I like to think I’ve taken everything the year has thrown at me in my stride, both personally and professionally. But whilst that may show on the surface, delve deeper and my mind is often whirring about the present and the future.
I thought I’d take a few minutes to just write down a few of the thoughts that run through my mind to share with you, partly to allow me to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard), but also in the hope that if you’re reading this, it may help you to realise you’re not alone in feeling anxious or upset.
I think back to February when we got a new sofa in the flat. We sat on the sofa watching people arrive from China to RAF Brize Norton on specially commissioned planes, who then had to quarantine in a nearby hospital due to Coronavirus. Back then, we in the UK were just getting on with our normal everyday lives and I’ll be honest, I’m sure we muttered the words “That’ll never come here”.
Everything was normal, but COVID was creeping into the media more and more each day. Then, Boris Johnson made his televised speech and told us all to Stay Home, Protect the NHS and Save Lives. This, was the start of our national lockdown and the start of uncertainty and an unpredictable time to follow.
I’m fortunate enough to have continued to have a regular work routine throughout the pandemic. The service I help manage has increased 61% in the last 11 months, with most of the increase taking place during the first lockdown. It’s been non-stop, but then, the NHS never stops, does it?
Whilst I may continue to have a routine and have that face-to-face interaction with colleagues, this isn’t the same as the beginning of the year, it’s very different to how we’d interact pre-COVID and still takes some getting used too. Having a meeting on Microsoft Teams or Zoom, isn’t the same as having a face-to-face meetings where you can gauge more of the emotion and feeling of the room.
As I wrote back in June, my other half caught Coronavirus, though it was one of the faulty test batches. I’ll never forget that time and what we went through. She was extremely close to being admitted to hospital, but the paramedic didn’t want to take her in at the time, despite her being extremely short of breath.
I’m sick and tired of people not wearing face masks properly. If you haven’t got one on and don’t bother to put one on, that’s your prerogative. I’m not to know if you’re exempt or not and I respect that. But it’s those who wear them round their necks whilst on the bus, or wear them without covering their nose. I actually vented my annoyance over on Periscope a few weeks ago. The rules are there for a reason and as much as we may not like them, we’ve just got to follow them, right? I certainly can’t afford a £1,000 or £10,000 fine.
I’ve often felt this year like I’m not doing a good enough job in looking after my other half, in the work I do both for my actual work, the radio programmes I host or for the charities I volunteer for. More often than not during this year, I’ve felt super down and haven’t really spoken about it. The constant changes of the rules, both nationally and in work, really starts to get to you after a while, when you feel like you’re not sure whether you’re coming, or going.
And then there’s the news, everything you watch, everything you read, everything you hear, there’s always some reference to COVID. Whether it’s about the increase in cases, the Government messing things up or something happening across the pond, it’s relentless. I feel sorry for the news anchors on the rolling news channels who have to report the same story endless amounts of times throughout the day, it’s hard to switch off from this pandemic, because it’s literally around in every corner of your life.
But whilst I do have these down days and sad thoughts, there are days when there appears to be light at the end of the tunnel.
I’ll go for a walk around the block, go for a little longer walk around the local park or local meadow. I’ll listen to shit music and will try and keep off my phone for an hour or so. I’ll spend time with my other half, we’ll watch a film, listen to music, or guess the music in The Hitlist.
I have no idea what the rest of 2020 has to offer, but I know for sure it’s been one hell of a ride so far. October is my birthday month and whilst I don’t usually feel like celebrating my birthday, this year is just the same, multiplied. It doesn’t feel like a very celebratory time, not to me at least.
I could go on, but I realise I’ve taken up far too much of your time already. Just remember, it’s okay not to be okay and this whole pandemic genuinely does effect everyone in different ways.
No one knows what the rest of 2020 holds, I often have to remind myself that I am doing okay, but sometimes there’s only so many times I can say that to myself.
Most of all though, it’s important to look after ourselves, and each other.