Luyando, who has previously been sectioned, struggled with the first national lockdown back in March. She has a unique perspective as we enter a month of enforced restrictive movement in the UK. She is keen to share her outlook and how it could possibly help you as many are now struggling with a sense of déjà vu as they navigate a second national lockdown.

Working through the first lockdown, as in physically going out to work, helped considerably to start with. I have a career in banking, and it’s classed as an essential sector, so initially things felt ok. I had moved back home with my parents, so isolation wasn’t an issue as I had family around me. It was frustrating the more lockdown wore on though as I had moved out of London, away from my friends, so it became quite limiting but not devastatingly so.

I’d met someone just before lockdown started whilst on holiday in Morocco. We met on the flight as he sat next to me. I wasn’t able to see him on our return to the UK which was a bad start. The impact that had on me, as it was a new relationship, was slightly saddening.  Now as I’m in the midst of the second lockdown I can feel the impact already. It feels a lot scarier; the world is a lot smaller and even though I am around my family I feel depressed and pretty lonely.

Being in this relationship feels very supportive though but the distance makes things considerably harder. So many lessons from going through and coming out of the other end of the first lockdown have prepared me for this new forced isolation.  What I’m bringing from the first lockdown, by way of experience,  is that it helps to keep physically active, finding things to do, being productive. I’ve been maintaining my sleep hygiene too, which is so vitally important.

I feel as though the wider community and indeed on a global level people now know what it’s like for people living with bipolar feeling isolated and there is a sense of crisis for them. In this situation this has made me feel a greater sense of community as everyone is in the same boat.

I’m pretty down about the second lockdown as it feels really bleak and there doesn’t seem to be any light at the end of the tunnel. Reading this back, whilst it might be how I feel it is encouraging that at the very least I am acknowledging how I feel with honesty.  It’s also made me realise that it is actually ok to not be ok.

I feel this time around we are just winging it and things are very uncertain. But the first lockdown has given me the confidence to deal with just the things I can control. It’s really important to set realistic expectations of yourself, your routine and your limitations.

I’m stronger and more resilient this time, the first lockdown as it was longer, feels like a dry run for part two. I’ve now got basic coping mechanisms that might help others. They are simple. Learn to say no, you don’t have to take on everything that is thrown at you.

Listen to your gut instincts. Your feelings are incredibly valid, do not supress them, push them to the back of your mind or ignore them. Just be honest with yourself and your feelings. Know how you can pace yourself, talk to people reach out to them, seek the help you truly need.

If you do need additional support, its reassuring to know that there are always people on the end of an email or telephone at Bipolar UK.

 

Stay safe

Luyando x