The words below are copied from a post I added today to a Facebook support group for “shielders”.
I have mentioned being one of 1.5 million (in the UK) requested/advised/instructed (take your pick) to remain at home “shielding” for twelve weeks (now extended to the end of |June 2020).
Shielding is “Lockdown+” … intended to avoid 1.5 million of us (expected to need hospitalisation) swamping the health service’s capacity to cope (if we all caught the virus around the same time). Obviously “Underlying Conditions” would (and still will) finish us off in large numbers.
It’s like living in enemy territory: everyone and everything could be our downfall – “Remember that Shielder no. 1,375,446 … Everything AND Everyone!”
So as Lockdown begins unlocking, my lockdown continues because that’s how it is. Which got me thinking … really thinking!
Hello fellow shielders – all of us a bunch of ordinary human-beings – just with a new label.
Health Warning: these words are my thoughts and my thoughts only.
I have been reading the recent posts and comments – seeing guilt, anger, desperation, certainty, and everything else as well. I joined this group because I can cope with a finite (requested and advised) “shielding”. But I’m already coming to the conclusion that my “shielding” is probably necessary until a vaccine (proven to work long-term and readily available) becomes my “inner shield”.
And – already – I have felt the beguiling whispers of depression. And that scares me.
Because until shielding is no longer necessary, I need to be alert and rational. Neither of which depression has ever made me. I also need to love myself and those around me – again not something depression has ever done for me. So “shielding” from depression – as much as coronavirus – is becoming really important to me.
Yet I haven’t touched or been within six feet of anyone since 23rd March.
Married, working from home, and living six feet apart (and fortunate to have an empty-nester’s home big enough to do that) it was important to me that my wife was not locked-down as I am.
Now it’s important to me that I am NOT locked down as I am right now.
Because as the world starts to unlock, I know I will become more resentful – and that will invite depression to sneak under my “shield”. But my reading of all I see and hear is that I will be shielding for maybe another eighteen months and I know I will crack at some point before then – IF I continue doing what I am, and have been, doing. Which got me thinking about what “shielding” actually is.
I reckon it’s simply putting a barrier between me and coronavirus. Which includes people and surfaces. So what if I could have a portable shield – one I could move around outside – but still be safe “inside”? One that allowed me to come close to my wife, our family, our grandchildren – that allowed me to hug without fear – to be close to others and relax – to live rather than hide. BUT – unlike PPE – to be seen rather than hidden away inside.
Really important that for me!
Because I want our young grandchildren to see my face and all the expressions we use without realising. I want to be WITH them – rather than a “patient” who isn’t and can’t. Because THAT would really help me avoid depression (and all the consequences).
I have what I think will be my answer (and accepted by those I love and who love me with some obvious reservations).
But I’m curious: is anyone else going through the same or similar thought processes?
Thank you –
Hey Paul. Our prayers are with you. 😘
Thanks Cate – I think the gift of creativity (perhaps eccentricity and definitely “a dog with a bone” mentality) might be helping. Watch this space!!! 🙂
BTW the Facebook response was immediate and breath-taking. 1.5 million different people (or even a fraction of that) have so many different stories and lives!
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