Friday, 10 July 2020

Five Things in Lockdown

The people close to me will probably know that I have not coped with some of the recent changes to society in the best way. I am not doing too badly now but in March my life completely changed. It was as if my four wheels completely fell off and everything stopped.

For the benefit of anybody on the planet that does not know what is going on, that was when Covid-19 was declared a worldwide pandemic and the UK joined many other countries around the world in lockdown.

Disabled people such as myself, are considered highly vulnerable and have been given stricter measures to shield and isolate. This is not necessarily because we are at higher risk of getting the deadly disease unless our immune system is compromised; it is because if we do contract it, we are more likely to become seriously ill and die. I do not know anybody who is ill with covid-19 and I do wonder if the statistics have been exaggerated slightly to fulfil a larger government agenda but that is a subject for another article. I do know two people who have died with a diagnosis of covid-19 including my friend Matthew who had the same disability as me.

Throughout the lockdown I have experienced many feelings and emotions I have never had to deal with before and it has been difficult (understatement!). So here is my list of 5:

1.     Coronavirus anxiety.

The pandemic that has the entire world in its scary grip of death. Whether you believe that it is as prevalent as we have been told or not. Nobody can prove otherwise and whether or not we agree with the lockdown or other precautions that we must take is irrelevant because we must all do our best to protect each other. I hate not being able to organise things, not going out and not socialising, my poor Steve has had to put up with more random emotional reactions from me in the past four months then ever but if it truly protects the people that I love, then I will put up with the fact that I have no life outside the walls of my house anymore.

2.     Fear.

I thought I knew what fear was. Having a life-limiting degenerative disability and being a fan of scary movies and scary fiction can provide that perspective. However, I do not think I truly knew what it was to be afraid. Firstly of some evil deadly virus that might be out there, that we can't even see to fight off (not a zombie), then the people that I love and care about dying and now of the government agenda and what the future might be for me because I am sure that I do not fit into whatever their agenda is. I will admit that my fear and anxiety has, at times, been overwhelming me quite severely during lockdown. Causing physical and emotional reactions. It is not really fear for myself, it is fear for others and for the future. I find it difficult to see a future outside of lockdown particularly for people who are disabled. I'm finding it difficult to see how the people who have been shielded and isolated will be reintroduced into society easily and I even feel paranoid that this is a malevolent government plot to lock away and get rid of disabled and old people. I do not think I am alone in this fear. I hope that I am wrong and this really is just cabin fever.

3.     Confused

Difference is one of my favourite things about the world. I love that everybody is an individual. I love meeting and learning from people from all cultures and backgrounds and identities. The horrific death of George Floyd and the continued rise of the Black Lives Matter movement means that difference seems to have become a bad thing rather than something to be listened to and acted on. This bothers me because some of the greatest people that I have ever seen or heard of or known have been completely different to myself and I love that but now it seems that people who are different and have a different opinion are being labelled as wrong. People are not the same but that does not mean that anybody is wrong. It does mean that our society is uneven and is wrong because it favours some people more than others, this is completely incorrect and should not be endorsed. Does the fact that I am white make me racist? The subject of racism and white privilege has not only raised the subject of skin colour it has also raised questions concerning gender, sexuality, size and age. Am I sexist and against transgender people because I like Harry Potter and agree that only women can menstruate? Does it make me xenophobic and guilty of fat shaming because I laughed at Fawlty Towers, Little Britain and Gavin and Stacey? Or sexist because I enjoyed someone’s lame jokes? We cannot change history and destroying it and making comedians apologise just because the jokes have not aged well is pointless and instead of destroying the past perhaps, we should concentrate on building a better future.

4.     Alone.

As a visibly disabled person I have always had a lower self-esteem. I feel that because I can't exercise, my feet are bent out of shape and I can't wear shoes, my muscles are not very strong, my hand dexterity is stupid and I can't play the Xbox games I want to Basically my body is awful and I can’t even eat what I want. I do not find that depressing because I have come to terms with what I look like and I am able to accept myself. I do not like everything but at least I can smile at people and express myself. A smile can convey many emotions, happiness, sarcasm, sadness, annoyance, anger. My vocals do not always work but at least I can smile. People have a tendency to stare but at least I can smile at them. Now that I wear a mask, I cannot even do that. Well I can but it is kind of pointless because they cannot even see the smile behind the mask.

5.     Grateful.

I know this sounds odd because I have just listed everything that I am finding it difficult to deal with but I am grateful to my mum and to my boyfriend Steve and to my carers and to our weekly Zoom quiz team for their support, both physical and mental during this time. I highly doubt that I would have managed to pull myself through this in a decent enough state to be able to write this article for you without them.

This moves me nicely on to my conclusion. How do we move on with this when we don't know what the future holds? Nobody can say what the world is going to be like when or if this ends or whether we will have some kind of new normal to get used to. So all we can do is concentrate on now. Enjoy the little things like hobbies and music and watching Netflix, surround ourselves with the people that we love and care about as much as we can and take everything day by day. Do everything you can to make yourself happy and keep going.

Live in the moment.

Lots of hugs from a socially acceptable distance, Emma.

Me in my mask:

Below my friend Matthew Law:

Below Dr Peter Tun


  1. Congratulations: I've nominated you for the Sunshine Blogger Award!
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    1. Thank you so much Richard, I am glad to know you x