Once again thank you so much for the positive comments, I had so many messages and despite feeling quite overwhelmed with my emotions recently writing this blog has been taking a load off my shoulders and making me happier. Like some people know, I’m currently on holiday on an island off of Finland visiting my family and balancing writing and editing with wanting to spend as much time as possible with my family is proving quite difficult but I’m happy to be a bit sparser whilst I’m abroad. I literally have a list of thirty titles typed up ready to be written in depth, but I thought clearly about current climate and decided speaking about the current climate made sense.
I still remember clearly January 31st when I was in Wetherspoons having lunch with my friends after being at the doctors in the morning and my friend turned to me and said I’m so worried about coronavirus, like with my asthma I’m high risk. I honestly thought she was overreacting; I was like don’t worry it won’t come to the UK and it definitely won’t affect us. I was ill a lot of February and subsequently missed a lot of university and didn’t really keep track of the news or what was turning into a widespread of coronavirus. I was so wrong. I came home in March after the news of my Grandma’s passing and I knew that the same week my flatmates were travelling up so we could go to Magic Mike and Lewis Capaldi in London. I still didn’t really know what was going on with coronavirus and thought my parents were overreacting telling us to lather up on antibacterial gel and stay away from masses of people (despite going to a concert with thousands of other people). So being the idiot I am I just carried on with my day to day life pretending this virus didn’t exist- I didn’t want to miss Lewis Capaldi to be honest (he was insane! Thoroughly recommend seeing him live!!)
After my week in London things escalated very quickly and travel bans were placed stopping the travel to my Grandma’s funeral and my university shut giving us little to no resources or hope for finishing our degrees. On the day the library shut, 23rd of March, I jumped on what was my last train from Plymouth to London and left with so much uncertainty and fear. Lockdown was announced as I was jumping from tube to tube in Central London trying to get home as quickly as possible; and when I got home, I felt like I couldn’t breathe. That first night marked one of my biggest panic attacks over the years. The thing is, and it’s really not the universities fault, but university students were given no support. A zoom call to go over slides isn’t the same, two weeks extra on a deadline doesn’t mean anything when you can’t get hold of resources, safety nets mean nothing if you don’t understand the modules. I cried most days; I didn’t think I’d ever finish my dissertation (and other essays); even with my strict schedule I still didn’t believe I would actually pull it off.
My mental health dropped, I stopped looking after myself and focused on typing my essays. I was eating horrifically, my skin flared up for the first time in 4 years (which in turn made me more insecure) and my panic attacks were so often that between March 23rd and May 15th I had 7 days where I hadn’t cried. I had support and I’m so grateful for my family and friends who genuinely are probably the only reasons I got through lockdown. I have a very low immune system, so I was told to shelter and keep myself to myself as much as possible. This didn’t really help my mental health and feeling very claustrophobic, having little to no privacy and not having an outlet to get my feelings out without offending my family was extremely difficult. I didn’t want to lose it and say hurtful things but constantly being watched over was draining me. I had so much pent up stress that I would struggle to focus and found myself using unhealthy coping mechanisms to pass the time of the day.
I got myself into countless arguments as I was appointed ‘lockdown police’, but in a time of life and death I couldn’t understand how many people were stupidly meeting up with friends or leaving the house unnecessarily. My mental health means I pretty much rely on spending time with friends, doing stuff and keeping myself busy so being cooped up with none of that AND COPING without breaking lockdown to see my friends I couldn’t get why other people couldn’t understand it. I had huge anxiety surrounding my own health and being a carrier of the infection, the thought of which genuinely led me to many anxiety attacks. I drank quite a bit of alcohol at the start of lockdown to calm myself, and it wasn’t till two weeks back that I realised my glass of wine was my first drop of alcohol in a month, something which I didn’t think was possible. The turning point was waking up with one of my worst hangovers in months, throwing up countless times and not even leaving bed till dinner despite having been stuck in lockdown with no reason to be that drunk in the first place. If I did one thing during lockdown, I am most proud of it was to stop drinking excessively and frequently- something as someone who admittedly did use alcohol as a coping mechanism through university, I didn’t think it was possible.
So, what did lockdown teach me? Despite all the panic attacks, breakdowns, low moods and tears I completed my degree and recently found out I got a 2:2 overall (a grade I’m not best pleased with but considering my situations I’m proud I even finished). I stopped drinking so much, I spent some much-needed time with my family, I focused on my mental health and worked through a lot of stuff that was dragging me down. I also got rid of some pretty toxic people in my life, which in turn actually led to me being happier in general. Lockdown taught me a lot and tomorrow is what would’ve been my graduation if coronavirus hadn’t happened (another post coming- if I finish and begin writing it) and I hope that when I do return back to London in August I maintain the state of content I am currently in and hopefully love myself and my life a bit more.
Thank youuuu for reading, there wasn’t much advice but if I could give a little bit of wisdom- CUT OFF THE PEOPLE WHO DIDN’T CHECK IN ON YOU DURING LOCKDOWN. If they didn’t bother when they literally had nothing else to do, they are not worth your time. Live a happier life, it’s better to have less friends but them be good friends than keeping dead weight along with you. Also, as I mentioned I had a eureka moment at dinner tonight and I am hoping to finish another post for tomorrow. BYEEEE.