April 13, 2020, by Issy
Feeling guilty at a time like this.
It’s a tough time right now. The world has been turned upside down. And, that’s an understatement. To say the very least.
It’s tough on NHS workers, it’s tough on key workers, it’s tough on families separated from one another, it’s tough on students who cannot complete the year at university, it’s tough on final years who never got a chance to say goodbye. And, god forbid, it’s horrendous for those who lose loved ones.
It can be easy to feel guilty for ‘just’ staying at home when people are putting themselves at such massive risk of exposure day in, day out. It can also be easy to feel guilty for being so down or anxious about the situation, when again, people out there might be suffering even more. It can feel like you can’t find a reason to justify your feelings, and then feel guilty for having said feelings. Which, tends to make you feel even more down. It’s a cruel, vicious cycle.
Add that impending guilt to a lack of ability to exercise coping mechanisms you may have used in the past, knowingly or not, to keep your head above water, and it can really have a detrimental impact on your mental health. Not being able to distract yourself from your own thoughts through going to see friends, visiting family, or going to the gym, for example. It’s just not possible.
And, it’s not your fault.
Remember that. That guilt, feeling down, feeling anxious, it’s really not your fault. It’s a completely uncertain time right now. Everyone at home, wondering what to do, how they can help, if they can help, will be feeling this way to some extent, whether they show it or not. And, you have just as much of a right to feel the pain that this situation is inflicting as others do. Your mental health is no less important than others. The guilt, it makes you human. The sadness, the worry about what is happening, it makes you human. You are only human.
So, if you are staying at home, try and make the most of it. And by that, I don’t mean you have to devote this time to becoming ‘a better person’. Being you is enough. Take this time to cherish your loved ones, call those you can’t be near, and prioritise yourself and your needs, whatever it takes to get you through it.
This will end. Things will become normal again. Slowly, but they will. And, maybe, just maybe, people will see that what we have, what the world we are so privileged to be a part of, is not something we should take for granted. Maybe, the world will be a kinder, better place. Maybe, we can find a positive outcome from this crisis.
If you are a key worker at this time, thank you for everything. If you are staying at home, thank you for playing your part in keeping your friends and family safe.
Honestly, thank you.
For all updates surrounding the University’s response to COVID-19, visit: https://www.nottingham.ac.uk/coronavirus/
For well-being support at this time, visit: https://www.nottingham.ac.uk/currentstudents/healthyu/looking-after-your-mental-health-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak.aspx