Our Claire reflects back on the last year…
Like many others this week, I’ve been reflecting back on the last year since we first went into lockdown.
I can remember how scared I was. My anxiety really had a control of me and I was fraught, thinking society was on the verge of collapse. This wasn’t made any better by the panic buying that was going on. Stories of shelves being stripped bare and the fact I was too scared to go to the supermarket and couldn’t get a delivery slot for love or money, also provoked me to ration my food intake. For a time I lived on nothing but onion soup and porridge (not together, obviously. That’d be disgusting!).
The instructions not to touch our face also had me thinking my hands were like nuclear weapons! So I touched as little as possible and bleached anything I did touch. This got to a stage where I was bleaching the things I bleached with! Information that our food may contain the virus also provoked me to wash what I ate in soap and water before I cooked it. It also provoked me to bin a bag of prepared salad because I was scared it may contain the virus as well.
At times, I was so scared that I simply burst out into tears. To compare that with now, where I largely take things in my stride, causes me to wonder what the turning point was.
The first thing that springs to mind is the friends who came to my aid. One was my best friend who started to video-call me. I’d never used Zoom and hated Skype whenever I’d used it before but seeing my friend’s face was really welcome. Having a chat and just carrying on our friendship like we always had really made me feel less isolated.
Another friend who came to my aid was a lady who I only knew from the running club we used to go to – Dockside Runners. Over the last year though, she’s encouraged me to go for walks and runs together, where we chat about all sorts (mostly food) and have become firm friends. She’s also taken me to the doctor, my cat to the vet, and done shopping for me without ever wanting anything for it in return.
Having these people I knew I could rely on in a crisis has made a huge difference to me, helping me to realise that the world wasn’t collapsing around my ears. In that regard, what has also helped is that society, as a whole, has upped it’s game: the panic buying stopped, supermarkets made more delivery slots available, more accurate information about the virus became known, our keyworkers (including the NHS of course) came to the rescue, and better treatments and then vaccinations became available. This has made it more possible to live with the virus rather than be panicked by it.
Another thing that helped was distraction: I rationed my news intake and found other things to occupy my time like baking, painting, and gaming. I also finished my Degree, enrolled on a creative writing course, and continued blogging for WHISC. These all gave me other things to focus on rather than the pandemic and have also stopped me getting bored.
However, like many others, I can’t wait to see the back of lockdown and get out and socialise properly again. To be able to pop in at WHISC like I used to will be such a blessing! Until then though, it’s always a comfort to know I can access their services from the comfort of my own home.
WHISC’s Listening Ear service can be accessed by calling 0151 707 1826. Alternatively, leave a message on their Facebook page with your phone number and they’ll ring you back. WHISC’s many online activities can be found on the What’s On page of this website. Together, we’ll get through this.