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2020 accepting Covid-19 different Jesus Listening lockdown mental health issues privilege

Privileged?

Photo by myself – Reykjavik Iceland early morning Oct 2016

One of the big things that is taught about how to look after your mental health is not to compare yourself to others because your trauma, your issues, your situation, is yours and it is hard for you. It may appear easier than someone else’s but that doesn’t matter. As lockdown has eased there have been more articles appearing about how those born from about 1990’s are struggling with lockdown and those born before 1965 are wondering what all the fuss is about.

I have been trying to write a blog post about rights and privileges but it hasn’t been coming. I did do one just after the Brexit vote which flowed but this one was not coming. Lots of drafts but nothing that made sense to what I wanted to write. Then, after receiving a forwarded article from a friend from her local vicar, and going for a long walk on the beach with the dog, it all fell into place.

In this article, from my friend’s vicar, he talks of all the major historic events that happened for those born in 1900 compared to those born in 2000. And yes those born this century have not had to deal with 2 world wars, plus 2 minor wars that the West was involved in, major economic crashes, and the Spanish flu, amongst other things. And yes those things are horrendous and are not comparable to not being able to go to school, not being able to hang out with friends, not knowing if you can go abroad on holiday, of having to wear masks, of being confined at home, miss out on growing and developing as an adult at university. No they do not compare but they are the issues that young people are having to walk through and it does not make them any less traumatic.

As another retired friend of mine said that even though she misses her friends and her clubs, etc, she has had a life that she can look back on when she’s at home on her own. There is the phone to call people and she’s getting the hang of video calling too. But as she says, she’s had her life. Even for myself, I missed seeing people for those first couple of months but now I can go visiting and am even off to England to see family. I’m even restarting horse riding today. I have reached a stage in my life where I don’t want much but that is because I have done things, travelled, partied, had freedom to come and go as I like, in my teens, 20s and 30s.

Also I believe our media has spent that this century pumping anxiety into us from climate change to Brexit to terrorism. We live in fear and are constantly in flight or fight mode but can do nothing to change it. So our young people have been born into this high anxiety media storm with social media and image over riding so much. So no it isn’t a World War pr any of the things listed above, but this lockdown is riding on the back of traumas, anxieties and much more. As well as the media portraying the pandemic as possibly never ending.

So let us be kind to those who look at some of things that we might see as privileges as their right. Let us try and understand why they feel this way and not just tell them that “it was harder in my day“. That really isn’t helpful. That piles on the guilt which makes anxieties even stronger. It becomes not just “what is wrong with the world” but “what is wrong with me“.

I’m sure Jesus would have listened to both the young and the old and all those in between without judgement or condemnation. Shall we give it a go?

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2020 Airbnb belief blacklivesmatter humble Mary Oliver reset Rest trust Trust God

Humility

Newborough Beach, 2007 – taken by me

This season for me, as you can tell from reading my blogs, has been being reminded of prophetic words. When I first got into this prophetic praying one of the major verse was:

If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

2 Chronicles 7:14

I believe this is another of the “Reset” places we should be exploring as the pandemic still creeps across the world.

I believe the word “sin” basically means that we have screwed up, been selfish, missed God’s mark. So we need to go back and humble ourselves before God and say we have screwed up. This is being highlighted in Black Lives Matter, the continued abuses and inequalities between women and men, wanting to see the economy recover often to the detriment of people, climate change, animal welfare, etc.

Reading this news I have noticed that whenever some country or world leader boasts about how they are doing with this virus suddenly they get a spike in Covid-19 cases. Pride steps in, they want to tell everyone how well they did and then bam! they get walloped. It is like the virus is saying to “get off your high horse” and be humble.

Being a practical person I have always have to say what can I/we do?

Well I think the only true way is to stop saying we know what we’re doing and stop, wait, rest and let peace flow into our troubled minds and stop rushing about trying to sort out what the “new normal” is going to be.

But, as I’ve said before, I see people being busy, wanting answers, rushing into the next thing. And this happens as much with Christians as much as anyone. There has been a rush in our church to deep clean to get things “open again” and in England Sunday services are happening so it won’t be long before they start in Wales. But I don’t know of many people who have been praying to find out what God wants to happen next.

But to stop moving forward and to wait on God – or if you don’t believe in God then the universe, a higher power, that inner gut feeling – takes time, and might cause change. Do we really want change?

I took my own advise seriously and during my morning dog walks on the beach I started to ask God what I was do with my “one wild and precious life”. I came away feeling that I was to take my rooms off Airbnb and not advertise for anyone to stay and to trust that if we were meant to have people staying they would find us. Over coffee that Saturday morning I chatted with my husband and he totally agreed. It is odd because the only reason we moved up to North Wales and bought this big house was to do Airbnb! We move up here a place of trusting God, but that was to do something. Now this whole waiting to see what the plan is next is much harder and more humbling because we cannot do anything.

Two blog posts have been particularly helpful in this process: Trusting in Jesus, do not let your heart be troubled and Let Jesus Hold Your Stuff For You

I believe with all things, if we don’t give them to Jesus and leave them in his hands, then we will never be humble. It is not easy and is an on going process, one that God started with me nearly 30 years ago. I’m glad God has more patience with me than I often have with myself.

