There are people praying and clapping for Boris’ recovery, praising him as the martyr who has had to deal with this unprecedented disaster to the best of his ability. I hope he gets better too, but he’s one individual and yet his actions, or lack thereof, have affected thousands of lives and I don’t see why he should be placed on a pedestal for unremarkable leadership. I find it hard to forget the utter shambles of a “herd immunity” scheme that was quickly abandoned when it was realised that the ship was rapidly going under, nor am I able to forget the persistent cuts over the years to the 1 remaining pride and joy in this country: the NHS. MPs are taking a hefty £10,000 addition to their wages, a boost for the remote working they’re currently doing from the safety of their homes. How about diverting all that mullah towards valuable equipment, research and bodies on the frontline?
It’s alright avoiding the politicisation of this pandemic and choosing to put to bed any critique of our government’s actions, as though they’re pardoned because they’re trying to control a freakish event that only dystopian fiction and sci-fi films have addressed so far. That approach isn’t going to change shit though and I’ll be damned if we come out of this whole thing and try to resume life as normal, pick up where we left off etc. This is literally a massive natural detox that should be helping us to evaluate our lives and how we contribute to the overall big picture: OUR WORLD.
So yeah, look at the responses across the globe. Look at the fatality rates in countries that prioritise healthcare and the wellbeing of their society. Look at the language used by leaders who have also had to make difficult choices in enforcing measures that affect all citizens.
Yes, the pressures must be immense for any leader during this time. However, praising somebody for turning up to the game late isn’t going to erase the amount of fatalities that could have been prevented with clearer restrictions at an earlier period. It wasn’t as though the UK was going to escape being hit, it wasn’t as though there weren’t already patterns emerging across Europe which had required drastic unprecedented measures…
People are turning their time and resources to propping up the NHS, donating any spare pennies and sewing up masks because there’s barely enough PPE for those battling this craziness on the frontline. That’s an awesome collective action and shows that we have community spirit when the shit hits the fan, which is great, but maybe we should be addressing the fact that we’re propping up services that have been absolutely battered by austerity cuts. Overworked and underappreciated, it’s a shame that it’s taken this awful situation for the general public to unite and acknowledge the strain on health workers, many of which are immigrants and “low-skilled” (according to Priti Patel).
I fucking love Jacinda Ardern 💜 I love the fact you can be a compassionate leader and still get shit done. I love the fact that this woman has bigger balls than any male leader across the globe right now. The sweet, sweet irony.
Against all odds, I started a new job in November. It was significant and ultra scary after a year of unemployment, plus it had only been a few months since the final end of my master’s course. I was without direction and honestly lacking a sense of my own identity, with everything having changed so majorly. So it was pretty overwhelming, thinking about the fact I’d miraculously landed my first full-time job after the successful completion of uni. I got my own desk. I got my own laptop. I got my own telephone number on the company directory. It was surreal.
The commutes were great initially (let’s not talk about the train timetable changes in December…). The colleagues in the office were lovely and very patient with me. My family were supportive and encouraging, proud that I was settling in. It was really good.
However, the irony is that around the time I started the job, I stopped practicing all of the amazing self-care routines that I’d spent the summer creating. Yoga, healthy eating, daily workouts, hypnotherapy tapes at night, regular meditation etc. It was like, at the first sight of normality, I regressed into all of the bad habits that I knew had led me to ultimately feeling so low earlier in 2019. I threw myself into work whole-heartedly and did my usual self-destructive thing: juggling as much as humanly possible (finishing a distance-learning course alongside a full time job), working longer hours than I was contracted to (unpaid, might I add) and being silly enough to work straight through lunch breaks (taking no time to stop and do something recreational for myself). I bailed on plans with friends several times and beat myself up about it, constantly. I was drinking a lot of alcohol again and deeming it acceptable because I deserved it, after a hard day at work.
