Second #Lockdown in the UK

London during Lockdown source CNBC

Oh well, here we go again. We’ve turned the full circle and with COVID-19 gaining the upper hand, we’ve been forced into lockdown for a second time.

My gut feeling is the government didn’t want to do this but in a worst case scenario, do we really want to see our NHS stretched to breaking point with a deluge of COVID patients before Christmas?

The way things are going, numbers have soared this autumn yet the 3-tiered system is not working. Scientists have warned the virus will spread, working its way gradually down south, so why make towns in the north suffer alone? We are all in the same boat, so it makes sense – and if the whole of the UK can buckle down for one month, let’s pray we can get the infection rate down again.

It is sad but unavoidable so what can we do?

For me personally I have to look at this as an opportunity. Our work has dried up but there is still plenty to do around the house and garden. For example, I never did get around to painting the kitchen but it really needs doing and it would be great to get another DIY project ticked off the list. I also want to look at gardening websites and YouTube videos, to adopt some new practises for my own garden. Growing Dahlias for example. Inspired by a trip to West Dean Gardens and their fabulous display of dahlias, it would be a dream to establish such healthy plants but all this requires a little work and planning.

Dahlias at West Dean Gardens

Christmas will be different this year but I like a challenge. I am already considering what home made gifts I can come up with and getting creative in the home can be very therapeutic.

Yes, it will be harder for others but my advice is it’s essential to keep yourself busy during lockdown. Long periods spent dwelling, wishing you could do things that you can’t are not good for your health. You are allowed to exercise so get out and about even if it’s just for a walk. I’ve seen many people take photos, write blogs and channel anxiety into something good. So here are some photos I took at Leonardslee Gardens yesterday afternoon, a last minute treat before the countdown started and I shall cherish the memories.

But this brings me onto the more negative side of lockdown.

Mental Health

The COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown has triggered a sense of fear and anxiety around the globe especially among young people. Much of this is down to loneliness during lockdown and in particular, a lack of physical contact with friends and family, boredom and the frustration associated with not being able to engage in activities that have been a part of their lives.

I try to put on a brave face and stay positive but some mornings I wake up with this paralysing fear – not only of the virus but the thought of losing loved ones. It has been touch and go with some family members; one elderly relative admitted to hospital with heart problems and another with Crohn’s disease (an auto-immune condition which has a tendency to flare-up in times of stress). Both are okay, but vulnerable and have to shield, since the effects of contracting COVID could be devastating. 

The true cost of COVID-19 on mental health however, has not yet been realised and something happened last week that hit me very hard.

I heard on the grapevine a friend of a friend had died. I met Graham last year and only as a result of some research I was engaged in for my current novel. I have my friend, Dan Jones, to thank for introducing us, an author who I met via Chindi (local network of independent authors in Sussex). Dan worked in a number of children’s homes in the 90s. Yet he was happy to share his experiences with me.

As the book is centred around a group of fictitious children’s homes, I was intrigued by what he could tell me, until ultimately his best friend came into the discussion. Graham was in the care system through the late 1990’s and Dan met him when he was homeless. Regardless of his problems, he turned his life around and after completing a degree in social work, ended working in care himself, looking after troubled youngsters in homes. He also won an award for being someone in care who had achieved something.

As Dan said (and I quote) “He would have stories to tell you, spent time homeless, missed education, mixed with all sorts of people, yet turned things around. So he knows what the scene was like here in Bognor during the 1990’s for teenagers in a difficult home environment and in the care system.”

I feel blessed he agreed to meet me and within the space of an hour, gave some fascinating insights into the feelings of kids being brought up in care or fostered (thank God I kept the recordings). His answers provided the last pieces of the puzzle and not only that. He shared some amazing stories and in manner that was humorous and colourful. I would even go as far as to say he was the inspiration behind Joe, one of the main characters, a great guy who turned his life around and left a lasting impression.

But I wish I had got in touch. If only I had told him how much his little anecdotes helped me and out of respect, I am definitely going to include a tribute.

News of his death weighs down heavily but brings it home to me how temporary and fragile life is, especially in the era we are living in now.

Do you know anyone who might be affected? Make contact to check they’re okay and stay in touch. It might make all the difference.

