Isolation and anxiety
Hello my lovelies! My name is Harriet and I run the Instagram account @making_ahouse_ahome and the website www.homewithharriet.co.uk. I am honoured to have been asked to write this blog post for SANE to discuss my experience with isolation and the impact on mental health.
There is no denying that we are living in very scary, unsettling and uncertain times right now. Nothing is normal, emotions are high and routine has gone out of the window for a lot of us!
This can feel quite overwhelming and can have a huge impact on our mental health and wellbeing. This situation has never happened before, we cannot be expected to know how to adapt or cope…
It is our job to find a way and to support eachother through these challenging times. Routines are disrupted, normal activities are on pause, things feel odd right now… so how can we get through it? Self-isolation can be tough, particularly for those of us suffering with ill-mental health.
Personally, my anxiety has been through the roof! It can be hard to deal with the feelings of constant worry and panic. When you ask if I’m ok I’ll say I’m fine but being completely truthful, even living in lockdown I still don’t feel enough.
I want so badly to be the Pinterest Mum, with all the amazing daily activities and homemade fun… but most days I’m just the Netflix or Disney+ Mum, simply trying to survive and get through another day. Drowning in coffee and dropping all the plates of life that I’m so desperately trying to juggle. I wish I had more energy and motivation, I wish I could be more fun and creative but surviving this is tiring.
My partner is a key worker and I worry every day about who he may be coming into contact with and if he may catch something and bring it home to our young children, however, I’m also very thankful he is still working and hasn’t lost his job! I know a lot of people are really struggling financially right now so I feel lucky we don’t have that extra strain.
It’s very challenging living with mental health problems on a day to day basis, let alone when there is a worldwide pandemic! I used to struggle to meet my own basic needs when I was at my worst, now I am having to look after myself, as well as two very dependant toddlers, and running a household. I’m also trying to work from home at the same time, it really is a juggling act!
I won’t lie some days I struggle a lot, we stay in our PJs and watch too much TV… but we are clean, fed, watered and healthy. Most importantly of all, we are safe and my boys are loved more than anything. They are my anchors as much as I am theirs, especially right now!
As hard as it is being a Mum right now, struggling without time to struggle, I couldn’t be more grateful to have my boys to keep me positive and pushing through. Their gorgeous little faces give me so much motivation to get up and try! Even on the days I wish I could just curl up and hide.
To them I am their world and they are too young to have any worries about what is going on outside, so I just need to be here for them and try to make things seem as normal as I can. It doesn’t matter if you’re the Netflix or Disney+ Mum, or if you’re the Pinterest Mum, as long as you are doing your best then you are enough.
You are alive and healthy and so are your children. For that you should be proud because you are doing something right.
Another few things that have been helping me deal with the current situation are –
I love baking so that makes me happy but I’m also trying to be productive and use this time to learn to cook more from scratch, and be more creative with recipes.
Clean home, happy home!
I find cleaning is a great therapy for my Anxiety and great way for me to switch off from everything else and lose myself in the task.
I absolutely love writing and it’s another fabulous outlet, whether it be writing poetry or blog posts like this! It’s a good distraction.
I started Yoga from home, something I have never done before but thought would benefit me to learn.
It’s helping me feel more positive and in-tune with my body, the breathing exercises are very helpful when I feel panicky.
I really urge people to do what makes them feel happy and safe! (As long as it is safe and not damaging to yourself or others. Different things suit different people, we all have our own things that work for us and help us to cope. It could be as simple as curling up with a book/film or having a nice soak in the bath.
Some other examples could include exercise, arts & crafts, knitting, crochet, music, reading, etc.
It’s also very important for us to discuss how we are feeling, to be open and to confide in others. No one is going through this alone. We are all in this together, we are all unsure and we are all feeling a little confused.
In times like this we need to pull together, we are facing the same thing and we need to work through this. The more we discuss the impact this is having on us and how we feel, the more likely we can reach others feeling the same way and offer mutual and emotional support. A lot of us are having to adapt to the situation – maybe you are working from home and don’t usually, or maybe you have just had to change the structure of your week.
SANE have a wonderful community, there are many ways we can contribute and interact with one another. By simply writing this blog post I hope that I will be reaching someone that may need to see it! I am sending a virtual hug to anyone that needs one right now and am issuing a reminder that it is ok to feel lost/confused/upset/overwhelmed, just remember this is TEMPORARY.
Together we will get through this and as I like to say… stick the Virtual Kettle on!
I urge you to phone or text a friend, make an e-mail penpal or reach out to someone on social media. We need human contact and interaction now more than ever, to help keep ourselves in higher spirits and overcome the overpowering feelings that may be trying to consume us. Never under-estimate how much impact a simple message can make, it can mean so much just to be thought of.
Every single person is worth more than the mental health problems trying to destroy them. Unfortunately, many people will not have access to their usual support network at the moment – whether that be socialising with friends, support from family or even professional help from a counsellor.
It is important that we look out for one another and are aware of how others may be feeling, especially if they aren’t able to turn to their familiar method of support. It’s also incredibly vital to have positive distractions and coping mechanisms, whatever that may be. We must remember to prioritise our own mental health and look after ourselves. My inbox is always open and I try to be as responsive and supportive as I can!
Please check in on others, remember to take this day by day and don’t be afraid to reach out to someone if you need extra support yourself! Stay home, stay safe. Remember, even if you are struggling you are never alone, soon this will all be over and we will tell the story of how we found a way to cope.