A Crisis Mind
After adapting fairly quickly to our current lockdown crisis situation, I have been reflecting this week on why I found it an easy change at first and how it’s become harder.
TW: This post includes brief mention of suicidal thoughts and thinking.
In a strange way I think I have kind of always been mentally planning for this. Or rather something like this.
As a teenager and a young adult I wanted a Land Rover over any other vehicle. This was because I though it would be the best vehicle in an end of the world scenario. I had foreseen the panic, crisis and deprivation that could surround us; and that Land Rover was my way out. It would drive over the cracks in the ground that would appear as the world fell apart. As the unknown took it's stranglehold on the world, as we sunk to the depths of our existence, as people fought to survive, to access food or supplies... That Land Rover was to be my escape.
In all honestly, reflecting back, I still think that. It’s just, I learnt that Land Rovers are very expensive to run. So I’m holding off... for now.
I think my ‘crisis brain’ is part of the reason I have struggled to go outside more than once or twice a week for exercise during lockdown. It just feels like an unnecessary risk during a national and global crisis. Particularly as we have a home and a garden. So I have access to a small space and the outside. Maybe a '5 meter and turn around' walk would get dizzying. But it’s possible.
While I say to myself I should stay home and walk in the garden, I haven’t actually done this. I’ve mainly sat in the garden or stayed inside.
Balancing my ‘this is a crisis’ mind with the ‘let’s try and keep things normal’ mind has been hard.
I have also found balancing other people’s expectations quite difficult. Seeing a range of thoughts online is; to be expected. But when discussing plans for the rest of 2020, I have found it difficult to process thoughts and plans that have expectations of any lockdown lifting before July. Particularly when my thoughts have been based on an expected lockdown until August/ September.
As I’m writing this and as I’ve had conversations with Laura over the last few days, I’ve come to realise part of this struggle is that I’ve been mentally planning for a crisis/ end of the world scenario that just isn’t the world we are living in.
I can debate whether we should be taking more caution and whether we should be in ‘lockdown’ for longer. But I also need to acknowledge that for some reason I am more ready for, and expectant of, more serious sanctions and restrictions.
A reflection may be, that because of my life experiences I have been primed for, and now ‘light shade’ my thinking. I am too ready for things to get bad. It is as if an environment of panic and crisis is somewhere I feel more at ease. Here, I know what the situation is. Here, the objective is survival, and nothing more. I know where I am here.
Struggling to survive is something I’ve experience through my previous suicidal thoughts. It’s a place I don’t want to return to. Yet I seem to have, on some level, mentally aligned the current situation/ crisis, to that which I previously experienced.
The not knowing, the thought that other people don’t understand or can’t see what’s happening and the potential danger, the potential lose of life.
I do feel primed for isolation and withdrawal from the world. However, having survived my previous experiences and now having the support of a partner means this - I am primed, yep. But that’s not what I want, and I’ll continue to work on supporting a change. I’ll continue to write when I need to. I’ll continue to talk with Laura. I’ll continue to reflect and have moments of mindfulness when I need them.
While I struggle to justify and self explain why walking and exercising outside are important, I will keep up with the new garden time and occasional outside lunchtimes (eating outside at home is still a bit strange to me, but thats another story). I’ll keep opening the windows. I’ll keep letting the air and the light in.
I will do my best to continue to acknowledge that the world isn't falling apart, there are not cracks in the ground and I don't need to run for the Land Rover... just yet.
I hope you are keeping well and staying safe, particularly at this time.
I have found some of my thoughts challenging and confusing during lockdown, but I can manage them and their impact on me continues to be notable but not overpowering. If you are struggling and do need additional support, thats ok! There is a range of online support including places like Samaritans and Child Line. So please do access support if you feel it could help.