As a nation, we are just about to come to what is for most of us a situation that is unprecedented. The lockdown was the closest thing the UK has come to what it would have been like to live in times of war.
No socialising, food running out, unable to see family, people dying, it’s not been pleasant.
During WWII, we had to go to war to save our nation, but this time around all we had to do was sit on our sofa’s, no big deal then?
Well yes, no big deal if you put the two situation’s side by side, we have not been sent to die in a war due to Covid19, we are not being bombed by Nazi war planes.
So this should be much easier right?
To a point I guess yes it is easier, much easier in fact, but on the flip side of things it’s just as bad, if not worse.
At the risk of being labeled a “snowflake” let me explain.
There was a war, it was a biological one, one that no one could bomb, shoot or politic away.
Food ran out, no big deal if you are young but extremely scary if you were old and immobile. Then there was the social distancing which created a situation not even experienced during the war. Dying alone!
Of all the things during lockdown, the fact that you could not be around dying or dead loved ones was unprecedented, this didn’t even happen in times of war and there was never a blueprint to deal with that.
Asking a human being not to see or be there for someone that is dying is asking a human being not to be human. It is the absolute opposite of our genetic makeup. Yet this happened to thousands of people and families in the UK over the last 10/12 weeks
Then there was the death toll, up to and over 1000 people on some days and the terror that came with that. Then there was the lockdown where millions of people who had a routine was told to immediately stop.
The impact of this was grossly underestimated, we only hear about lazy people on the media who want to scrounge benefits. The reality is the vast majority are in jobs and have been for decades and taking that way from them is an adjustment not made easily. Then there was the indignity of having to go to universal credit to make ends meet and realising just how unrealistic and punishing the benefit system is
As humans we are creatures of habit, dealing with COVIID19 has been more easily said than done. Then just as we are getting our heads around lockdown and dealing with the changes we are presented with post lockdown anxiety.
So did we just survive a war? – That’s a double barrelled question
Yes there was a war, it quite a bad one. It was a biological and mental one and it’s been going on for much longer than COVID19 has. Some of us will come out of it unscathed, others won’t and we cannot risk leaving them behind.
Did we survive it? – The answer to that question is that we don’t know!
There is possibility that we didn’t as survival isn’t a destination but a journey. We will only know once we gather data on mental health post lockdown which will take some time.
Do we have PTSD from it? Almost certainly!
So, where are we all at mentally and physically now that we are ending the lockdown?
The true answer to that is we really don’t know, because while everyone focuses on the lockdown ending, we tend to forget all the other things that happened in 2020, not just here but worldwide.
We had Kobe Bryant die in a freak helicopter crash, the Australian bush fires, don’t forget that small issue of Brexit!
Coronavirus, the general election, Weinstein and Epstein sagas, cancellation of the Olympics.
The footage of George Floyd being suffocated to death live on our TV screens like a snuff movie, what was the impact of that on the mental health of the BAME community?
Then there was the BLM protests and race riots.
I can carry on adding this list and we still have an American election coming up and the worldwide consequences of that
Let’s say that 2020 has not been the easiest year and one that everyone will be happy to put behind them
So has it been all bad? – I guess that depends on how you look at things.
COVID19 let us all know that we are all human, rich or poor, black or white, young or old it was coming to get you, that got us all together and caring for each other.
We realised that the real celebrities and heroes in life was not on Love Island, but work for the NHS and blue light services. We learned that these institutions can never ever again be underfunded again or sold off.. This got all generations on the same page for the first time in a long time.
We learned that the universal credit system was archaic and not suitable for use. it has been designed as more of a punishment than a benefit and in dire need of a total overhaul.
We all realised that slowing life down a little bit was good for us. It forced us to be with our families and loved ones in an intense manner for better or worse, which made us reevaluate our priorities.
It gave us a much needed breather.
It helped us to take a long hard look at our wellbeing and life habits and most importantly it bought the words “mental Health” into every household in the UK. What we do with that is a completely different article!
So the list of beneficial things learned, is long as the list of bad things that has occurred.
One thing we can be sure of is that each of us have been ripped apart by 2020 in various ways and that cannot be brushed under the carpet
This leave us with the some pressing questions
Are we really prepared and ready to get past COVID19?
Is the NHS ready to deal with our mental health in a brand new way?
Will the legacy of COVID19 be worse than COVID19 itself when it comes to the nations mental health?
With no real answers to those questions we can only be sure of one thing, we may have won the battle but there is a bigger war on the way and that is the war for our Mental Health.
We should plan and prepare!