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Emerging Blogger Series: Escaping the Cage

The emerging blogger series on Mental Health @ Home -background image of cherry blossoms

This post on mental health effects of COVID reopening comes from Escaping the Cage.

Silhouette of woman sitting inside looking out a window
Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay 

Mental Health and COVID Restriction Easing

I’m worried about my mental health as COVID restrictions are eased.

I know that for many people COVID has brought many challenges to their mental as well as physical health. For me, however, it has been an entirely different experience. COVID has given me back life and meaning. I am so scared of losing them again.

It’s not that I’ve rejoiced in the pain, grief and misery it has wrought on so many people. Far from it. I’m glad that life is beginning to return to normal for so many who have suffered and are still suffering. I wonder, though, what this new era will bring for me.

I have Complex PTSD with associated bouts of depression. I also, however, have ME/CFS  which has left me housebound for the past 25 years. Many people have now discovered how difficult it is to be confined to the house. I hope they won’t forget this when it no longer applies to them. For those of us who will remain housebound, this is going to be a very difficult season. Facebook and Social Media will no doubt bombard us with photos of everybody else going out and enjoying themselves. The friends who have been around more online and had time to interact with us, may well disappear again. We will need to adapt.

Before COVID came along I was severely depressed and lonely. When you’ve been housebound as long as I have friends die, move away, forget about you and there’s no means of making new ones. There are plenty of groups and organisations around to help the elderly and disabled get out. When you can’t get out, however, even with help, there is absolutely nothing. The fact that COVID brought everything online meant that I was able to join groups, meet new people, make friends for the first time in years. It has given me a life back and significantly eased my mental health problems.

People have said that I must miss being able to have visitors and I’ve almost felt guilty in saying that I hadn’t. I have had a bubble most of the time and it might have been different if that hadn’t been the case. To be honest, though, I didn’t get many other visitors anyway. The other thing is that on zoom I am equal. For a start I’m on the same eye-level as everybody else, whereas usually, because I’m lying down, I’m not. On zoom I’m also an equal in other ways. It’s no longer a case of ‘visitor’ and ‘visited’ but two equal friends.

This past week has been very difficult as people rejoice in getting out again and assume everybody else is in the same position. The word ‘all’ is being used repeatedly. “When we’re all together again”. “We’re all going to get out and enjoy the sunshine”. I’m really not sure what is going to happen now. I know that some of the groups I’ve joined are going to continue online. Will people continue to come to them though, when they have busy lives again? With everybody confined to the house more, I’ve felt more part of society, I’m already beginning to feel like an outcast again.

I’m trying not to think about it too much. Endeavouring not to get anxious. I would urge you, though, to remember those of us for whom this is going to be a very difficult time.

Visit the author at her blog Escaping the Cage.

14 thoughts on “Emerging Blogger Series: Escaping the Cage”

    1. I think ‘hybrid’ is the in thing but people are interpreting it very differently. There’s a lot of talk about hybrid church but often that seems to be in-person church streamed online for others to watch but without any real online community.

      1. For kids, especially in elementary school, I honestly don’t think it’s a good idea to stay hybrid. I can appreciate that some form of hybrid for high school might be a benefit…but after having spent almost a year in lockdown, watching my kids stay home as much as they have with no clubs, no sports, no activities, no socializing in person at school, it seems kind of cruel to continue this way.

        We shall see what happens.

  1. I think the pandemic has a pandemic of mental health issues too. I applaud you for recognizing you’re struggle and how things may impact. I hope this means you will get the support.

    Sending you compassion as you continue your journey. Thank you for your honest writing

  2. Thanks for sharing – these are very real concerns. However, I think there’s a lot that will continue happening online that didn’t before, because we’re all now used to this way of communicating. Although, there will still be those face-to-face meet ups shared on social media, which I imagine could be really hard to see when you can’t get out and about. One of my best friends has MS and she decided not to use Facebook any more, because its hard to see people socialising when she can’t so much. I hope your friends and family get to read your post so that they can understand your situation.

  3. I’m the kind of extrovert who has largely hated the pandemic experience, but at the same time, I appreciate that many people were getting left out of in-person socializing and community before. It has bothered me, and I’m ashamed to admit that I didn’t do enough to be inclusive before the pandemic (even on the extremely rare occasions that I visited a homebound friend, it still had that “visitor”/”visited” dynamic you described). I hope that we have learned as a society how to be more inclusive, and I don’t see virtual going away entirely. Still, your concerns are valid.

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