In the last couple of days, I’ve been listening to the radio, where people have been writing letters to explain the current pandemic and lockdown to their 10 year old selves. It’s inspired me to reflect on what we’ve been through over the past few months, and how it’s affected me personally. But instead of trying to explain what’s going on to past me, I want to memorialise this time in my life, for future me and my family to look back on as well as to remember all the things I’ve learned.
First of all, congratulations on making it through the lockdown. Whatever’s happened between the time you wrote this letter and whenever you read it next, know that you got through it all.
The pandemic and the lockdown have put your mental health through the ringer; there’s been highs and there’s been lows. You made it through multiple panic attacks that you thought you’d left behind you, and you experienced depression and anxiety in very different forms. But you dealt with all that using the techniques that you know work for you, as well as making sure you kept busy, kept talking and kept doing the things you love.
All this time at home had you questioning yourself and your contribution to the world. It made you incredibly anxious, but you realised you don’t have to change the world, doing good where you can is enough. And actually, just taking care of yourself is important too. It doesn’t matter if your crocheting/ blogging/ plant growing isn’t useful for anyone else; it got you through.
You learnt a lot about yourself during lockdown; you might think you’re an introvert, but remember how important people were to help you get through this time. One of your biggest struggles was feeling isolated and alone, even with people at the other end of the phone. Make time to see the people that you love, and don’t get stuck in a cycle of being scared to leave the house; this will only make you spiral.
Routine means a lot to you – more than you knew before. You need structure to your days, and losing your commute, your normal working week, your ability to go out and do things has been a big challenge. At times, it did feel nice to have nothing to do, but that novelty wore off after an hour or two. You are a “doer” and you always will be, no matter how much of a chore work or blogging or cleaning the house might feel.
Above all, you had to face your biggest fear: the unknown. The unknown has always been scary to you and the lockdown forced you to confront that head on. You felt out of control and lost and even as you write this, you’re scared of the change that’s coming as the world starts to get back to normal. The main thing is, uncertainty is your biggest fear, and you’ve lived to tell the tale.
The lockdown wasn’t all bad though. You enjoyed the extra time to read, to reflect and to just be. Your Instagram benefitted from the extra love it got (small wins) and you read more than you had in years. Your general knowledge got a big boost of trivia from all the Zoom quizzes with your friends and family, and you gained skills and interests you would never have normally tried. You felt more needed and valued by both friends and colleagues during this time and you have been supported by them too. During this time, you realised your own strength and resilience and that’s something you should never forget about yourself; it’s there within you and it always has been.
This period is a massive part of global history and, for better or worse, you were a part of it. So remember this time and the lessons you learned about yourself – they will always be an important part of you.
PS, the picture that you’ve used alongside this letter was sent to you by your sister and perfectly represents the self acceptance and also the slobbiness that you embraced during the lockdown.