Coronavirus, you and the emergency services
'Coronanxiety' is real. The fear of this contagion is especially high in the emergency services professions because contact is critical and does not allow for social distancing. The work carried out by the paramedics and police with the public is almost always an emergency.
These emergencies are so often due to a lack of mental health resources, and managing these situations takes a toll on our emergency services. Often they return from a shift feeling overwhelmed from being confronted with people who are trying to end their lives - when they know just how fragile our grasp on life is, how precious it is. And there they are; confronted by an attempt on that very thing; life itself.
We, as a nation, are still reeling from the news that we are in lockdown for the foreseeable future. At the time of writing, we are in week one and it is becoming real.
It's not just about being unable to go shopping, unable to see friends, unable to carry out our usual work; it's about fear of the unknown. None of us know how this will pan out. It may be six months before we will be able to resume usual life, and it will be a different life, for we will have learnt something; we will have learnt to not take things for granted.
We have all experienced loss. Not necessarily the loss of someone we love but, we will have experienced the loss of the life we believed to be certain. We will have experienced the feeling of uncertainty, that life in which we trusted can also be random and, it can be scary.
For some of us, this additional uncertainty will result in a feeling that everything in our world is uncertain. What we can be sure of though is love; the love that so many of us take for granted but is a love that holds us fast, it forms the certainty in which we can see ourselves, it keeps us strong.
So if you are feeling anxiety, you may be feeling overwhelmed, I ask you to look at those around you, to those you love and then, I ask you to look at the power within yourself.
We have 'self': sometimes we struggle to see self and look to others to show us the shape of ourselves. We may not like parts of ourselves, but it is the otherness that makes us real, takes us out of ordinariness and makes us special. It's what makes us loveable and we should explore ourselves and know that fundamentally, for all our anxieties, we are loveable.
Anyone could find themselves in need of mental health support during this pandemic. If you feel that you could benefit with help during this time then why not speak to a family member or close friend? Alternatively, you can speak to a professional counsellor. Many therapists are offering online and telephone support, so please know there is help available.
If you are a member of the police or paramedics emergency services, some therapists, like myself, are offering free sessions to support you through this time. Please contact me for more information.
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