We are exiting lockdown. What does this mean to us?
Some of us have had a harder time in lockdown than others. There have been bereavements, redundancies and financial constraints. Self-isolation has meant living alone for weeks, not being able to work and generally feeling cut off from the rest of humanity, except on the screen.
Anxiety and depression started to seep in. Now there is the new anxiety of re-entering life that is the unfamiliar New Normal. Some are worried about loss of social skills, others have feelings of slight agoraphobia.
Previously I wrote about why psychotherapy can be useful at times when we need a bit of extra help to tackle difficult parts of life. This is one of those times.
I stressed that looking for extra help is not a sign that there is something wrong with you or that you are mentally ill. If you are feeling anxious or low, because life is difficult, few sessions with a therapist may help not because you are ill, but because a professional is perhaps better able to help identify our problems (and work on possible solutions) than a well-meaning friend.
‘I couldn’t go to a therapist as somebody might find out!’ Sadly, the shame of going for help for the mind, as opposed to the body, is still with us. I no longer try to persuade would-be clients that coming to me for sessions is nothing to be ashamed of. Instead I assure them that everything they say to me is totally confidential. I will not disclose to their family and friends that they have contacted me and that they are coming to see me. If I happen to see the client in the street, I will not acknowledge them, so as to avoid the risk of one of their crowd asking them who I am. I hope that this confidentiality provides a safe space for someone, who is thinking of coming for therapy or counselling.
By the way, what is the difference? Next time I will talk about that.