• Mike Douglas

It Wasn't All Bad...

Well that was a bit crap wasn’t it. 2020 was indeed a very different year. It was a year that truly showed we are not all in the same boat. We were not all equally affected by the pandemic and we are not all equally affected or supported in day to day life.


There’s been a lot said about 2020 and how crap it’s been, and that is definitely true. But it hasn’t been all bad. There’s been some great and important things in 2020.


Additionally the bad parts of 2020 will not just magically end this January. In fact this week I’ve read a couple of articles that say our continued climate change means pandemics are more likely to happen now than ever before.


Given the recent negative experiences many of us have had, to varying degrees (which is being arbitrarily linked to the calendar year of 2020); I wanted to reflect on some of my positive things from 2020.



Getting engaged

How could this not be my first positive. It’s been such a journey with love and with Laura. Loving is something I’ve had to re-learn, both for someone else and for myself. Right now getting married comes with many confusions, difficult decisions and a lack of knowledge of what can happen even just in the next week/ month with covid and restrictions still very much being part of 2021. But, I’m excited.

I’m excited to share our love and the continued development of our relationship. I love Laura so much.



Time with Laura

Speaking of Laura. The added time at home has meant more time together. We have had periods where we were both working from home, which meant we got to be lunch buddies. In the summer we even sat in the garden for our shared lunch breaks.


Not being able to go anywhere has also meant we’ve played more board games, with the rotating humouring call for “give me the rule book rule, that’s not the rule”. There was even table tennis on the coffee table, which Laura hated; which then lead to my great annoyance when she would win without trying, hahaha.


Constantly home working isn’t fun, but our shared time together has been one of my favourite things of this year.



More walking

Kind of an extension from the last point, as most of my walks have been with Laura, but I have also enjoyed walking more on my own. I think this has happened more this year, with not being able to go anywhere, being apprehensive about going to indoor venues, and of course in the last few months with an injured knee ruling out running.

Walking has been more than an exercise for me in 2020; its been an outlet, its been part of a mindfulness activity, its been reflection, and its been air, space and time.



Finishing (for now) my medication

I know at anytime I may need them again, but right now I’m ok. I’ve been ‘ok’ for about 9 months now, having started reducing my medication in April and taking my last tablet in July. Having been on medication for about 5 years this was a massive step for me and is one I’m still learning to acknowledge.

The additional time at home was also a support for knowing I could manage my withdrawal at home away for ‘the office’. Fingers crossed the recovery journey continues to continue.



Utilising existing technology (Facetimes, Zooms, Skypes and more)

I had already been using Skype for the podcast for a number of years, so audio and video calls are nothing new. But in 2020 they took on added meaning, importance and opportunity.

I have spoken to more people, attended more meetings and conferences than ever before. It’s been a great year for utilising existing technology. Throughout I’ve tried to always use/ look to use technology in a way that can be continued; so not ‘just for now/ covid’. There’s been some massive moves forward for accessibility this year. We need to make sure that progress isn’t lost or ignored when we move forward.



The third year of MHBA

Speaking of accessibility, this year was great. Massive thanks to our sponsors and speakers for supporting and being part of MHBA 2020. Hosting the event online worked really well, and there were some amazing conversations happing on the day. I'm already looking forward to this year's event.



Seeing the successes of friends

I’ve seen such as variety of successes from friends this year. Some have started new jobs, some have become new parents, some have started therapy/ counselling. A huge huge massive well done to everyone starting something new in 2020.


I’d also like to thank all my NHS and Teacher pals. You have such hard and essential jobs and are frequently under appreciated.

Also to my key worker mates, I think you’re mostly food retail, thanks for ensuring the shops are a safe place to be and to get supplies from. Also to all the delivery drivers in Fareham, I think we’ve seen most of you now, hahaha.



Inspirational Leadership

In a year when, in my opinion, we’ve had inappropriate inadequate and negligent leadership in government; I’ve been so proud and inspired by people like Captain Tom, Marcus Rashford, Greta Thunberg and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.


We’ve also seen greater attention given to the voices of organisations like Black Lives Matter, Women in Sport and those fighting for workplace/ community inclusion and accessibility.


It’s been a hard difficult sad year. No buts.

Rather, in addition, it has also been; a year that many amazing things have happened. Things have happened to us individually, regionally, nationally and globally. It’s not all suddenly going to change in January, rather our journeys continue.


Hopefully we can all meet again soon. Hopefully we can all share the large or small successes we’ve had in 2020 and remember there is always something; there’s always a shining light somewhere.


I don't like saying “happy new year/ Christmas” etc, because for me it implies forced happiness. So instead I’ll close on, best wishes to you and your circle. Hopefully see you soon.