The Coronavirus Lockdown – Opportunity & Anxiety

Akashi Seijuro_AnnaVanes
Akashi Seijuro by Anna Vanes (c)

As many are noting, including the blogger, Laury Jenneret, who writes with thoughtfulness about the experience in Britain, there have been some positive, potentially, transformational, aspects to the partial societal and economic lockdown in the UK. For those fortunate to have basic needs met, from food to health care – and to not be stuck with an abuser – and with Internet access available, the pause in lives and unfolding of tragedy has also enabled personal reflection and, often with the help of technology, re-connection with people and communities. Laury Jenneret writes, “…I have had so many more conversations, both with friends and people I don’t actually know, that it has made me wonder if social distancing wasn’t what we were all doing before the coronavirus.”

Many individuals, such as those experiencing social anxiety symptoms, may feel excluded from this silver lining in the tragedy – personal renewal and deeper connection – with their greater isolation potentially reinforcing damaging behaviours, as psychologist, Karin Klassen, warns: “Interacting with other people is one of the things that makes us get dressed in the morning, put our face on . . . Without that interaction we might stop doing some of those things that are basic self-respect things. Then because our behaviour changes we start to feel in a way that supports that negative behaviour. We start to feel icky.”

Technology is being put to meaningful use by some at this time, historian, Robin Reich, writes on her blog, expressing hope that the will for communication persists beyond lockdowns. Writer, Catherine Hume, cites the example of Chinese residents who used their lockdown to develop foreign language and other skills, to recommend individuals struggling in their workplaces to investigate online courses to “retrain into a job you can turn into a business. Be self employed. Be a success and be a success without any hassle from co workers.”

Remote interaction does not, however, enable the physical contact, movement and full range of social cues that can make real interaction so fulfilling. Whilst practically beneficial, therapists have expressed concern about some of the challenges that come with remote interaction with clients, including a concern about the emotional detachment it might enable.

Content on the Internet is so diverse and vast, varying in credibility and accessibility, that its sheer volume and range of options can be a challenge for individuals to navigate without a clear idea of their purpose in its use. This can equally apply to online educational and job opportunities as it can for entertainment.

The current transformational opportunity – and, perhaps, imperative – for job-seekers and job-changers is clearly evident and can place a great pressure on individuals, especially, the most marginalised, burdened and isolated. Without public pressure, it is unlikely that government and their agencies, post-coronavirus, will dramatically change their underfunded service support for disabled and/or jobless groups, despite what should be better awareness of the challenges of being housebound.

There is no general answer to how to improve, train and prepare oneself for the uncertain future – on top of caring for one’s health and dealing with the threat of the virus and its societal and economic consequences.  A psychotherapist, Annie Wright, writing especially for trauma sufferers dealing with the pandemic crisis says, in what feels like a universal truism for people currently dealing with serious health difficulties: “(b)ut for now, our only job – your only job – is to take care of yourself as best you can, to weather this storm, to live with your ghosts but to not let them overwhelm you.” For parents and carers and others, an addition must be made for dependents but self-care and attention will be a necessary starting point for all. Social and professional support may be needed by many.

Image designed by Anna Vanes (c)

To read the full blog-post, ‘Gradually, then suddenly,’ by Laury Jenneret, click the link below.

“How did you go bankrupt?” Bill asked in Ernest Hemingway’s 1926 novel The Sun Also Rises, “Two ways,” Mike said, “Gradually and then suddenly.” I’ve thought about that a lot over the past week, as I, like the rest of the world, have looked on in stunned silence as society as we knew it has ground to a halt. We first heard about COVID-19 at the end of last year, and to be honest it just rumbled in the background on our news agenda. We all broadly knew what it was, that it was a virus believed to have originated from a wet-market in Wuhan, some people had heard that it might have something to do with bats, but everyone was pretty vague on the details, because it felt abstract. It felt like it didn’t have anything to do with us. Not really.

When I took my daughter to…

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