It’s OK to not be OK
Has life since March left you anxious, stressed or confused? Help is out there...
We know that people have been affected in lots of different ways by the big changes in the world since March.
You might have felt relieved or excited when lockdown was eased. But you might also find yourself feeling less positive about the changes. You may move through a range of difficult feelings and thoughts. For example:
- Stressed and unprepared for the changes that are coming or the uncertainty about what will happen in the future.
- Anxious, afraid or panicked that the changes may cause an increase in infections. Or that someone you care about may now be put at risk when they weren’t before.
- Angry or frustrated. Perhaps because people aren’t following social distancing rules, and now can’t avoid them. Or you feel that the changes are wrong, or the measures in place aren’t enough. Other people may seem to have more freedom than you.
- Conflicted or confused. For example, you may want to socialise more if it’s allowed, but feel like perhaps you should still stay at home.
- Protective of your lockdown routine, like you’d rather not have to deal with more change or uncertainty.
- Grief for people who have died, and that you want to avoid more loss.
- Uneasy about relationships that have changed during full lockdown.
- Distrustful of the Government’s reasons for changing the rules, or how things are portrayed in the media.
- Powerless, like you don’t have a say in anything that’s happening.
- There’s no ‘normal’ response to lockdown or lockdown easing.
- Your feelings might change. You might feel one way one day, and another way the next. It might not feel logical.
What could help me manage these feelings?
Some of the feelings you’re having now may feel difficult to manage. For those of us with existing mental health problems, they may be particularly tough. You might find it useful to try some of these suggestions.
- Get support from organisations who can help. There is a list of useful numbers at the end of this article.
- Talk to someone you trust. It might feel hard to start talking about how you are feeling. But many people find that sharing their experiences can help them feel better. It may be that just having someone listen to you and show they care can help in itself. If you aren’t able to open up to someone close to you, you can call Samaritans any time on 116 123.
- Express your feelings creatively. You might find that it helps to express how you are feeling about the easing of lockdown by writing, drawing, painting or any other creative way that feels helpful to you.
- Make choices to control the things that you can. Although the coronavirus outbreak means that your choices are limited, try to focus on the things you can change. It might be helpful to list the things you can change on one piece of paper and all the things you can’t on another.
Here are some handy numbers, should you need help or advice:
- Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust (Crisis service for those in mental distress) – 0300 0200 317
- Middlesbrough and Stockton Mind general enquiries number – 01642 257020
- Impact telephone number (For those experiencing stress, anxiety and/or depression) – 01642 573924
- Mind telephone befriending service – 01642 257020 (Ask to be transferred to telephone befriending team)
- Age UK telephone befriending ‘The Silver Line’ – 0800 4 70 80 90