As we South African’s head towards the complete lockdown today I feel as though I have fallen into a parallel universe. Today had a completely surreal quality for me.
I went to work as usual. I saw patients, both new and old… as usual.
But everywhere I went I had this feeling of utter confusion!
On one hand it felt to me like the day before Christmas. There were people out doing some last-minute shopping and getting “running repairs’ done on their hair and nails… almost like the final gift buying spree we usually see on Christmas Eve.
On the other hand, the whole atmosphere seemed to me to have an apocalyptic finality to it, as though I should appreciate every moment fervently because it may be the last time…
As I left the office, I felt desperate… not knowing what is going to happen… financial instability, medical instability and MOST OF ALL mental instability seemed to be afflicting everyone.
As I walked into my house and turned the key in the lock, I had a sudden sense of what it may feel like to be put in prison. To hear the clicking of a lock and wonder how things will be different when I hear that key turn again.
As we head towards the nationwide lock down, I am reminded of the last time that I felt like this. At that stage of my life, I was fighting the fight alone and the adversary that I faced was cancer, not the global corona virus pandemic. But the feelings were the same. Loneliness, fear, depression, confusion and uncertainty.
At that stage of my life I was 26 years old and I had to figure out how to get through it on my own. Now, as we build up to lockdown, I have some (sadly not all) of the answers and here they are:
Having worked on the frontlines of emergency medicine in a “past life,” I know how it feels.
Healthcare professionals including nurses, doctors and all allied professionals, I am here to support you. Please feel free to reach out to me during this difficult time. I will work pro-bono to support your mental health during this crisis. You can contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org
Stay safe and strong.
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