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"The depth of our despair is a measure of our strength to overcome it." -Unknown

Our Personal Response to Covid-19

Yep, I know a lot of you will be fed up of hearing about it and everyone has their story, this one is mine.I am not trying to get sympathy, I know so many lives have been lost and families and friends have been impacted faced with grief and loss. If this is you, reach out, get support, don't suffer alone. <3

6 months ago I went to the beach with my partner and on the way there I got a call from my housemate saying "I hope you have a really nice time, but you may not want to come home after as I have a consistent new cough". So, when we returned from our weekend away, I lived with my vry new partner for 2 weeks which turned into 1 month. I then got a call from my GP saying I need to shield due to my health conditions. I couldn’t go home because my housemates were in and out to work making it impossible to shield. I could not live with my partner because he had housemates coming in and out. So, I moved in with my parents who were shielding too, and lived with them for 4 months before my Mum went back to work. I felt really unwell and was diagnosed with fibromyalgia on top of my M.E and chronic lung and sinus condition. Shielding had lifted but I felt really unwell physically and did not feel able to care for myself. I decided to move in with my brother who was also shielding whilst I could be build up with some strength to look after myself again with the support of family around me. I finally felt physically well enough to move home and then the covid cases started to increase again.

I have told myself that I am not anxious about covid. I haven’t had many feelings of anxiety but the truth is I must be, because I am finding it hard to step outside of my safe bubble. Everyone has different levels of what feels safe to them, different expectations and judgements. My experience has been that a lot of people who have not been unwell before don’t seem to worry whereas those of us who have chronic illnesses and are told we are vulnerable, at risk, have to shield, are.

I am not going to lie, it has not been an easy time. All this space and time with your own thoughts brings up a lot. I have had people who I had not expected to have been there, be my absolute rock; checking in regularly, supporting me and understanding. I have had other people who I had expected to be there, not to be understanding or present. We all have different boundaries and that is okay, all we can do is choose how we want to react and live, the rest is outside of our control.

There was a particular part of this loneliness, illness and isolation which was particularly hard. Some days I was so unwell with my fibromyalgia I could not get out of bed, or stand to make a brew; I was in so much pain and so fatigued. But that wasn’t the hard part. The hard part was losing connection with me. So much of my identity is helping other people, working for the NHS as a mental health worker and working as a life coach. Serving others is my calling and I did not who I was without that. The quietness, the stillness, the time, it gave me time to slow down, to stop, to think. I am usually so busy serving others that I don’t really truly connect with what’s going on for me. Yes I go to counselling and yes I practice yoga, but those things were squeezed in between trying to hold everyone. Now I had time for me. An abundance of time for me; time to go deep.

I this stillness, I found that past trauma which I thought I had processed was brought up once more. It remerged out of the darkness and looked at me dead in the eyes. Truth is, in all my keeping busy, I had been pushing it down and pushing it down, I did not have time for it. Or perhaps that was an excuse; perhaps I was scared of it. It had been locked down there for so long that when it came up I felt physical pain. Like someone stabbing me in the guts and twisting the knife; my chest and heart being compressed so hard to breath, tears being squeezed out of me. I screamed, I cried (a lot).

I have cried so much these past few months. But do you know what, I am so grateful for this time. Something deep, dark and heavy that had been sitting inside of me along with shame and guilt has been released. I looked at it dead in the eye and I realised it was not that scary after all. I realised I could tackle it, I could face it, I could accept it, I did not have to hold onto it anymore, I could release it and let it go. In this process I have noticed a shift, a change in myself. I feel lighter, I feel more aligned, I feel more freedom, I feel a greater sense of knowing and confidence in who I am. I can feel myself stepping into the next chapter of my life with having released a heavy load. It felt like a shedding, a stripping of the old and stepping boldly into the new. A new empowered Stephie.

I am so grateful for this time because it has given me time to reconnect with myself; my passions, my desires, my dreams. It allowed me to be creative and practice self-care.It allowed me to nourish my body and my mind and given me the time to reconnect with nature and my spiritual self. It has allowed me to focus on my business and develop as a coach and soon to be NLP master practitioner. I have connected with new, amazing and supportive people online who I would never have got to meet without this experience. I feel more aligned and connected to my purpose and vision and I am excited for the future. I have been able to spend quality time with my parents and my family. It has helped me realise who my true soul friends are and who understands me. It tested my relationship and we won.

Why am I sharing this? Because this time may be difficult for some of you and it may be hard but that is okay. For others it may not be, and that is okat too. Give yourself permission to feel what you need to feel; whether that be anger, grief, sadness, shame, loss, joy, happiness, every emotion is okay and is healthy. Give yourself permission to slow down and retreat inwards. Give yourself permission to have another layer of healing, growth and development. Do what feels right to you and be kind to yourself in the process; practice self-care and hold yourself in love and kindness. Change is a part of life, and we are all going through a huge change at the moment. It is our resistance to it which can cause stress and anxiety; the uncertatinty and unknown. Embracing the unknown, being fluid and adaptable can lead to new perspectives, new awareness, it can enable us to shine light on places we hadn't seen before. As we may potentially go into another lockdown, take notice of what this brings up for you, how does this make you feel? Does it bring anything up for you? Do you want to take the time to heal? When and if you feel ready to do some deep transformational work then I am hear for you, ready to hold you, guide you, and enable you to feel safe, as your coach if that is what feels right for you. Just reach out.

Sending you so much love, light and strength,

Stephie x

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