As a result of numerous stressors, predominantly ones designed by yours truly, I felt quite low during my last week at work and had a bit of a spontaneous cry at the office. I was exhausted. I also began to realise that even with numerous drastic changes in my life, for the positive, I was still feeling not so great. I think I’d felt guilty for a few weeks, constantly telling that internal voice to shut-up and stop being sad. I was starting to get my life together, so why was I feeling so bad? Why was it that, even with gratitude leaking out of every pore, it was still possible to feel so horrible and possess such a cripplingly low self-esteem? It turns out that depression and anxiety don’t just disappear overnight. They’re not purely situational diagnoses’ and they sure as heck defy sense. You can have all the components of a perfect existence under your belt and that won’t make a difference, if you have depression and/or anxiety. This is the sad truth yet when acknowledged, it can also be a liberating one. Sometimes resistance is futile and its more empowering to accept that you’re not where you want to be just yet, but you will be some day. That’s enough. Whilst I’d made undeniable progress in my journey to recovery, there was still so much more left to overcome. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s okay! There’s no bloody deadline date! It’s a lifelong commitment to preserve myself and be less of an asshole, where possible. I have to learn and I have to grow, yet to do both I also have to suffer sometimes because life can’t just be rainbows and butterflies. Humans aren’t infallible- they break and they bend and need to go through stressful environments and situations in order to take a stronger form.
Over Christmas, a busy period of time spent catching up with a never-ending conveyor belt of family faces, I realised that I had to commit to change. It was so nice to be able to savour the time with loved ones and it gave me a much needed reality-check in time for the new year. There’s no point putting so much time and effort into self-care if it’s only being done in an opportunistic window. You have to fight to change your lifestyle and to ingrain the practices that keep you grounded into your daily routine, at any cost. You have to appreciate your efforts, whether they bloom into what you wanted or fail, because at least you tried.
So my goal for 2020 is to really push for balance. A career is great but not without down-time and personal commitments. I want to manifest a vision of strong physical and mental health, confidence in my abilities as a writer and singer, an abundance of financial gain (earned through persistence and hard work) as well as an improvement in self-worth. I want to see my friends and truly treasure them, so that they go to bed every night with no doubt that they are loved and cherished. I want to finally accept that I am deserving of respect and that I am entitled to space from people and situations that are toxic.
2020 will also be the year I finally make philanthropy a priority. I want to give time and whatever resources I possess to various causes, local and beyond. It is no secret that our world is riddled with social and environmental concerns that need to be addressed with activism, fundraising and awareness. I want to be part of that fight and I want to be part of some positive change, even if its for only one person.
Those are my intentions. Those are my primary focuses in 2020. Though things are looking and feeling pretty scary, I am determined that things are going to get better.
On a final note, despite all my woes in 2019, I also have to acknowledge that it was a year of many victories, even if I didn’t have the capacity to truly appreciate them at the time. I:
Handed in my master’s thesis with minor corrections (literally grammar and punctuation changes were suggested).
Started a very candid and open conversation about mental health, which has been extremely challenging in previous years. I received lots and lots of supports from loved ones and strangers, far and wide.
Got to spend a lot of quality time with my family for the first time in many, many years.
Went to therapy and also overcame my aversion to medication, trying antidepressants at the recommendation of my amazing GP.
Started blogging again, making an active effort to post on a weekly basis.
Read, and enjoyed, way more books than in previous years.
Completed a distance-learning course in Mental Health Awareness.
Bagged a guest spot on a website about female worth.
Started an enjoyable job that actually has some relation to the degree I did.
I mean, that’s pretty damn impressive for somebody who had effectively given up on life and spent around 6 months physically unable to leave the house. If that’s what I managed whilst fully incapacitated, I can only wonder how much potentials this year holds!
I hope that I will look back at this post in the future and feel some gratification, in knowing that I acted on all of this. I also hope that you, dear reader, will be doing all that you can to manifest a brighter 2020 for yourself and your world💜🌍