What an experience these past months have been. Before lockdown, I was tired of feeling anxious, so, made a referral for support. After, I completed a few cognitive behaviour therapy sessions to improve my mental health and address my thoughts. Around a month later, we went into lockdown.
In the Moment
I did not want to become overwhelmed by the lockdown, so addressed things day by day. I ignored the stressful tasks I had to do and focused on my usual mother duties and spending quality time with my son. It was lovely as I was in my world of denial that the stressful tasks that I had to do would disappear. I was living in the moment, feeling relaxed with no anxiety as I blocked out my thoughts. I was myself. My son enjoyed being at home. Taking things day by day initially worked, however, the lockdown was extended, and I realised that I had to take a different approach.
Shielding and Food
Stress slowly began to creep in when I had to shield my son and found it difficult to access food. I did not have the time to look online for a food delivery slot. My son’s school helped me access an emergency food parcel. After I accessed food delivery from a wholesaler then thankfully, later on, I received priority access for online delivery. My parents and partner helped me out with managing the food shops too. They also helped to drop off food to me until I was able to receive online delivery.
At this time, there was plenty of opportunities for my anxiety to increase and take over. I found mindfulness colouring helpful.
As well as helping my son with his schoolwork, I had to start tackling my tasks, on my to-do list, I could not put them off any longer. At this point, I realised that there was a lot to do. I would like to believe that I am a machine and can do everything; however, I am only human. I had done too much and became exhausted. I had to decline zoom meetings and focus on resting as my brain could not take on any more. I had to rest to give my brain a break and to conserve my energy.
I had all the intentions to remain positive throughout lockdown, but the thing is it is not realistic to for this length of time in this unprecedented situation. You have to allow yourself to go through the emotions of this experience.
At this point, I understood how essential finding opportunities for rest was. I did not want to burn out again.
Change to the Rules
Another layer of stress was all the changes to the rules, and confusion, which had quite an impact on our situation and decisions I had to make. My son has a rare chromosome disorder, and the relaxation of duties to children who have EHCPs (my son has one) put me in a situation where I had to make difficult decisions (for the best interest of my son) in a little time. I had to ring my son’s doctor a couple of times and email people to get clarification every time the rules change. Furthermore, every time the rules changed, I had to find a way of explaining them to my son along with using visual resources.
Highlights and Appreciation
I appreciated the support I received from family and charities who rang or emailed me to make sure that my son and I were ok.
The highlight of lockdown for both my son and I was May half-term week. We did not do much, because that is what we both needed. Another highlight is having to spend time with my son, bond with him and have great conversations about our interests, general stuff and talking about the current situation and how we are feeling about it. I got the opportunity to understand my son more on a deeper level.
Solace in Art
We both took joy and found solace through art. Creativity has been a positive influence on our mental health and wellbeing during the lockdown.
Here is one of my son’s art pieces, which he has titled Patterns:
Here is one of my art pieces, which I have titled Different Perspectives. (to be viewed in two different ways)