Letters from Cardiff in lockdown: Anonymous #4

Today’s instalment for the Letters from Cardiff in lockdown series comes from an anonymous keyworker . We’re looking for your stories, so please contribute to Letters from Cardiff in lockdown

Bute Park. Photo by We Are Cardiff

Lockdown Diaries

How is it when the world slows and stops, my world speeds up? As the nation was edging into lockdown my mind raced. The anxiety in my body peaked with racing thoughts; tense jaw and finger picking taken to extremes. Planning, watching, waiting, thoughts spinning. Sleepless nights from the worry of what will happen, who will die, what will life look like. The waiting, like a big inhale was dizzying. It felt like waiting for a car to crash or a wave to wash over me.

Then lockdown hit. And the calmness came. We were in. I rolled up my sleeves and expected long days.

As a keyworker, my work sped up like nothing else. Hours upon hours of planning, changing our systems and expecting a significant reduction in staff whilst maintaining a critical service. I could just about see a way forward, pulling together like a war time spirit.

The fear waiting for my loved ones and colleagues to get ill. Some of us did, like me, but we recovered. Was it Covid? Who knows? I’m still here. Life has carried on. For me anyway.

I struggle with anxiety. Most days. Every day actually. Its like I’m carrying a backpack of worries around that feel and look a lot like rocks. Sometimes I realise I have forgotten something, a rare moment of calm which makes me worry, then I pick up the bag. It’s my status quo, a soothing place to be. Calculating what dreadful things could happen and cringing of some of the things I’ve said or done. Worrying about the plans and decisions I made. Making myself promises I rarely keep. Tying myself into knots.

Six weeks into lockdown. I feel lighter, freer and I’m being so much kinder to myself. I’m working as much as ever. But the bag of rocks has been left at the door. Why do I waste so much time worrying? When sh*t gets real, I cope. I always do. Why don’t I believe in myself?

I’m calm and my thinking is sharper. I’m finding what I love, taking time for me. Gardening, red wine and reading books.  I’m spending a lot of time reflecting on who and what I am. And what I can be. How I can throw the rocks away and be kind to myself.

One big difference is my energy levels and motivation. Both are low. I find it hard working from home. Its so much more intense. I’m still skipping lunch breaks and don’t have enough hours in the day. I miss the routine of driving to work, blasting some tunes, grabbing a coffee. These routines transport me to work and home again.

Home was my sanctuary, my private space rarely interrupted. A place free from work. I always valued this separation. This has transformed.

My commute now is closing down the laptop and walking down the stairs.

I miss that golden moment when you have time off. The excitement from the sense of freedom, thinking of all the things you can. I value the time to recharge and just be me. But my work life balance is massively skewed now. At least I have a job, I recognise this.

I have realise I live a simple life and love simple pleasures. I miss my freedom to potter and ponder, seeing new places and going away. I am a free spirit and whilst I need routine, I find the lack of difference draining.

I miss my family and friends, but I know pragmatically they are safe and it’s for the best.

Some people close to me are ill, but what can I do? I have to stay strong. I cannot change a thing. I think I have found some inner peace whilst the world is in turmoil.

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