• Suzanne Burrows


I’m briefly stepping away from writing news.

Life has changed so much since mid-March, and I’m sure you all know what I’m referring to. That damn virus!

Even if we haven’t caught the virus, it’s still affecting us. Many people have lost friends and family. I found the daily briefings quite surreal and terrifying. And the numbers. Those horrible numbers. We have been put on restrictions we never had to abide by before. I, for one, have been walking around in a haze half the time.

My husband was put on the government’s list of those more at risk of severe illness if he caught the virus and I am diabetic, so we spent three plus months shielding. It was a fight to get a shopping delivery as the supermarkets struggled with the demand, and people went crazy over toilet rolls.

We didn’t see anyone in our family circle for three months, and if I stepped out the front door and came face to face with a neighbour or God help me—a stranger—I fell into panic mode. For someone like me, who already suffers from anxiety and depression, it was a nerve-shattering situation. At times my head felt like it was caving in.

We’re cautious when we go out. We’ve used more bottles of hand sanitiser than we ever did while on holiday abroad and we are never without a facemask. I wear glasses so they are forever steaming. Shopping at the supermarket is a challenge on its own as after a while the masks seem to make my head spin and I feel queasy. While other shoppers wear masks below their noses and mouths. Do they seriously still not get how to wear the blasted things?

Even now with Lockdown over, people still can’t see loved ones as much as they'd like; if at all. When we were eventually let out (like caged animals) and able to visit our son and his family; it was wonderful. We could even call on my now eighty-seven-year-old dad. But due to keeping an eye on the social distancing rules, we had to sit on opposite sides of the room/garden, and when it was time to leave; when every ounce of my being wanted to hug him and give him a kiss on the cheek goodbye. I couldn’t. I still can’t. And it breaks my heart. It makes me feel as if I’m failing as a daughter, but I know it’s keeping him safer. Better to take every precaution.

So here we are. Months later, in this new world. Adapting to the ever-changing rules and World Mental Health Day on 10th October is almost upon us. We need to take a little ME/US time. There are so many more pressures since this all came about. People who weren’t affected by depression and stress may be discovering for the first time in their lives what it's like for those of us that always have lived with it on a daily basis, year in, year out.

Take care of your mental health. There are so many worries out there now, but take time to do something you love. Be with someone you love. If you need help then ask for it. I know how hard that can be but you can do it. I can. We all can get through this.

PS If you have a pet, hug them, stroke them. You’ll be surprised how therapeutic it can be.

Jess knows how to relax.

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