Our client shares the things she has implemented in her life  to help her

The lockdown really affected my recovery journey from mental ill health.  I was doing well, having had extensive therapy and had put healthy coping mechanisms into place.  I was heading in the right direction. I worked so hard to recover and now I feel as if it has all been taken away from me. I was plunged back into isolation. 

I have found it particularly hard in the following ways: – 

I used work as a coping mechanism.  I am in a caring profession and found looking after others extremely therapeutic.  I worked long hours as this really helped my mental health and enjoyed the contact with the clients. I felt like I was making a difference to their lives.  Now I can only work from nine to five on Zoom and seeing clients through a screen does not feel as though I am helping in the same way.  I have lost my purpose.   

I live in a studio flat, so I am in the same room all day.  I used to be able to only spend a couple of hours indoors before I had to go out, as I am not good on my own, now I have to spend many hours inside on my own. Going to the office use to really help, but I cannot do that now. 

Another coping mechanism, when I was feeling bad, was I used was to go and see my sister.  I liked to see her children, read to them, and put them to bed.  It helped me to feel useful but again, that has been taken away from me.   

I also went to Rock choir, Woking Mind groups and the Safe Haven, that has stopped too. Everything just stopped and it happened so quickly with no chance to prepare.  The weekends are particularly hard, as there is virtually nothing on Zoom, so I feel very isolated.  By Sunday I am really struggling and have had enough. I used to have reflexology as a treat to myself, but this too has been taken away.   

The doctor wanted to change my medication because I am so up and down. However, I am reluctant to do this. I know it is the lockdown that has caused my mood swings as my coping strategies are now inaccessible.   

Things I do that help: –

I try to go to a zoom group every night where possible. For example: – Woking Mind support groups, Mindfulness, art sessions with Mary Francis Trust. I am doing a lot of art as this helps my mood. I try to go to anything that is available.   I do find it hard because at some groups, I do not know anyone, so it is very anxiety provoking.    

I have a WhatsApp group with two other friends, and we contact each other every day.  We also do Zoom calls where we play games, laugh, cry etc. It is very helpful to know you are not alone and can share your feelings with people you trust. Just having each other really helps and knowing they are there for me, as I am for them.  I am also having singing lessons.  I go for long walks every weekend and sometimes meet a friend, who enjoys doing the same. I am also communicating more by text so that I stay connected to people. Staying well in lockdown is hard work!