It’s irrelevant how many times I repeat this word to myself because I don’t think I would ever get familiar with the burst of emotions I feel as a response to it.
They’re only three of the emotions I experience, but surely, I can’t be alone in experiencing these feelings, right? So, as I think back to the beginning and write it down for you, I’m confident that I’m not alone in experiencing these emotions.
Because, earlier in the year when COVID-19 meant nothing to most of us and we were basically ignoring or pitying the COVID struggle in other countries, I was in my own little world. I was finally taking control of the life that I had put on hold to care for my sister and trying to keep on top of everything and be there mentally for her and me. 2020 was supposed to be my year because I took back control and had applied to university to focus on a career that I had finally decided on. I was starting to travel out of Newcastle twice a month for respite and self-care. I was dressing the way I wanted and felt confident for once. I was succeeding in recapturing my goals but then March came around and it all changed.
Our way of life had been threatened but only to give our lives a chance to survive. We were locked down to make sure our NHS didn’t collapse from the influx of patients that were being admitted into hospitals. As the daily death toll rose and our NHS struggled to cope, we were reminded of the cuts and how poorly funded our NHS was and still is. We began to appreciate the NHS more.
I remember the PANIC felt in the air and the HOPELESSNESS to every decision that was made. Our daily routines were gone, and everything had changed. It was like you could taste the FEAR in the air, no one was going out unless it was to bulk buy pasta, toilet roll or to go for our daily walk. People were avoiding people and there was an air of hostility because hysteria had taken control. We became so used to our comfortable routines for decades that when a pandemic struck, everyone struggled to cope with it.
It felt surreal to me then and it still does but I’ve started to accept that this is our new normal.
I realise how lucky I am and I’m grateful for the people I have in my life, for still having a job, a roof over my head and food in my fridge during these UNPRECEDENTED times.