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Lockdown Meltdown? Bring it on….

I am naturally a do-er. The word No rarely passes my lips. Will you make brownies, asks my youngest? Sure, I reply, despite the fact I have enough on my plate. Whose turn to take the dog for his constitutional, asks no-one, because it’s the same person every day. Me. What are we having for dinner tonight, asks everyone….can we have green thai curry, mum….? Of course, I say, and whip up dessert as well. I don’t want to let anyone down. I like to keep busy, it takes my mind off the bigger, scarier picture. Like I said, I’m a do-er and now more than ever I feel like I have to keep going, support those I work with and for, keep being positive. I think of it as lockdown overdrive...

Now I’m not writing this to garner sympathy or come across as some domestic goddess. I am far from that. I want to share that yesterday the action woman in me came crashing to a halt. I felt like I couldn’t go on. I felt weepy and untethered. Part of me was terrified by this; another part, perhaps the sane part, sensed it could be a good thing. Call it a lockdown meltdown. Call it a ‘stop the world I want to get off’ moment. In truth, I wonder how I’ve kept this at bay for this long. If you’ve allowed yourself a full-blown hissy fit, congratulations. If you haven’t had one yet, let me tell you, it’s surprisingly therapeutic. Who says we have to be superheroes the whole time? Switch off your inner critic and hard task master and see what happens...

My husband saw me unravelling and prescribed what he calls the three B’s. Bed, Bottle (a hot water one, not vodka) and Book. The first two felt spot on. The third was just too much for me. I literally couldn’t read a sentence. I had to stop, do nothing. Retreat into myself. So that’s what I did. And it’s something I don’t often do. It’s something many of us never do. The fear of what you might find, or feel, if you grind to a halt…


Under the covers, clutching my hot water bottle felt so right and so soothing, but as I gave into inaction, I observed the part of me that wanted to fire up again. I felt guilty for lying there but knew that I didn’t have it in me to do anything else. I felt utterly defeated. But in defeat I was actually winning.

It’s liberating to shun all media (even temporarily) that promotes the message you have to be creating, making, having a ball within your own four walls. My sourdough is bigger than your sourdough. My painting is more Picasso than your painting. And so it goes on….

Well, yesterday I was responsible for diddly squat. I didn’t walk the dog - my son did. I switched off my phone. Abandoned my Kindle. Told the family that mum’s diner was closed until further notice. I allowed myself to do nothing and retreat within. I tuned into a silence and stillness that felt so good, so right. It was just me and my hot water bottle. It’s not easy to be left with just yourself but if you sit with it (or even lie down with it), and resist the temptation to distract yourself, it’s really powerful.

So my take on it is this. Don’t fight that meltdown. If it’s due, let it come. Wallow in it. You’ve earned it. Let go of all the external stuff and props that keep you on that lockdown hamster wheel. Half a day (or more) of nothingness, may be exactly what you need. I won’t say I feel like a new woman, but today I feel more in tune with myself and more peaceful. And more than happy to bake that tray of brownies. (But I will ask someone else to do the washing-up!)

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