How are you? I don’t mean that in a general greeting kind of way, I mean seriously how are you? A simple expression that’s true meaning seems to get overlooked and answered with a generic and sometime untrue response.
I think we can all agree that 2020 has been an absolutely crazy and unpredictable year. Back in January, my biggest concern was passing my driving test but that seems like a distant memory considering what has taken over the world since. That being said, is it just me or does Covid-19 also feel like a distant memory now? Here in the UK, lockdown was lifted over a month ago and as the shops open up and the public return to work, everything feel like it’s back to normal. Sure, you have to keep 1 meter apart and there’s the introduction of face masks but nothing else has really changed. Work has returned to normal and visitors are allowed back into the hospital. There’s just this sort of fog that lingers in our memories that a few months ago, we were all locked into our homes, hoarding toilet paper and using Zoom to keep in touch with our loved ones. While I was driving home the other day, I had to remind myself that it is in fact July and not March. It’s just so strange.
So I go back to my initial question: How are you? If you are great then fantastic! I’ve had plenty of conversations with people recently who were able to find a positive to the chaos. A lot of my coworkers were shielding due to other health issues but they all seem to have come out of this healthier (mentally or physically). There are the people who have lost weight, taken up running as just some form of escapism from their homes. Some have taken up a new hobby such as a musical instrument. I have one friend who started knitting and is now half way through their first cardigan which is mighty impressive. One person I’ve spoken to is writing a book and several other people have taken the time to recharge, gained some headspace. It’s quite fascinating to see how people will use their time when you take away most of their freedom.
If you’re not so great, that’s also ok. It’s ok not to be ok. I know people who have really struggled during this time. Struggled being isolated, without the support of their families and friends or simply the lack of routine. I’m struggling and I’ve been able to work during the crisis. I’m struggling more post lockdown. I think for me (and a lot of key workers) while everyone else emerges from the fog, ready to get back to normal, we are all being forgotten about. We worked throughout. I saw Covid first hand. I saw people die. That isn’t something you can just forget nor do I want to because each patient was a life that may or may not be still walking this earth. It’s hard reading online, the ignorance that surrounds the new law to wear a face mask when entering a shop. The pure idiocy and entitlement people must feel to refuse to wear one. I, and my fellow key workers, have been wearing these masks (which are much better that the horrid FFP3 masks we were wearing) since March in order to protect the public and get us to a place where lockdown can be eased. The people who are shouting utter bullshit about “it’s against our human rights” (honestly I have seen far far too many comment on twitter saying this) to be forced to wear a face mask clearly haven’t seen or witnessed anyone with Covid. Because trust me, if they had, they wouldn’t be complaining.
I’m exhausted. Mentally and physically. There hasn’t been a time where we can sit and reflect on what happened during March, April and May. As soon as it was safe to, the elective program resumed and the workload only increased. I can’t speak for everyone but I feel like I’m on a massive come down, like everything is just catching up with me and my head doesn’t know how to cope. I feel equally inspired and deflated and while my blog is flourishing at the moment, I do fear what will happen when I finally ‘relax’. And will I ‘relax’ before the second wave (if there is one). Maybe I just need a break away from Norfolk. A chance to escape and spend a week just sleeping, writing and being with nature. It sounds like a dream. Only time will tell, my next annual leave (the first since January) is at the end of September and boy oh boy am I looking forward to it!
From 24th July 2020, until further notice, it is the law to wear a face mask/covering in shops and unless you have one of the listed reasons that exempts you, please, for the sake of yourself and the people around you, wear one. They are annoying and irritating, I know but you are saving lives each time you wear it. I and the NHS will thank you.