World-Mental-Health-Day-2020

World Mental Health Day 2020

Rebecca’s Lockdown Diary

Well what can I say? 

This year has tested the lives of so many people and sadly not in a positive way. Our health, home, job, family and friends have suffered in one way or another. The priority to make sure your own mental health is doing ok has never been more prevalent. 

This year started so promising, then along came March…

From my personal experience I can honestly tell you I wasn’t expecting the crazy emotional rollercoaster that was about to follow. I am a qualified Mental health first aider, so here is me thinking that I would be ok. My role is to look after everyone else. I should be able to spot the signs, surely? 

Lockdown started, I thought it would be a few weeks, a month at max. Working from home wasn’t too bad, no early morning or late evening commutes on busy trains. I still had work to do, I still had my routine. 

Then it happened… I was furloughed. 

I’d recently moved to a 4th floor apartment by myself, obviously didn’t want the hassle of a garden (oh if only I knew!) For once in my 39 years and probably 10 home moves, I unpacked every single box! I’m going to take that as a positive.

First few weeks I was pretty anxious, so I kept inside and only ventured out to the bin or to click & collect my food shopping. A couple of times I pushed myself to go out for a walk around a local park, but I didn’t have a great experience so thought I’d be better off at home. Weeks went by and I realised I’d not left the apartment for 7/8 days in a row. I was having regular video calls with friends & family and I was doing ok. This went on for 8 weeks I would say, I was a little hermit living in my safe shell.

Then it started, I was staying up late (why not I wasn’t going anywhere.) That led to getting up at lunchtime, hoping I’d wasted as much of the day as possible. I felt numb, I didn’t have a purpose anymore. I was living day to day. No routine, nothing to look forward to. I avoided as many video calls as possible from friends and family because I didn’t have anything good to say and I didn’t want to worry them. 

In my head I was sure my role wasn’t as important as others at my company. Why would they need the person who looks after the office, the one who books the meetings, the travel and hotels?? Would they even need me back? I love my company; I had finally found my working tribe. The thought of not having a role there anymore made me feel sick. The panic attacks began. 

I finally plucked up the courage and called my boss, I thought if it’s bad news then at least I would know. I didn’t want this horrible feeling of being in limbo anymore. The phone rang and he answered. “Hi Rebecca! How are you!?” I’d never been more thankful to hear a positive-sounding voice. I was honest, I told him I wasn’t doing great, that I was worried about my job. Everything just poured out. He was so understanding, listened to everything I was saying. He reassured me that the company was doing everything it could to keep it on the right path. My role was important, and most of all it was safe!! That’s all I needed; the relief was amazing. I would be back working again soon.

I was furloughed for 12 weeks in total. Looking back now I can’t believe it happened. I know it did but I think my brain has blocked it out! I’m not over the hill just yet but I am working my way through things to make sure I come out ok on the other side.

What I want to say after all this is to try and be kind, to others but especially to yourself. Mental Health is just as important as any other illness you may get. Please talk to others if you are struggling, that’s the number one piece of advice I could give to you.

Here is a link to some great mental health charities: Get support from a mental health charity.

You are never alone.

Written by Rebecca Hyslop

October 10, 2020

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