Confronting ourselves during lockdown
Last week Thursday, at 5pm, I donned a onesie and settled in for some much needed “time off” – and the first few days were almost euphoric: a complete break from reality. But as the numbers started rising, so did my fears. As the days stretched, so did my coping skills. I’ve come to learn that the world we usually live in, the one with all the stressors we complain so bitterly about, is the distraction from ourselves – and not the other way around.
When you aren’t distracted from them, all the things you try and hide from yourself come into view. If you suffer from anxiety, your anxiety gets worse. If you’re prone to depression, this is when you’re the most depressed. Insomniac? Don’t count on sleeping now. You may find yourself lying awake at night obsessing over every mistake you’ve made in life as far back as childhood. If you’ve ever experienced trauma and thought you’d appropriately worked through it, get ready for an emotional relapse.
What I want to say about it, however, is that this is all ok. There is healing power in being forced to confront ourselves. Don’t try and fight it this time. It’s ok to be miserable, it’s ok to be afraid, it’s ok to not be ok. This is the part that’s impermanent; what continues after is the fierce fighter you’ve always been.
Please reach out to your loved ones. They’re very likely going through something similar, and they are certainly not going to tell you about it. But a weekly call from you may just be the very distraction they need to get through the next wave of fear.
Brenda Leemans has been counselling families in her private practice since 2010. She has a passion for working with children and helping them develop the emotional skills they need to navigate their lives. She holds an Honours degree in Psychology from UNISA and is registered with the HPCSA.