So, here we are again. I was hoping and praying I’d never have to resurrect The C Word series I started at the beginning of lockdown in March – my way of trying to do something to help people feel somewhat supported over the crazy few months. But here we are, entering lockdown 2.
I felt so helpless back in March, feeling so sad for the world and for everyone’s overwhelming situations, and I wanted to do something to basically make a space on the internet feel like a frickin’ support group to let us ordinary people have a voice to just rant/vent/share exactly how we were feeling.
There was a lot of media coverage about how people in positions of power were coping, or how frontline workers were attempting to deal with the horror in their lives, but I felt like there was nothing about the ordinary folk, those living behind the doors on your street, and I thought that mental health support was lacking.
So, I started The C Word podcast and blog series to get frickin’ honest about basically how shit everything was, and to give a voice to those feelings we were feeling ‘guilty’ for having. And loads of you got involved and shared really brave, honest stories and not only did it support me a lot over that period, but I hope it helped some of you in a small sense, too. I really think there’s nothing better than just TALKING about how you feel with others – it really helps.
Today, I want to compile a bumper feckin’ post of positivity and unashamed unwillingness to back down in the face of challenges – because, do you know something? I am so FECKIN’ FED UP of feeling low. This is our reality again. Lockdown 2. I’m not trying to pretend it’s not going to be challenging. It’s going to be horrible, yet again, and no one deserves to be put through another lockdown. It’s going to severely impact thousands of people’s mental wellbeings, it’s going to destroy livelihoods and it’s going to make the economy suffer more than it is already. We’re going to feel isolated, lonely, angry, low, and sad at times. I’m not going to sugarcoat this post and pretend we won’t.
But what I want to do today is arm us with some bloody much-awaited positivity for us to think about as we enter lockdown 2. I reached out on Instagram and asked you lot what you have to be grateful for RIGHT NOW and what was remotely positive about the last lockdown. Let’s get optimistic, because it’s optimism which will get us through this.
I am a massive believer that even in the most challenging times, there is SOMETHING to be grateful for. In the most challenging year of my life so far, back in 2016 when my dear Dad passed away, even in those absolutely horrific days after he left us and I couldn’t think straight and couldn’t function properly, I felt grateful for the love of my family, the kindness of my friends, the person my Dad had shaped me to become.
I’m also a big believer in reframing trauma to make something positive from those challenges, because you can go one of two ways: get caught up in something you cannot change, fall deeper into depression and constantly wish your circumstances were different, or you can acknowledge your sadness, acknowledge that nothing will unfortunately change, and instead work on the growth that that experience has afforded you. I know I’m a more considerate, thoughtful person who thinks deeply after losing my Dad – I want to help people; I don’t want anyone to feel alone in their struggles. And I’ve tried to reframe my trauma and feel grateful for that learning and growth. And we can do that with lockdown 2.
So, let’s do this. Let’s bring the optimism.
I asked, what do you have to be grateful for? You responded with this:
- ‘Being able to see people walking their puppies on the square next to my flat’ @ssarahelizabeth
- ‘I’m grateful for my friends’ @ellamaybury
- ‘I’m grateful for having worked so hard on myself this year and that I’m so much stronger now’ @ellamaybury
- ‘I got my first writing job since I lot a client back in January! Timing couldn’t have been better!’ @ellie_desbaux
- ‘I’m grateful for University’ @roe.hamilton
- ‘Right now I am so grateful for the health of myself, my friends and my family. Although I think our mental health has taken a hit over the last few months, I’m just so happy that none of us have been physically affected by the virus. I’m also incredibly grateful that I’ve had a roof over my head and food in my belly throughout everything, and I’ve not had to worry that I may lose either one.’ @gracebeeuk
And I asked you to think back and remember what was remotely, even slightly, good/positive/good-feeling-close-to-happy about lockdown 1. Something we can remember as we go into lockdown 2. I said it could be the smallest of things (like mine: the chance to read more; more time for self-care; and mornings listening to the seagulls outside my flat) – and this is what you responded with:
- ‘I got back into arts and crafts! Being creative helped me cope so much better!’ @ssarahelizabeth
- ‘I saw what was important and helped carve my path and leave shitty people behind’ @ellamaybury
- ‘The chance to stop… Properly stop for a while’ @ablondeinbristol
- ‘New hobbies, meeting new people online like YOU who are amazing, now lovely friends’ @a_little_insight (Chloe, you are a babe)
- ‘Time to slow down’ @ellie_desbaux
- ‘Having time to do NOTHING’ @roe.hamilton
- ‘The pandemic and subsequent lockdown have been awful but in all honesty I learnt a lot last time around and although it wasn’t an enjoyable time, there are some aspects of lockdown life I actually want to keep once this pandemic is over. I’ve picked up a lot of new interests this year and I will forever be grateful of the time I got to spend with my parents during all this – even if we do drive each other up the wall some days!’ @gracebeeuk
Now, spend a second thinking about how all of this relates to you. What are you grateful for right now? What did you find gave you some respite and optimism in lockdown 1? I hope you can draw on these as we go into lockdown 2. Sending you all lots and lots of love – I know we can do this. xxxx