Amidst a universal pandemic I have found it incredibly hard to help. I have put away the NHS letter asking me I have 90 days to update my training. I am struggling to email or contact them. I am only a bank worker but I have this sense of duty, like I must help out. The fact is I am also working from home full time.
I have tried to support vulnerable people in the community by signing up to delivering parcels to people stuck at home who are shielding or have no access to food without fighting the ques and spending lots of money just to get to the supermarket to find there is nothing left for them all whilst leaning on their zimmer frame.
I did one delivery, it absolutely exhausted me.
I was added to a Facebook page where people can help each other or post information, I added a friend who had been looking for hand sanitiser that she normally uses for her disabled child who uses aids and equipment to eat – these regularly need cleaning. As people became selfish there was non left for her any where and some idiots on the internet decided to sell these at extortionate prices.
Hers was the first post, and she got an instant reply from someone who makes them and could do this for her! I felt super good. I decided that from now on my role will be to be helpful in the little ways like this.
But I could not resist. I can imagine if this was a physical war, I am one to sacrifice my self.
I ended up signing up to a charity that was one of the first to get up and running food parcels for the vulnerable. I agreed to be on the rota on Friday afternoons. So it came to Friday afternoon and NHS COVID Response flashed on my phone. Dubious I still answered the phone, the lady said I have to shield as I am EXTREMELY VULNERABLE.
My reply was, ‘I am not’.
She said ‘did your Consultant Rheumatologist send you a letter about shielding?’
‘yes, but I read it carefully and if I did not take the steroids or other medication listed I was OK’
‘no, you still need to shield because I may need that medication anytime’.
Now at this point, yes my knees have been killing me, my ankles are killing me, in fact my legs are just a pain. How did she know. She did not know that I was never to take medication for these, since the Ibroprofen Retard messed my liver up last year. My consultant said I can call him for the medication whenever I needed them, to be honest I have been trying to loose weight to help my self, with no luck may I add.
Anyway, I said OK to get her off the phone, and thanked her for calling of course. I was worried and panicked nonetheless. I messaged the group chat about shielding and that I cannot do the planned deliveries. I got no reply or support. A friend on the group later messaged me to ask how I was. I noticed others offered to do the deliveries instead of me, I felt shit.
A few days later I asked my Dr about shielding, she confirmed I did not have to. However I decided I wont do any deliveries. I am struggling with demands of my mental and physical health, I have had flashbacks and disassociating behaviours. My caring duties at home as well as working from home has not been helpful.
It is hard for me to say no and not find things to do. I have realised in the midst of this pandemic that I want to do more and more than I physically and mentally can to avert anxiety and low mood. However it back fires and I crash. This is also the case in my day to day life without a pandemic. It is hard to give this up so I am using this time to practise being kind to myself and rest. I spoke to Anaesthetics Dr on Friday 1st May, he confirmed I had no Sleep Apnea, however my sleeping and breathing patterns could be better.
So I have brought many plants and funky items for my home and garden from businesses that are struggling and this makes me feel like I am helping in some little way. I also still volunteer for an arts festival (virtually), I created a survey a couple of days ago to go out to artists and members. Basically I have been cupid for the arts world, connecting two organisations, that is a recovery college and a theatre company. They have both been instrumental in motivating me, and allowing me to immerse my self into the arts world and into my art again.
So I picked up and delivered some art packs to the tutor for my friends at the college who are more vulnerable than me, these were made by the theatre company. Now the two companies may work together around the shared interest of supporting people who have mental ill health and are isolated.
I have reminded my self that every little helps, I don’t have to go all out before I hurt myself.
Below are a some pictures of my purchases that made me happy and that supported local businesses, also the art packs, there was more on the front seat!
Stay safe everyone!