I still struggle to come to terms with all that I have lost. There were holidays booked, concert tickets bought and plans made that all had to be sacrificed. It seems selfish to complain that my privileged existence was disrupted so that we could literally save lives. Especially because I am so lucky to be relatively close to my family, I live in a house that always has food in it and is always warm. But still, I struggled. There were weeks where I didn’t get dressed, I didn’t bother to even go for a walk. I couldn’t find the willpower to do anything but drink tea and watch The Office. Scrolling through Instagram didn’t help with my guilt surrounding productivity. It seemed that everyone I knew was learning a new language or reading Ulysses. For me, it was also an incredibly lonely time. Zoom calls with my friends seemed awkward and forced so I stopped talking to them, it was too painful to try and pretend that I was fine. I was also trying to make a long-distance relationship work which eventually ended, and instead of going to my best friend’s house to eat ice-cream and watch The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and cry, I was left by myself to pick up the pieces. It didn’t help that I’m naturally an extremely extroverted person. It makes me so happy to be surrounded by loads of different people to talk to (and yes, I understand that’s some people’s worst nightmare) and suddenly it was just me and four other people day in, day out.
However, I survived it. Somehow, I struggled through and came out the other side, perhaps a little more sensitive, a little more anxious, but still kicking. But now, I am faced with a whole host of new problems, how I am supposed to start living again? It is still difficult for me to see my friends sometimes because so much time passed, I went through so much and so did they. We have always been separated and irrevocably changed and now we must come back together again and try to figure out this “new normal” and that’s hard! We are expected to be overjoyed now that we can see each other again and travel to new places but it’s bittersweet. I can’t help but think of all that I have lost. There is still so many hard things to overcome and I don’t know if anything will ever be the same again.
Of course, we have all grown as people. I’ve come to really appreciate nature and spending time alone down by the river by my house or in the mountains. I think back to the girl that I was in March and I realise that I have grown up so much. I no longer feel like a confused child who was just going with the flow, instead, I feel like I know a lot more about who I am and what’s really important to me. And when I am having a bad day I remind myself that I wouldn’t be the person I am today without the difficult things.
Young people are always told that they can be whatever they want, do whatever they dream of as long as they work hard but I think that’s a silly lie. Sometimes you make plans and work hard but things just get in the way and that’s okay. You must just take life as it comes and appreciate the little things. It’s okay to go through something hard and to struggle a little. It might take you a little while to get back to being as happy as you were but that’s completely normal. Perhaps you are still trying to find the meaning behind all that you experienced whilst in lockdown and you’re rediscovering who you are now that everything is different. It might seem like everyone else is doing totally fine and their friendships are stronger than ever and life is beautiful once more for them but let me tell you, we are all still trying to find our feet. The most important thing is that we’re honest about our struggles instead of trying to pretend this is The Best Thing Ever. It’s not. And that’s okay. We are all growing and learning and we will find a way to make life irresistible once more.
Remember, the most amazing, compassionate, successful and inspiring people we know are those who faced challenges, and managed to overcome them.
Hang in there, it will pass x
Some supports you may find useful:
SPUN OUT: This is a one-stop-shop for all mental health issues. The articles are very matter of fact, helpful, and all bases are covered.
CHILDLINE: Helpline and online support, offering advice and support to young people under 18.
AWARE: Providing support and assistance to that section of society whose lives are affected by depression, bipolar disorder, postnatal depression or suicidal thoughts.
TURN2ME: Support for anyone feeling anxious, sad or lonely.
YOURMENTALHEALTH: Lots of information about Mental Health in Ireland.