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How Quickly We Get Use To Things

Pensarn Beach – early morning during lockdown

Sixteen weeks ago today Britain went into lockdown. Most presumed it would only be for a month, two at the most. We talked about Blitz spirit, how Shakespeare wrote King Lear during a plague lockdown, and worried about toilet rolls, yeast and flour. No one, I don’t think, expected sixteen week and then things opening as they are doing.

Now things are opening up and I must say I’m not sure I like it! Yesterday I took my regular walk which goes along a fairly main road, a footbridge over a major road, along the beach and back through the park. Sixteen weeks ago there was no traffic along the roads. You could stand for a while and see the main arterial road along the North Wales coast totally devoid of cars until you got bored and carried on walking. In fact it did get boring seeing roads with no cars on and people stopped posting photos. But also the footpaths were busy with walkers and cyclists and people all avoiding each other. A couple of months ago the traffic started to get busier.

Yesterday though it was a Sunday and it was 7am both roads were busy. The holiday cottage, which had been in the process of being renovated when lockdown came, now has a high fence around it in preparation for privacy for the holiday makers who will enjoy their stay two minutes from the beach. The caravan park is now reopened. After seeing these static caravans locked up, the gate to their site padlocked for so long, I had got used to it being a ghost place. But yesterday there were cars parked by the mobile homes, gates wide open, sleepy residents wandering the shingle whilst smells of bacon call them back to eat.

I know it is all “good for the economy” but I’m not sure I like it. I enjoy it when I walked round my little seaside town and only saw locals.

On Friday my husband, myself and the dog were volunteers as part of the “welcome back to Snowdonia” campaign; reasuring people about the measure in place to keep the virus at bay (e.g. foot pumped hand sanitizers outside each toilet block) and reminding them that in Wales we still have the two metre distancing rule. I’m sure for the locals of Snowdonia, a place that can have over 5,000 tourists fill the area each day, it must be a huge change. Yes like me I’m sure that they are pleased to see their shops and cafes, restaurant and pubs back open. I’m sure that they are pleased to have income coming into their area. But I wonder too if they miss the tranquility, the “knowing everyone” feel that went on for the last sixteen weeks.

It only takes a month to build a habit. Four months and it had become our “new normal”. Now we are being asked to change again. And being the amazing human species that we are we will manage it and in a month or two the “new normal” will feel … well normal!

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Littering

Newborough Beach taken by me in June 2017. I do miss this place but hopefully soon we can travel there

With lockdown easing people have been rushing to local beauty stops, getting out more, picnicking more but they seem to be leaving more litter/trash/rubbish (depending on which country you are from). But the question is why?

I was going to put a newspaper headline on here but there are too many and all of them repeat a similar message – that there has been an increase in people leaving their behind. Why?

I was chatting with a friend who does Quantum Energy counselling and she believes it has a lot to do with us all being in trauma of some kind. And I think that’s correct. Many of us can identify incidents through our lives where there has been a trauma of some kind that we have not dealt with and so we live in a fight or flight mode for too long. But for the last few years we have been encouraged to live with fear. I believe one of the key reasons people voted for Brexit was because of fear. The media throws fear and anxiety in our faces continuously and now we have the “joy” of 24 hour news channels that have to say something! And it isn’t good.

Just off the top of my head the anxieties I can identify our land with are – global warming, immigration, brexit, fear of not having job, a holiday, not having enough of what will make us loved and cared for, and then we’ve now got a pandemic to worry about.

A friend wrote a piece about her issues with PTSD If you read it as well as it being personal to her it could relate to the whole world especaially this first paragraph

” Flashbacks, intense emotions, hypervigilence, outbursts of anger, panic attacks, tense muscles, relationship problems, nightmares, exhaustion, amnesia, withdrawal and fear.

https://httpgraceisenough.wordpress.com/2020/07/03/how-to-support-someone-with-post-traumatic-stress-disorder/

Look at how people have been reacting over the last few months, or even few years. Huge bursts of anger and emotions, increase in relationship issues, fears, tiredness, and also withdrawing. I would add to that a increase in the need to use alcohol, substances, shop, indulge in high adeneline activities, and an increase in labeling of mental illness and special needs behaviours.

So take all the above, then add three months of being told not to go out, go to work or school, or being in fear of going to a “key” work place, not being able to see friends and family, not being able to grieve a death because of not being able to attend a funeral, or to celebrate the end of school, a birthday, a wedding, and then seeing government leaders and others who are seen as “authority figures” seemingly doing as they pleased. Is this any wonder that people not longer care enough to take their litter home?

My friend goes on to list ways of being able to help someone with PTSD which include providing social support, being a good listener and building trust and safety. Go back to what I’m saying and people don’t want to listen. They are desperate to talk about themselves and also to ignore the situation. I believe a lot of people do not know how to build up a place a trust and safety because the world feels like such a scary place.

So if people are seeing the world as unsafe, of not giving them support, and are not listening to the deep needs of the land, then they will not care for it. No longer wil they be able to do the small things that in a calmer, safer world would have been taken for granted – like clearing up litter.

It is easy to be angry with people who don’t do these things but again one has to ask why am I getting angry? Is it because of the anxiety and stress I am feeling? And is the spirit/energy in my town, household, country, one that resembles the key componants of PTSD?

In looking at this subject I have seeing things that I believe we could work on that will help to bring about changes, but will save that for my next post. .