Lockdown, pre-COVID-19

Written by our Policy Officer and NDIS Information and Support, Shellie

I attempted to avoid the term COVID-19 for the purposes of this piece. Alas, impossible, even if merely a reference point to other issues.

Lockdown is hard. There is no denying the hardship this year brings for most people, if not everyone.

Many of us have also been in lockdown prior to COVID-19. The difference between COVID-19 and personal mental health lockdowns is the language used. For some, staying home is a therapeutic solution to a difficult time. For others, a self-imposed decision to cope. For many though, it is not a choice of any kind. It is a valid, self-caring, difficult option needed to cope. COVID is a crisis that is shared. Mental health in dominant culture is not.

COVID-19 can act as a metaphor for how some people experience life with mental health challenges. 2020 is a benchmark crisis, on the world’s stage. Mental health isolation is not.

The waves of cultural change this year are noted. Mental health isolation is not. The pandemic is a recognised crisis, with economic, social and psychological ramifications- truly so. What if society grasped the meaning of life crisis and included mental health challenges as a personal type of pandemic?

May we all share language and understand each other more, whether it is COVID, or our own personal pandemic.

The world can prove to be the largest barrier for healing from mental health challenges. Some of us need the world but cannot engage as much as we would like. For some, staying home does not help.

This is an inverted experience of COVID-19, where going out is not for the benefit of one’s self but a positioning by the world, a socially shared priority. Staying home is the solution.

This topic has been eagerly and painfully raised by many of us who know this pre-COVID-19 space.

COVID-19 lockdown. Why edge around the term when it is already embedded in our synapses and senses? COVID-19 lockdown It is a collective term, a common experience, a cross-border passage leading to a highly variable – but loosely shared – destination.

COVID-19 lockdown is a collective, somewhat fading for some, yet defining feature of current life. We know this, and we know it has shared meaning and currency even when its defining feature is isolation. Depending on our psychological baseline, landscape of triggers and socioeconomic circumstances, we all live it differently, but it is still a loosely common thread.

We navigate it differently- I for one masterfully scale the far-edges of the footpath in ways previously unknown to me, to avoid human proximity. At times, Iso-life feels like a pixelated reality, if you are lucky enough to have access to the online world. This depends on connectivity, having a device- not so simple for many.

The reasons, durations, and experiences of personal pre-COVID mental health lockdowns all differ, but for some it feels like a lockdown. Some are short, fleeting, rare. Others seem like they are permanent and may well be.