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Lockdown positives: “It was a leveller of sorts.”

Caz Makin

I’m gonna share a secret with you all. I kind of enjoyed lockdown, in a weird way.

Not, obviously, the virus and people dying or losing their jobs, god no. But the solidarity lockdown brought was quite amazing to see.

And for me, it gave a few different feelings too.

Restrictions in all our lives

There are often times that I can’t go out, I can’t do what I want to, I can’t swim or walk in the park, I can’t drive my car.

The frustration I feel at this, when my MS just gets in the way, is at times so overwhelming. And it makes me so sad.

And in a really weird way, it was nice (don’t think badly of me please) to know that everyone else’s life was on hold by something that was totally out of their control. I felt like everyone was on the same playing field. It was a leveller of sorts.

And I knew that people were so frustrated by it. Longing for their old lovely lives where they had freedom and choice. So I think it created more empathy towards those who have those things taken away.

Lockdown gave me freedom from my anxieties

Knowing no one could go out, or drop by, or invite me somewhere, totally relieved my anxiety towards social events.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I love a glass of wine and a good social occasion, and I love my friends dearly. But I still get anxious when I’m going out.

Will my eyes play up if I’m tired, how will my legs be, is my bladder playing silly buggers, is there anyway I can not wear Velcro shoes, is there an accessible toilet, will there be stairs, will there be new people, will I feel a bit crap with my Zimmer frame, what outfit will look nice with said Zimmer frame…? It kind of goes on and on.

Lockdown gave me a sense of freedom from my social anxieties. And a peace of mind that others might have a little more understanding of what it’s like to have your privilege of freedom of movement taken away.

So I think for me, those first 5 weeks, although terrible uncertain times, gave me a sense of contentment.

On social media, I didn’t feel I was missing out

Looking through Facebook usually brings mixed feelings for me. It’s lovely to see all my loved ones and friends doing so well, out jogging in nature, out hiking in the hills.

I’m genuinely pleased for my friends successes and moments of joy, but it also brings a tinge of sadness to my world knowing I can no longer do any of those things.

I’m not a jealous person but I am human. Even though it’s been 20 years in December, sometimes the pain inside is as fresh as diagnosis day.

But during the early days of coronavirus, Facebook became a place of unity, solidarity and love. Where we all wished each other well, warned each other to stay safe, and offered support to anyone feeling anxious or sad.

People worked from home, had time with their kids, ate family dinners, enjoyed their own homes and gardens. And although it was a stressful time, there was no keeping up with others. Everyone was on the same page. It was nice.

It can be hard when I compare myself to others

As restrictions lifted, things went back to normal.

People arguing over mask wearing, conspiracy theories rife, racial injustices prevalent, violence, need I go on…I have come off Facebook for these reasons.

When I’m in my own world I do OK. Because even now I still have times when I try to compare myself with others.

I accept this life which has been chosen for me, I don’t feel sorry for myself and I strive to do my absolute best with it, no matter what. However, in moments of “weakness” or as I call it, being human, sometimes it’s unbearably hard.

I think it would be a hard task for anyone to not at times long for a healthy body and limbs that work, with a brain that isn’t in fugue a lot of the time.

Will some of the positives last?

I think back now to some of the positives of the lockdown in March. The caring stories that arose, the heroic efforts of so many, the looking out for one another, even nature took a breather. And didn’t she bloom..! No contrails in the sky from planes, no noise from heavy traffic, just blue skies, bird songs and the flowers bursting into life.

And as for me feeling it was a leveller, well that didn’t last… I can only hope that people learned something positive from having their lives restricted in such a way.

Maybe it will stay with them enough that the next time they see a person struggling or disabled physically, it will inspire them to reach out and help, having had a taste of how it feels.

Call me crackers, but shouldn’t we be doing that anyway..?