To end on a positive note, I am still in the process of editing my novel and 50% through so it is all coming together very well indeed. I would also like to say a few more words about Dan, who’s heartache is unimaginable.

So for those who are feeling anxious, suffering from stress and have trouble sleeping, Dan creates therapeutic relaxing sleep stories for adults and you can check these out by subscribing to his YouTube channel

I have a few favourites of my own, one being Lake Of Inner Discovery 😴 SLEEP STORY FOR GROWNUPS 💤

Stay safe and stay sane in the second UK lockdown.

HM Government poster to protect the NHS during the Coronavirus pandemic

4 thoughts on “Second #Lockdown in the UK

  1. Wandered over here via Dan’s facebook. He’s told spoken of the second lockdown there (I reside in the United States). Going into a lockdown again is rough but you are right to focus on the positive and the things that you can do. Sadly with the way our country is-COVID, violence, hate, politics etc. remaining positive is getting harder and the election has/is causing many, myself and my sisters included to lose faith in our fellow citizens. Despite this I know there is still good, I know that even if Trump wins we will survive it-it won’t be good but we can get through. It is so critical to remain connected to the friends and family we have, to check on those who you do not get to talk to as often. I did not know Graham personally but those of us who have been following Dan for a while have heard him speak highly of him many times and seen the videos they created and so I think many of us grew to care for and about him and will miss him as well, he was a kind soul. In regards to Dan, while many of us often let him know how much we appreciate him, I sometimes am not sure he truly realizes it. Thankfully my health is fairly well off. I sleep well for the most part, and though I have anxiety and depression it is pretty minor but many of his listeners have major depression and/or anxiety, as well as a variety of other mental and physical struggles, very often they tell him he is the only way they can fall asleep and that he has greatly improved their mental health. For others, like myself, he simply eases and quiets our minds, ease (or sometimes sucker punch) us into peaceful sleep-Lake of Inner Discovery is a favorite of mine as well-, reminds us to breath, remain positive and appreciate life, and take one day at a time.

  2. Hi there and thanks for visiting my blog. I have friends in America who I met in 1978 (age 13) when my dad took part in an exchange programme. We lived in Lockhaven, Pennsylvania for a whole year, I went to school there (8th Grade) and Dad worked at the University. I have fond memories and it’s largely down to Facebook I’m in touch with some of them but I understand where you’re coming from – it seems that under the Trump administration, things have gone from bad to worse with racism and inequality. Like you haven’t got enough to worry about with the pandemic, it makes me sad to see such a beautiful country in decline, because of this megalomaniac. One thing I did discover when I lived there, is it’s not a great country to be if you’re poor! We are very lucky in the UK to have our NHS and the furlough scheme has been a Godsend for those who have lost income. My husband and I are self-employed, as is my sister, but we all had grants. It’s been a stressful year with coronavirus and I sometimes wonder if it will ever end, but for now we have to adapt. Everywhere we go people wear face masks now, it seems like a completely different world. So I hope I can encourage people to find things to smile about no matter how small. I wholeheartedly agree with what you say about Dan too, a lovely guy who goes out of his way to help people. He went the extra mile to help me with my research and I was glad he put me in touch with Graham, a real inspiration. So it broke my heart to hear what happened. 

    In the meantime, take care of yourself and it’s good to meet you.

    1. Yes, there are many great things about our country but healthcare and in general the government ensuring its citizens wellbeing is not one of them. Many of us would greatly welcome a system like the NHS but there are those who are opposed because they feel it should not be a right/that they do not want to pay for somebody else’s care/well being, obviously I think that is ridiculous, for one it works both ways and secondly, ensuring that others are taken care of benefits the country as a whole and therefore individuals. I would love to find work self-employed but you are right that it is tough here. Well, I think we’ve had enough of the depressing talk for now, it’s important to try and focus on the good in life, especially right now, thank you for creating this blog to try share your positivity with others, I will be sure and follow.

  3. Hi again, yes I agree with all that and have heard the same sort of things banded about National Health care. In fact I was really surprised there was so much objection to President Obama’s reforms (for the reasons you’ve explained.) I hope you manage to keep afloat and you must be very pleased about the election result, so there is some light at the end of the tunnel. I am pleased my blog has inspired you and it’s been nice chatting.

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