It’s been so long since I wrote in the blog, but I feel now is a good time for a new entry.
So, Covid-19 – it’s something that’s touched the entire planet. And I’ve no need to explain why. We all know the statistics, the symptoms, and the pain it’s caused.
I’ve also no need to talk about any strategies or routines to get through it. Whatever I say, has been said a million times already.
What I can say though – is that it’s ok to be scared during these times. Humans have always feared the unknown; it’s in our nature. We’ve cemented and anchored our lives to a paradigm that barely shifts. We go about our day, fully secure that no matter what events or circumstances befall us, we have a fixed background to base our lives against. If we lose a job, we can always find another. If we lose a loved one, we can find comfort in our friends and family. And if we see tradgedies around the world, we know the world will inevitably mourn, cope, and move on. Even those fleeing warzones rely on the stability of the rest of the world to help them find refuge. Life goes on, and despite the odd blip and bump, the way will smooth out, and carry on as it has before.
Covid-19 is different though. It struck the entire world so hard and fast that we barely had chance to prepare and comprehend what was happening. Some countries were hit harder than others, but all were affected in some way. The planet ground to a halt and waited with baited breath, hoping that the pandemic would quietly pass without causing too much damage.
Governments tried their best to organise their countries, strategically attempting to curb the virus as best they could. These were unknown waters, and those that stayed high and dry were praised, and those that got it wrong and floundered were beset by outrage. But to predict such outcomes were difficult, if not impossible. Geography, culture, and population variations, amongst other factors seperated each country, meaning a course of action that worked in one place wouldn’t work somewhere else.
And now the populous hides, told to stay indoors and wait out the uncertainty.
As I type this, the sun beams outside, belying what lingers in the air.
People are frightened.
People are scared everything they have worked hard for is slowly dissolving before their eyes.
People are unable to pay bills, having lost their jobs, or being unable to work.
People are losing loved ones, unable to be with them in their final moments.
People are on the verge of starvation.
People are missing those closest to them, only slightly delayed by phone calls and facetiming.
And you know what?
It’s ok to be afraid and sad.
It’s ok to worry about what’s to come.
And it’s ok to lose hope.
Because that’s in our nature. Uncertainty terrifies us.
But that uncertainty can also be full of hope.
Great things can come from despair.
Because humanity is also resiliant.
We’ve proved time and time again we can endeavour and triumph.
The pandemic will pass. It won’t be our end. We’ve broken through deadlier ones before.
We will go outside, and breathe in a cleaner world, rich with life and hope.
We will learn to make money once more. But it won’t dominate our lives as it once did.
We will interact more with our neighbours and smile at strangers.
We won’t take for granted seeing and hugging our friends and family.
We will respect the fragility of the planet, and look after it more.
We will spend more time with the people we love, and not slaving our lives away for money.
Because we fought this battle together, and together we will win.
Nothing unites us more than a struggle.
Sometimes we need the foundations of our lives ripping down, in order to rebuild better and stronger.
So be scared if you need to. But also know things won’t always be this way.
Things will get better.
A brighter dawn is approaching.
Be safe, and be happy.
This is for all my friends and family who are worrying at this time.
I love and miss you all so much. And you’re all in my thoughts.
I’ll see you all soon. Look after yourselves.
Life can be tough – it’s a known fact.
It can pull us down, twist us, break us, and crush us.
And just one simple decision can send us on a path of pain and sadness.
But even down the darkest roads lay a glimmer of light.
We are friends, and I want you to know I am always here for you.
And I know you’re there for me too.
We must never forget to ask each other for help when we need it.
We must never be so proud that we can’t admit we are low.
We may make fun of each other, and banter until we cry with laughter.
But this must still be tempered with warmth and love.
Otherwise friendship can decay under the weight of solely harsh words.
Even though we may not see each other often, or only speak on occasion,
I am still your friend.
And time nor distance has no bearing on this friendship.
Little changes when we do reunite.
Even so, we must take great effort to keep making memories.
And always have events to look forward to.
Photos must be taken, and cherished for a lifetime.
Simple coffee breaks, to parties and holidays.
Each meeting must be special and unique.
We are friends, and I want you to know I am always here for you.
My door is always open. The kettle is always ready to pour.
And I am always ready to listen with a sympathetic ear.
Too often we are reminded that this world connects us in more and more ways,
yet only seems to push us apart further and further.
We must remind ourselves that our online lives are an illusion.
