The British artist Tracey Emin has recently shared that her cancer has ‘gone’. (Tracey Emin says…
Like all in the caring professions therapists have been working overtime trying to respond to life in lockdown. How can we transfer our work online and still maintain the precious relational connection we have with our clients? How do we manage Zoom or Skype or FaceTime without looking like complete technical idiots? How will we manage financially if our livelihoods shrink? And how can we play our part in supporting key-workers and those in the front line of the NHS response?
Therapists, it turns out, are just humans! Along with our clients we are feeling the whole range of coronavirus emotions – confusion, anger, grief, hope, hilarity, anxiety and more. The hardest thing for me personally has been the visceral ache I feel around social distancing. I don’t want to cross the street to avoid people coming the other way and I don’t want them to do that to me. But I know that to do so is the only way we can currently protect and care for eachother. It’s a strange redefinition of community: pulling together by staying apart.
What can we hold on to while we’re going through this? For me there’s the birdsong, suddenly audible as the roar of rush-hour traffic has died away. There’s the chance to finally keep that perennial New Year’s resolution to slow down and be less busy. And there’s the random acts of kindness: up and down the land people are quietly shopping and fetching prescriptions for their elderly and vulnerable neighbours. These positives don’t cancel out the negatives – fear of becoming ill, dread of losing someone we love, the disorientation of not knowing how long this is going to last and what life is going to be like afterwards. But the good and the bad sit together, challenging us to tolerate something that has always been true about life – it’s fragility is what makes it precious.
On a practical note, there is help out there if we are struggling with our mental and emotional health at this time. One of our valued therapists, Jo Morgan, has created this 10-minute mindfulness exercise to help manage anxiety:
Bramham Therapy will also be offering free 30-minute support sessions online or by phone for key-workers (details coming soon on the homepage of our website: bramhamtherapy.co.uk). There’s no neat ‘follow these six steps’ solution but staying compassionate to ourselves and others is probably the first step.