My personal lockdown reflections – some positives and negatives

This week I have mainly been reflecting. Thoughts have been rattling around in my head and this morning it came to mind that writing them down always helps me to have clarity and would enable me to switch off for a week away from work.

Facebook – It has its benefits and drawbacks and at times it can be completely toxic. I have considered leaving it altogether over the years, but I enjoy the craft groups that I am part of and the interaction with friends and family. The negative aspects of it recently have been all of the posts about who is and who is not a “key worker” or a hero. It seems a divide of opinion, that a key worker is only someone in a certain job or role and anyone else that falls outside of this is not worthy. Even some of my own ex colleagues have been very vocal in this aspect, which at times has been quite hurtful I am sure to many other people. I have never seen my job as a nurse heroic or glamorous, as I always used to joke, “I wipe bums for a living, nice to meet you!” At times nursing has been a pleasure and at times it has been downright draining and exhausting, but I love it and have no clue what else I would do. The fact that my job is slightly aside from a front line does not mean that I am not affected by words or comments. I do what I do in my current role because I love the investigation, the supporting of others, the signposting and the professionalism of my job. I do it because I have the experience, have been well trained, supported by my team and am good at what I do. That does not mean that I am better or worse than anyone else, it does not mean that someone who keeps me safe in a vulnerable health group category by bringing a fruit and veg delivery is below me. In fact everyone merely surviving the madness that is this pandemic is a hero in my eyes, it is tough, relentless and cruel in its wake.

Racism & inequality – I have been fortunate in my life to have been brought up in a multicultural way. From the age of 4 I lived in a Yorkshire town, with Asian neighbours as well as other races. I had Asian friends in social and school life, I knew their families, was made to feel welcome in their home, ate their food, was part of their life. I grew up witnessing the pure hatred at times that they had to endure, which ranged from name calling to physical abuse or attacks on their homes for no reason other than their race. I am fortunate to still have kept in touch with many of my friends from childhood days and because my own home life was so chaotic in my early years, I am forever grateful for a glimpse of a loving family life in friends households and their parents welcoming me into theirs. Going forward into my professional career I was to witness racism again, with bullying of staff for their race and as a senior ward nurse seeing staff turned over for senior posts for that reason alone and there being no hiding of this fact. As I was so sickened by this I whistle blew and supported colleagues to get help via the staff unions at the time and attended tribunals with them. Fortunately in these cases, the unions managed to sort out the issues and affected staff eventually got promotions by changing area or some sadly gave up and went to another locality. It meant that I had not towed the line in some senior staffs eyes by speaking up, but I had been true to my own beliefs, helped someone in need and that is all that mattered to me. This led to me becoming a union steward myself last year, so I can continue to fight the good fight. In recent times we have been all aware of the hatred, brutality and murder of people for the colour of their skin or race. This is not new, but we have been reminded that in a modern society it is still there. I have been dismayed and saddened to hear people say things like “send them back where they came from” and the like – where exactly is this? England, where they were born?! Having done family history for many years, I realise that none of us are ‘pure’ anything, we all have a rich tapestry of backgrounds, it makes us who we are and we are all mixed race, colour and creed.

Kindness – I really do believe that kindness is everything. It doesn’t take much, it doesn’t cost money, it is a thought, a word, an action that helps someone in a moment in time. It might be a gesture, a hug, a shoulder to cry on or merely spotting that someone is struggling in some way, has not got the strength to ask for help and reaching out. You might get rebuffed, you might get a denial of them needing your help, but sometimes that comes full circle, and you have created that bridge for the future when they come to you. I have always been a ‘huggy’ person, I have always spotted someone in need, reached out, or tried to be a good friend. I don’t do it because I want something in return, I actually get my reward in seeing someone feel better, get back on the right track, or see them laugh or succeed in some way. It warms my heart to see these small acts of kindness such as, the group that I am part of making donated items such as the face mask adaptors, hearts for patients and family, scrubs, masks etc, they are all great people, some with their own mental health or physical disabilities to contend with; my friend who does a quiz sheet each month for a ยฃ1 which goes to all sorts of local charities and gives you something else to focus on and a bit of fun:

Bob Marley – Watching Bob Marley in YouTube’s – LEGACY: 75 years a legend series in lock-down, has been superb. His music, enthusiasm for life and pure love of life and the world is heart-warming. You cannot help but be drawn in by the reggae beat, but what a true poet this man was, his words still resonating and much needed in today’s madness. I was wondering what he would be saying or doing with all of the recent events, I am sure he would have carried on with his positive messages and try to unite a divided nation. Listening to his lyrics and music is so uplifting and a cathartic release from the present day and a way to escape from the world outside for a while. His mere presence must have been intoxicating and what true leadership he had which is much needed right now. Perhaps we could all try and be more kind and “Be More Bob”