I hate the phrase ‘new normal’. Much like the fact that I don’t like mental health being classified as ‘normal’ or ‘abnormal’. Quirky language bit of my brain aside, I think making judgements like that is something that makes it difficult to accept that we’re all a little…different. There’s no one way to be.
But… ‘new normal’ and ‘freedom day’…
In the UK, they’re referring to something that
may be (it actually has been postponed) postponed, called ‘Freedom Day’. In the UK, the day we lifted lockdown was literally going to be referred to (by our rather off-piste PM, I have to say) as ‘Freedom Day’ and all it really represented was us finishing lockdown and seeing if we see a new spike.
Don’t get me wrong. Since March of last year, things have been really difficult for many reasons. But my life had been about lockdown before lockdown was a thing. I’ve not left the house on my own for…. well, up until last week, with a few very notable exceptions, I’ve not left the house alone since around 2015, I guess.
It was insidious at first. I’d stop wanting to go into town unless I had a reason. Part of it, of course, was because of the really bad fall and learning to walk again, but by that point, we had a treadmill in the house. But I guess that’s around when I stopped leaving the house. By the time we were treated to the holiday *of a lifetime* (and I’ll be real, I’ve actually had two since mid 2015 – one in 2016, one in 2018) to Disneyland by my in-laws and hubby-to-be, they were making arrangements with the staff to make sure I wasn’t startled during large events, and I wasn’t able to leave the house. I wasn’t really working outside of the house either – I tried a few times but it never really…took, I guess.
My terrible mental health got worse too because I didn’t mesh with my care team and a few things were missed. By the time the pandemic was in full flow, it had kinda…snuck past me because I was dealing with my son’s kidney issues, and though he’d been cleared the morning we went into lockdown, there was something…almost unreal about what happened for those first weeks.
Privileged, I know
We weren’t badly affected by the furlough, though my own buisness didn’t qualify for any help, most of my time was actually spent supporting my young adult children through the various challenges that the pandemic was raising for their mental health, mine and everything else.
We are a year on now, and though a lot has happened, I actually think that I’ve come out of this a lot less ‘scathed’ than others, I’m not sure that any of us will know normal again.
And I don’t really know how to explain it. What I do know is that life – in all its forms are fragile and it’s hard to talk about it in terms that we all relate to because I can’t think of anything that is remotely like this, not in my experience.
Whatever the ‘new normal’ is, I hope our PM understands that his cliched behaviour and almost childish soundbites aren’t helping. Sound and fury, signifying nothing.
Kai is a writer, author and avid reader. A mental health advocate, Ludosport athlete and coder. She’s the mother of two young adults, owned by two cats, and lives with her beloved in the Cotswolds.