Here we are again… back in lockdown! Although hopefully it’s only brief this time, I know I can’t be alone in a general feeling of “UGH NOT AGAIN!” when thinking about the prospect. I also can’t be alone in knowing that dealing with my mental health is going to take more work than usual while inside.  

If I’m being honest – previous lockdowns combined with unemployment wreaked havoc on my mental health. I felt anxious, if not panicked, both about the possibility of contracting the virus as a person living with an autoimmune disorder and about the very idea of being largely inside my house for months.  

I was also experiencing a reemergence of depression symptoms, as I felt like lockdown had taken away all of my usual coping mechanisms. I typically rely on seeing friends, doing errands, going to a dance class and taking walks, so without these options I felt a bit out of my depth in terms of dealing with my feelings.  

In addition, I experienced some unexpected triggers of my PTSD around having no control over where I went, especially considering that I was living in an increasingly toxic environment with some housemates at the time.  

Lastly, I was faced with being alone with my thoughts and emotions. For those of you who have experienced mental health challenges, you’ll know how hard that can be. I ended up confronting things I had been through in the 6 months prior to the lockdown that were really challenging, and I struggled.  

All this is a long way of saying that lockdowns have been hard on me. So when I heard that we were going back in, I had some intense feelings of dread and panic that I’d be going through it all again, and not knowing if I could handle that.  

I’ve been reminding myself that it’s unlikely this lockdown will last too long. I’m also in a better situation now. I live in a wonderful house with housemates that have become like family, and although I will be home, I now have a job I love that will provide fulfillment to my days. None of this will disappear, even if the lockdown goes longer than expected.  

I hope that any of you reading this will be able to come up with your own similar reminders if you’re feeling similar anxiety about returning to lockdown. It’s so understandable to experience those feelings of fear, anxiety and uncertainty creeping up again, especially if previous lockdowns were tough for you.  

Just remind yourself that you are okay, that you got through the first time, and that you have the strength to get through this too. Also, give yourself permission to put yourself first right now, and make self-care a priority. I know I will be needing to, and there’s nothing wrong with that!