#LockdownDiary – One of many – Day 41

#LockdownDiary – One of many – Day 41

Day 41

I am worried.

The Prime Minister has announced the lifting of restrictions yesterday. I am to go back to work. Possibly, I remind myself, possibly. I don’t want to go back to work. I don’t trust my employer to keep me safe, I don’t trust my colleagues to keep me safe. I don’t believe they will want to harm me but it is difficult to think of all the things you touch. The virus doesn’t need much to spread, one forgetful moment, one unconscious gesture and I’m ill.

I have asthma, my partner an auto-immune disease, but we are not classed as ‘at risk’. I know a lot of people are a lot more ‘at risk’ than us but I know what the flu or even a common cold does to my partner. I have seen her with her energy drained, her body on fire, laying in bed coughing coughing coughing. I don’t want to find out what Covid-19 can do. I am less concerned for me. My asthma has thankfully been mild this year but I can’t ignore the flu of 2014 that kept me unable to breath without my inhaler during coughing fits. What if that happens again but worse?

I remind myself not to worry, not yet. I have been clearly ordered by work not to show up at my desk today. The message has been reinforced with an e-mail this morning, but as I watch the news this evening the word ‘manufacturing’ rings in my head. This is my industry, where I work. So maybe I will have to go back to work, and what measures to have to fight this? I know there are some but I don’t want to have to use them. I want to remain safe. I want my mental health to remain stable and I know how I will spiral if I have to fight my employer. I will rise and fall, exhaust myself, and cry.

You don’t know yet, I repeat to myself as a firm mantra. Not yet.

The daily briefing is on as I type those words shattering my new mantra. It feels like insanity. The briefing began with how many new cases and deaths have been officially recorded. Figures have risen or declined marginally. Hundreds of people are sick, hundreds of people are dying. And yet we are to go back to ‘normal’.

‘Stay alert. Control the virus. Save lives,’ Boris Johnson repeats.

I do not understand ‘staying alert’ and even less ‘control the virus’. We can’t control the virus, we cannot see it and it does what it wants. We can only control our actions and hope for the best.

It’s a mess, I think. Boris is stumbling through his answers to the public questions. His concerns remain return to work, forgetting our need for family and friends, forgetting the toll on our mental health, forgetting the loss of life and the people touched by it.

I understand the toll on the economy. I am worried about this too but surely human lives are more important. The economy can and will recover. Human lives will not recover.

The briefing goes on and I retreat to the kitchen. The words are turning into a jumble of indistinguishable sounds and I can’t think. I don’t want to think. As a psychologist said earlier in our local news, focus on the moment, the now.

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