forums and got the latest from the medical researcher people to find out what was going on. It wasn’t long before it was clear that it was not a high mortality disease for most healthy people, that it was the older and the obese who were dying, and others with existing medical issues. The media was in a frenzy though and contradictory information was all around. Panic and empty shelves and supply chain interruptions.

The business was all but closed at the very time of year we normally recover from winter. And income ceased. Furlough paid the wages, but I got no help and I got into some debt, which I’m just recovering from. Even when we were allowed to open, materials weren’t available and others went up faster than I could keep track of. It was hard to adjust, and jobs made less money for a while.

Everyone had their own ideas of which rules were important and I found myself not on the same page with nearly all friends and family members. That was pretty isolating.

I had to try and make my own decisions and conclusions uninfluenced by what we were being told on the BBC and what friends and family believed. I very much questioned what we were being told. Increasingly it was obvious that some things were not trustworthy or true, like the danger of picking it up from surfaces. The effectiveness of cloth and blue masks. Natural immunity being disregarded. Alternative medication not allowed to be used or even discussed. Rules about vaccines. Lot of censorship. Lot of politicisation blurring the facts.

I was glad to pick up later on with a few friends I’d lost touch with who also questioned the narrative and I discovered also didn’t take the vaccine. I thought the vaccine was unnecessary, now that the low mortality rate for most people was apparent. It was also experimental and potentially harmful. Surprisingly I discovered a couple of employees who also didn’t take it.

Then I watched as these more free thinking friends went down some dark avenues I couldn’t join them on, and from which they have not emerged. Temporary camaraderie and back to isolation. Keeping my own counsel. There’s no way I could agree this was all pre-planned or at least was being used to control us or weaken us. In the mix of all this I had a random stroke in May 2021 which I thankfully recovered very quickly from. Had a squirrel bite and had to get stitches and a tetanus jag. Wearing masks throughout both experiences in hospital.

I was one of the fortunate ones, a relatively solitary lifestyle, with easy access to beautiful parkland, a low risk job, enough money, able to complete the second year of the course I was doing online, supportive family and good friends which I often socialised outdoors with anyway. Not living in poverty in a tower block with young children stuck indoors like some people must have.

I dived further into my own psychological well-being. No choice really, and compassion became the theme for personal strength building and recovery. There was nobody to blame for it all and compassion was needed for us all. We all had experienced a big trauma.

We won’t know the truth for a while, if we ever get the full picture. I’m not sure it even matters. What came out of it for me was an increased awareness of how fear effects my cognitive capacity negatively and and increased commitment to practicing and teaching my clients self compassion.

I still feel some hangover though. There’s people I’m free to see but don’t seem to want to now. I don’t know why, and that’s okay. I had a client session this morning that went well, progress. Feels good, satisfying. Then repotted some house plants and rooted cuttings. It’s 12pm now and I’m on the sofa. Don’t know why so much resting is required. Also okay. Getting ready for a long walk in the sunshine in the woods with the dog. It’s all I can think of that I want to do. Get exercise, fresh air, beauty, make the dog happy, be friendly to people and myself.

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