Down News writer David Boden from Castlewellan describes how he feels after a long lockdown and touches base with colleagues at Pop Up Art in Downpatrick.
We may all like to believe we possess insightful traits. Utter the phrase ‘something is in the air’ and we could delude ourselves to the presumption that the spirit of Nostradamus is present in our psyche writes David Boden.
There are many scenarios in life where little to zero preparation can be done as a means of avoidance, apart from hoping such extraordinary ordeals as Covid-19 don’t happen.
A little more than 12 months ago something was ‘in the air’ that I doubt even Nostradamus could not have predicted. That something was this current pandemic which began in China and has spread globally killing many thousands.
From that point to the present day the world has been at a virtual stand still. Uncertainty has become the new constant. In an attempt to right the many wrongs, drastic conclusions have been installed is a phenomena called Lockdown. And for the most part there has been little activity on our streets beyond retailers and services which are deemed as vital.
In light of this amendment, we have all lost some sense of consistency in day-to-day life, which in turn has taken away our sources of comfort which has furthermore had a negative effect on mental well being.
In an age that everyone has mental and physical challenges to contend with, the anxiety rate has increased considerably and affects many of us.
As this is a concern that we are all affected to some degree by in different ways, directly or indirectly, I asked various colleagues I work alongside at Pop Up Art in Downpatrick, an up-cycling project providing therapeutic support, for an insight into the effects of last year in lock down.
Below is the feedback I received from colleagues.
“Personally the impact of social isolation was very damaging to my mental health. I was unsure of what to expect. However, because I am so lucky to be part of Pop Up Art I felt a sense of ease and discovered new ways of communicating, such as group chats which led to a new normality and sense of acceptance.” Janet Smith.
” This lock down has played havoc with my mental health as I have lost all social interaction and my safety plan has decimated. I have spiralled into a crisis on more than one occasion and without Manus, our mentor, I don’t know where I’d be”. Colm Young.
” Being pregnant through lock down has been a real roller coaster. I already suffer from depression and anxiety and lock down has meant not being able to have support from my family and friends in my native New York. My family in New York have yet to meet Isla and have no idea when they’ll be able to visit.” Ashley Leach.
” Prior to this pandemic my only social interaction would have been a chat and coffee with my clients. I am a community care worker. Covid means we must wear Personal Protective Equipment and can only spend a limited period on each call in order to minimise catching the virus. My depression and anxiety peaked in September 2020. After a chat with Manus and a call to my GP I was referred to Finneston House. I felt suicidal. I am still affected by anxiety but would not know how to cope had it not been for Pop Up Art “. John Cassidy.
(David Boden continued) from a personal perspective my well being is dependent upon routine and a constant in my routine has been travelling to various activities and groups throughout Northern Ireland. The knock on effect has been more time spent at home alone. It has allowed me more opportunities to be creative . As it’s been over a year I’m just begging for lockdown to end. It is inevitable that everyone is going to crack from time to time and like my colleagues, I shall forever be indebted to the rock that is Pop Up Art.
Having recently received my vaccination I’ve had to deal with side effects such as poor appetite and stiff joints. Luckily with sufficient sleep I’m revived and on a more even keel.
I cling to the optimism that time will bring a positive change. I wish misfortune on no individual. There is a sense of unity from understanding everyone has been challenged. When challenges such as this occur, then that is the time when communities and families should come together, whilst being cautious of boundaries and in the present pandemic pulling out all stops to put a full stop on what has taken countless lives.