Lockdown and Isolation

This week Mary Devereux shares how she is coping with lockdown and isolation.

It is hard to talk when you don't have anything positive to say - Two words that continue to send fear through us- lockdown and isolation.

We know them so well now, but it does not make it any easier.  Back in March 2020 at Lockdown 1, the sun shone, we walked, we talked, we cleared out our wardrobes and we baked until the flour ran out!

In November we got busy with online shopping and Christmas. But on the last day in December, what did we have?  I know I was afraid and panicked. We had an idea from the first lockdown what was ahead of us.

We did not want to talk about our jailer Covid 19 yet all we were doing was just that, but it quickly moved to switching off from it, not watching nor listening to the news and the awful numbers.

We did not want to hear the numbers anymore; it was getting too close for comfort. I, like a lot of people knew of friends and neighbours going through Covid 19 much more now than in March.

Isolation was something that we physically had to do. People are still going for their walks, but they do not want to meet anyone. The crowds frightened them; the joggers made them nervous but something new was also happening. This was isolation of the mind. We could blame some of this on the cognitive issues associated with Multiple Sclerosis. In my case I tend to forget until I am reminded, or something jogs my memory.

Friends and colleagues, who did not have MS, were also doing the same thing, avoiding meeting up. Slowly the connections we had with people were stopping. We were not ringing, Facetiming, WhatsApping, we were not meeting for coffee and all the other forms of communication we used to do, was not happening.

Not because people had been falling out or because things had changed but because there was nothing to say.  We hadn't been anywhere or met anyone or worse still, there was nothing good to say because the situations we now found ourselves in, partners and children out of work and back at home, financial concerns, not being able to see our families. Our lives have changed in unprecedented ways never to be known in our time.  Every one of us had the same worries.

You get yourself in to a place where the mantra seems to be “what is the point? There’s nowhere to go, there’s nothing to do. Who wants to hear about my problems? There is nothing positive happening in my life.” And we start to shut down and suddenly all we can hear is the silence in a house full of people or worse, if we are on our own, the silence in our head.

But when we do rouse ourselves, we realise the lonely silence is in our heads. When we make the call to someone or get a call, we DO rouse ourselves. We do not have to be lonely when we are in isolation.

We need to help ourselves. When we think of a friend, reach out and make the connection NOW. Do not put it off until later, tell someone your worries, you say them out loud; they do not seem so bad.

Remember, there are plenty of organisations to help including your local Multiple Sclerosis Ireland office. Take part in what they have to offer, even when it is online such as Zoom chats with other people. There is meditation, writing classes and much more all done over Zoom. They have helped me through this lockdown.

Even though the restrictions have been extended, I have to remember we will get to the sunny beach again; we will get to see our friends, to eat out, to HUG our Moms and Dads, our nearest and dearest.

Remember, light is at the end of the tunnel we have to believe and keep talking along the way.