I have found it hard to write this week. Anxiety, tiredness and addressing the banal have consumed any time or energy that I might otherwise have had to write. Thoughts have passed through my head and some I have even jotted down, but putting them together into something coherent has felt beyond my reach.

The beginning of the week was not easy. My wife and I are both self-employed and what with a lack of financial help from the government and the start of the lockdown, to say my anxiety went through the roof is not an overstatement. I know there are many who are in an even more precarious position but nonetheless this was not a place I wanted to be in. I don’t think it helped knowing that the government was quite generously helping others. Difficult not to feel angry.

On Tuesday I think I my body ran on adrenaline alone, as my mind spent the day whirling around, catastrophising and doing its fight-or-flight dance of agitation. It didn’t help that the mobile networks seemed to be down either so trying to make phone calls was nigh on impossible.

Subsequently, I was exhausted and ended up having tension headaches for most of the week.

Thankfully, put under pressure to act, the government have now done something similar for the self-employed, so we can relax a little knowing there is a safety net.

I am due to get my next batch of meds and discovered that our surgery is currently unable to get them. Luckily a local pharmacy has them so no problems there but does this mean more people are being prescribed antidepressants because of the pandemic?

On a more human level there has been a second positive to the week. I don’t find it easy to trust people - not an uncommon thing, but I think my mental health issues contribute towards a difficulty with interpersonal relationships. But over the week I have seen a side to people that I don’t expect. By its very nature, the relationship we have with our clients is transcactional - I don’t expect any more from them. But some of them have gone beyond that this week in understated ways that show they think of us as people and not just a business.

And that means a lot.

Stephen James

Minding the gaps

© Stephen James 2021

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