Stay Home – Stay Safe – Week 6

This has been the week of the grump. From facebook groups to personal conversations, to client sessions, frustration, anger, annoyance, the whole spectrum of emotions which come under the umbrella of anger are very present.

This is hardly a surprise, the peculiar nature of the UK lockdown, which was never quite a lockdown, means more people are in work, and travelling now. This is a good thing, since it means their employers have worked out safe way for the them to work, and people need their wages. However the anxiety which spiked pre lockdown and then subsided is being triggered again. (Interestingly we now know just what a positive impact lockdown had on anxiety from this study which I am taking part in, the data is well worth reading)

Anxiety provokes 4 responses, freeze, feign, fight or flight. The first 3 weeks, when almost the entire country froze seem almost idyllic now – our anxiety was managed by freezing, and seeing that all those around us had too. (With acknowledgement here of how hard it has been for those in dangerous situations, as buzzfeed covers). There is no longer the silence and emptiness of freeze, and so many are turning to fight. I said to all of my clients some weeks ago, this is a marathon not a sprint, consider how we are all hitting “the wall” but without even the sure knowledge that the finish line is in sight.

It is even more important than usual to be aware of the anxiety responses, the desire to keep ourselves safe which may not actually be the best way to keep ourselves safe. Anger at others, at the government, at those breaking the rules, may momentarily feel rewarding, but feeds into a cycle of higher levels of stress. Now is the time for more silence, more mediation, if you are able more mindfulness. We need comfort and to acknowledge and soothe the anxiety if we at all can.

It has also been the week where even more strongly I felt the idea of holding a community together, the community of my clients. Its partly the sharing of emotions, partly the sharing of an experience. It is an odd, but wonderful feeling. One of my grumps has been that no one seems to be studying the theraputic experience right now, instead people who viewed online therapy with the same distrust of Granny weatherwax for a telegram, have launched 1001 surveys which boil down to “hey this online therapy thing, its not totally shit is it?” As I said to a colleague on twitter, what did they think of our ethics previously if they really believed therapy could not be conducted online? WOrking with the same issue, live, across the world, this will never be repeated, and beyond these journals I know there has to be some way of exploring it in more depth. As someone else said to me, we are working with truma, as it happens, whilst experiencing the same trauma – it is unprecedented.

At moments like this I give thanks my heart is, and always will be person centered.

IN actual news, rather than musings, Non-binary lives is out! I have a chapter alongside many people I consider to be my inspirations and role models. To be published is a dream, to be published in such an important book – ironically words fail me.

This is hard. this hurts, and makes us angry, and makes us miss those we love, those who help us shut out the world. People are dying, all over the world, and in the UK wrong decisions were made, these are facts. Getting through it isn’t easy, we need to look to each other, to our communities, and to those around us, all of whom too want to fight, freeze, hide, pretend they are ok, rail at the government, or make VE day scarecrows – slight aside, the VE day proposed celebrations are the biggest heap of feign ever, but some people need them to manage their anxiety – help each other, you think it was important a few weeks ago, it is vital now, we will loose too many if we dont.

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