The second contribution to my request for guest blogs during this pandemic comes from an unexpected source. I reached out to her personally and asked her to write as I know she is still working incredibly hard as a carer/support worker. One of the wonderful people we clap for on a Thursday night.
Debbie has been a great friend for the last 7 or 8 years and is a huge supporter of this blog so it’s an honour for me that she gave up some of her precious time to write for me and you.
A gentle reminder if you would like to write anything about how this lockdown period is affecting you please contact me via facebook, twitter, Instagram or email direct at email@example.com.
Over to you Debbie, and thank you once again…..
Lockdown for a Support Worker
Day #7264869, or whatever time, day, month or year it ACTUALLY is!!
I am a Support Worker, supporting adults with learning disabilities and autism, so I still have to go to work, just the same as I did before the lockdown.
I work in a community that has supported living houses and flats, and I work in a house where there are 8 vulnerable adults living there, all with different needs and personal challenges, all cooped up under one roof. As you can imagine, it can be a bit chaotic on a “normal” day, when people have the routine of workshops, day centres, 1-1 times out shopping, etc, never mind in lockdown, when this routine has abruptly stopped!!!
For a lot of the people we support, they lack the full capacity to understand WHY this has happened. As support workers, it is our job to go to work and try to keep them focussed and positive and occupied, in a time when we don’t have the answers to the questions that they keep asking…
”When can I go and see my family?”,
“When can I go and do my own shopping?”,
“Why can’t I go for a drive out to the seaside/cinema/pub?”
It can be very difficult, and when you are on long shifts, sleepovers or night shifts, and you get these questions SEVERAL times each shift, by each person we support, it can be very emotionally draining, but, we keep our “professional” heads on and try to explain it for the hundredth time, in a way that will pacify each person. (For a short time, anyway).
BUT….When we go home, how do WE cope with the sudden change in everyday life? How do WE keep positive and focussed, when all around us is uncertainty? I live alone, with only my dog as company, as my kids have flown the nest and have built lives of their own, for which I am immensely proud. After all, that’s a Mother’s job, isn’t it? To teach her fledglings to fend for themselves? Job Done!!!!!!
When the lockdown was first introduced, I was like, “Well it’s not going to make a difference to my routine. All I do anyway, is go to work, come home, walk the dog and do my shopping, and I will just be doing exactly the same!”. And I am really comfortable in my own company, so it won’t affect me……
Here we are, over a month later, and YES, my routine is still the same; YES, I am still comfortable in my own company; BUT….I am not allowed to pop and see the kids, nor are they allowed to pop and see me. 😦 I still, very briefly, and from a distance, see my eldest daughter and her husband, as they take care of my dog when I am on long shifts, so we do a “poochy handover”, but, it’s not the same.
I NEED to hug my kids, feel them close, kiss them, spend time with them for a catch up, and it is THAT which I am really struggling with!! Some days, I sit, and my mind goes into overdrive, as I am sure it does with a lot of people, and I end up with a train of thought that takes me through dark tunnels…
What if the lockdown continues for a LONG time?
What if I take ill at home, on my own, unable to raise the alarm?
What if something happens to one of my kids, and I can’t be there?
This is what scares me, raises my anxieties. My kids are my life, without them, I have no purpose. I need them. I think, in all honesty, these thoughts and feelings have always been there since my final fledgling flew the nest, but I could go and see them when I wanted to, and this was my safety net. That safety net has been taken away, and I now realise that going to work, keeping that routine, has become my new safety net.
When I go to work, I don’t have time to overthink, I am too busy. When I go to work, I get the social interaction with others. When I go to work, I have some ‘normality’. I am VERY lucky to still be able to go to work. I am VERY lucky that it only takes me 15 minutes to walk to work. I am VERY lucky to work in such a beautiful community, in such beautiful surroundings, and to be able to go for long walks with the people we support, whilst remaining inside that community.
This is what keeps ME focussed. This is what keeps ME positive. This is what helps ME to do my job properly, knowing that the people we support are safe, happy and busy. I know not everyone is in such a privileged position, and I have realised that, if I couldn’t go to work, MY mental health would deteriorate rapidly!! So I am so very thankful to be a Support Worker…..