They are a condensed persona we display after scrubbing away the dirt.
As time pushes on, we must bridge the gaps that seperate us,
and reminisce about the journeys life has taken us.
Life is truly beautiful, and we share this part of history with many people.
Of all the years mankind has existed, we are lucky to share this time with those we love.
We must realise that each and every one of will face tough times at some point.
To be human is to feel the full gamut of emotions.
From the deepest lows, to the soaring highs, I want to share them all with you.
For we are friends, and I am always here for you.
And so tonight these long nights take their strongest turn of the year and begin to recede once more in favour of warmer sunny days. This year for us Brits has been a unique one – having one of the hottest Summers on record coupled with an extrarodinary performance from our lads in the world cup (making for great pub visits!), another Prince got married, a Princess got married, wildfires spread, we celebrated 100 years since the first world scuffle ended, watched in awe as offended levels grew to extreme new heights when someone uttered the words ‘stupid woman’ in Parliament, and some bloke swam around the entire UK, all whilst that dreaded ‘B’ word hung in the distance.
Now 2018 is drawing to a close, and many of us are quietly wondering what an uncertain 2019 will bring? Will our leaving of the EU come and go without barely a whisper? Will we be sent into wrack and ruin? Or will there be a second referendum happening, and bring the whole thing to a grinding halt? Who knows?
But whether or not our government proceeds with our first uneducated answer (seriously – the day we voted to leave, a friend of mine who’s British born, but whose heritage is Pakistani was screamed at in the street by and old man “We voted to leave, now get out of our country!” Get a grip and an education you dumb old shit!) we should still be optimistic.
More and more it’s doom and gloom being shown by the media, and thus it’s no wonder mental health problems are on the rise. It’s hard to stay happy when Theresa May acts like a broken guffawing record – “The people voted to leave, so we will deliver on that vote.” In other words “You asked for this shitstorm, and whether or not it’s what you envisaged, you’re gonna deal with it!”
But there is a light! More than ever, mental health awareness is becoming bigger everyday, and the words ‘Man-up’ are becoming less prevalent than ever. And rightly so. With over 200 classified forms of mental illness, it can reveal itself in many ways. As someone who has had loved ones deal with mental issues, it’s important to know and understand the signs before it’s too late.
So going into the new year:
- Be unwavering in your kindness to others.
- Give love and respect to everyone, even if they mistreat you. You have absolutely no idea what they are going through. Your kindess could be just the thing they need.
- Keep an eye on your friends and family. Notice usual changes in their behaviour, such as withdrawing from the world. Smiles can hide a soul screaming for help.
- Always have time for others. You have no idea what five minutes, a cup of tea, and a sympathetic ear can do for a person’s well-being.
- Recognise the beauty and colour in the world. Just because good things don’t get reported (an understatement if ever there was one!) doesn’t mean they aren’t happening all the time.
- Remain in the now – don’t fall into always remembering the past, or worry about the future. Only the ‘now’ matters.
- Breathe deeply and rejoice in the gift of life today. Tomorrow is not guaranteed to anyone.
- Don’t put things off. Forgive easily. Love with an open heart. And never leave until tomorrow what can be said today. You might not get the chance.
- Help others and give generously, even when they have no way of repaying you.
- And no matter what, take everything within your stride. I’ve seen people with the worst luck in their lives, yet they remain happy. It’s not the circumstances which determine your happiness; it’s your reaction to them.
I’m proud of my nation. In the past we’ve stood battered and bruised in the face of a supposedly undefeatable enemy and screamed defiantly we would never ever surrender. Now that enemy has taken another form and it’s coming from within. By raising each other up, we enrich the whole country, and make us stronger and more resiliant to this threat.
So as the days begin to get brighter, and Friday the 29th March 2019 grows ever closer amid the chaotic death knells inside the Houses of Parliament, we need to realise it’s us as a people that have the strength to carry on and perservere. To keep pushing on regardless of the outcome next year. Keep the peace alive, keep the hope glowing, and let’s remember why we have the word ‘Great’ at the start of out nation’s name.
Much love to you all.
Have an amazing Christmas (or Yule, or whatever you celebrate), and a fantastic New Year!
Footnote: This post pretty much came out of nowhere. I feel I needed to write about the worries of some of my friends and clients, as well as the impact it’s having on the mental health of people. This and the fact this unique year is growing to a close. I did initially start writing about my own experiences of this year, but felt that was a bit boring.