by Olly Halton
If you follow this blog regularly you will know I have previously written about protecting myself and my family whilst shielding with my vulnerable father.
I now find myself writing about something a little different and yet still the same subject matter. Myself, my sister and even my father have now all had that dreaded feeling of waking up with the symptoms, performing the test and then watching those two thick red lines tear across the test strip like a tidal wave. It’s unexpected, it’s sudden, and sometimes, it can be daunting.
We often then find ourselves behind an imaginary steel barricade, desperately racing to close the bedroom door whilst throwing the window wide open. After getting our breath back from the shock of a positive test, we anxiously scream down the stairs to family members not to come up. We then become prisoners in our own home, watching the world outside continue without us; even food being delivered on trays at meal times. Added to that there is the need to check the perimeter is clear before emerging for the toilet and requesting whether some helpful soul in the group chat can leave you some water or paracetamol outside your door.
In these times, it’s important to look after your mental health. You will undoubtedly and unfortunately feel even more isolated than in previous lockdowns; a time where you could at least sit on the sofa with your family and watch a movie. Now, for obvious reasons, you can no longer do this. But, it is still important to make use of this time you have been gifted. I know people who spent their isolation periods working from home and trying to live their lives as they would have done before. I know people who made an isolation den filled with snacks and movies and game consoles. I know people who gathered in their gardens, spending the time until that dreaded second line finally vanished, watching their plants dancing in the wind, water fountains trickling serenely.
The important thing is to not panic. You may feel the back of your throat get sore or your temperature rise or a sudden deep, dry cough that won’t vanish no matter how much water you drink. The first and most important thing to do when you get the test back positive is to take a deep breath and try not to panic. When calm, do another test which might seem like an odd decision but you need to make sure it’s accurate. Next, you should inform the NHS and people whom you have been in contact with. Now obviously there is no longer a legal requirement to do this, but for the sake of other’s, I would advise it. You never know how someone will react to Covid. And then you can – although you are no longer obligated to do so – isolate and do it in your own way.
One way to look after your mental health during Covid is by seeking counselling. This is available via zoom if you are infectious or, even if you have not experienced the virus but the fear of it prevents you from living life to the full, talking about it with The Lighthouse Counselling Partnership can really help.