I’ve been in self-isolation since Monday 16th March 2020 (a family member was diagnosed with cancer the week before and to be able to care for them during surgery we decided to limit risk as far as we could). I transferred my counselling work to online/phone (Skype, Zoom, Google Duo, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, mobile and landline) and lovely colleagues stepped in to cover my teaching (thanks Julie and Sally).
The last week at work and home has taught me a lot, and given me plenty of time to think:
- HOME: We had to change our minds quickly and things moved fast.
- HOME: Each of us (husband, grown up step-daughter in London, grown up step-son living with his mum, elder daughter moved in with her dad up the road, younger daughter stayed with us for the week but has now joined her sister up the road to have a bit more freedom(thanks Gary)) have had our moments – and we did it in different ways.
- HOME: Conversations with friends and family (sorry Mum and Dad that it took this for me to become a daily caller) kept my spirits up and made me laugh. I laughed longer and louder at things I might have sniffed at usually and sharing on social media took on a whole new and positive meaning.
- HOME: My younger daughter had a critical message from classmates for self-isolating and was very upset (thanks Headmistress for the decisive way you dealt with this).
- HOME: My neighbours set up a WhatsApp group to support each other. We’ve only just moved in so it felt good to be included.
- HOME: Once we knew what we were doing we settled quickly and organised well.
- WORK: Some clients chose not to continue counselling and the impression I got was that faced with a sudden decision as to where they were at, they decided that the majority of our work was done and felt happy to move forward alone or pause for now.
- WORK: Every client I spoke to counted their blessings and did an audit of friends and family to understand what it might be like for each other and who might need help.
- WORK: Clients who had been considering divorce felt very anxious about being trapped at home in a relationship they felt could be ending. I can only imagine what it is like for adults and children in abusive households.
- WORK: Clients realised they might have been on auto-pilot in their lives and the coming months could give them the opportunity to connect more closely with their loved ones.
- WORK: Clients who were planning big changes continued to do so, acknowledging they might be unlikely in the immediate future.
- WORK: Nobody talked about fear, anxiety, feeling suicidal, bereavement and loss (but I know this will come).
I realised that we are going all going to face ups and downs of different kinds in our different ways and that with care we will pass through them. I also realised that doing the job I do I am used to listening to painful things and asking difficult questions – I’m trained to do it and if I get the balance right I can do more without it weighing on me in an unhealthy way.
I know that connecting with someone in difficult times can make all the difference. And that being stuck with thoughts and fears on our own can be very destructive. I’d like to offer a 20 minute chat to anyone who needs it. If you’d like to take me up on this please fill in this contact form and I’ll get back to you.
There will be no charge for the call. If you are in a position to do so I would like you to donate in whatever way, and as fully as you can, to the Trussell Trust, who support a nationwide network of food banks and provide emergency food and support to people in poverty. Just in case that link doesn’t work, here’s their full address https://www.trusselltrust.org/get-involved/ways-to-give/
I’m also posting ideas and links that I hope are helpful the Garden Gate Therapy Facebook Page. To get the latest updates you can follow the page if you’d like to.
It looks like this is going to be a marathon not a sprint. So take it easy and look after yourself and each other – Anne
Anne Lindley-French MBA, MA, MBACP, FHEA
Anne is from Sheffield, she lived in London for many years and studied in Scotland and France. She lives in a large blended family and has been a single parent and co-parent. Anne is an atheist who believes in people and an optimist who knows there are difficult times.