Saturday, March 06, 2021


My friend Het told me about an interesting podcast about the effect of the pandemic on mental health. Of 2000 people surveyed, 60% were resilient, 25% who were previously well now had increased anxiety or depression, 10% were happier, and 5% with pre-existing mental health issues were worse.

I told her I was not one of the resilient ones. 

And since I told her, things have got worse.

Firstly, I have become extremely forgetful.  I told my daughter Zoë yesterday that she could certainly tell me a secret. There was little danger of me blabbing because I would have forgotten it in a couple of days.

The other evening I went in to see Dave in his study because he wanted to tell me 'something interesting.' It wasn't. And as my gaze wandered around the room searching for stimulation,  I caught sight of this card above his desk:

'Who sent you that?' I interrupted. 'What were they thanking you for?'

He looked at me quizzically and said nothing.

'Who was it?' I said.

'It was you!' he said, incredulous. 'Don't you recognise the writing?'

I took it down and examined it and looked inside at the message. Yes, it was me. I gave it him at Christmas, less than three months ago.

I met Zoë for a walk yesterday, halfway between here and Sheffield, where she lives. It was lovely. It was really lovely - not the weather, but seeing Zoë

'This is SO nice, I said. 'I haven't seen you since Christmas.' 

'Yes, you have. You've seen me twice when you came to the house to bring something and stayed outside for a chat.'

'Oh yes.'

I do remember seeing my first lamb of the year on the walk because here is a photo I took:

The other thing is how close to tears I am a lot of the time. I am fine on the surface, but underneath there is upset.

As Zoë and I said goodbye on the bleak hillside, I teared up. I didn't want to say goodbye. I hadn't had enough of her. 

And there's another thing. I am losing my self confidence and becoming slightly paranoid. This has been going on for a couple of weeks. I think it's to do with the dearth of socialising, and the distancing involved when it does happen.

Last evening in the middle of a hug I said to Dave 'Do you think Zoë likes me?'

'Of course she likes you!'

'Do you like me?' I said to the man I've been married to for over 50 years.

'Er.....' (3 second interlude) '...Yes.'

'Why did you hesitate?' I asked. 'Why? Why?'

'Because it was such a weird question.'

As if all of this is not enough, I cannot bear to read the news because it makes me so angry and so depressed, whether it's the insulting offer of a 1% pay increase to NHS nurses, or the cutting of aid to Yemen while at the same time the selling of billions of pounds worth of arms to Saudi Arabia, or the latest government corruption to be exposed, or the disgusting slumlike accommodation offered to asylum seekers by firms working for the Home Office.

So I am off the news. Zoë just lent me this to read and I'm loving it because the writing is so good:

I may have given it to her for Christmas. I'll have to ask her.


Christine said...

I am much the same state. It's a bit scary.

Anonymous said...

Me too!

Sue Hepworth said...

Well I am glad it’s not just me. That is subtly reassuring.
Though not good.