Shielding is OVER! For now anyway.
I have finally reached the end of my shielding sentence without going completely insane. Well, mostly. It’s been a proper rollercoaster (scuse the cliché) of emotions, highs lows, lots of watching The Repair Shop on repeat (new addiction) and wearing pillows for a lockdown challenge.
As much as I’m excited to be let off the leash and be able to go outside, safely of course, I seem to have grown a FOGO (Fear Of Going Out).
Let’s face it, the virus is still in society and hasn’t gone away, no matter how low numbers are in terms of the R rate. I live in Wales and infection rates seem to be low at the moment (touch wood). But that doesn’t stop me feeling worried about venturing out in the outside world again.
I feel that I’m being rushed to go outside when I don’t feel ready and safe to. People have just assumed that just because my shielding date is come and gone, it means the virus has miraculously disappeared and I can hop on a plane for a week’s holiday. Nah, it doesn’t work like that.
Like other people who have been shielding, we will make the decision to go out when WE feel comfortable to, just because the government have given us the thumbs up to leave the house, it doesn’t mean it’s safe to do so. Would you want to follow the advice of a government that have basically done a titting awful job on handling this pandemic? Hmm, think about that one.
But yes, I seemed to have FOGO right now and I can’t shake it off. I still feel wary of everything and everyone right now. Is it wrong that I’m looking at people and wondering if they got the virus in them (asymptomatic) and are not presenting any symptoms but could easily pass it on to me?
If I do go out, which is usually to take my Mam to the corner shop, hairdressers or dentist, I wear a mask. Even if I’m sat in the car, I only do that when the window is open, as they say, the virus can stay airborne. I just don’t want to chance anything. Am I slowly becoming a hypochondriac? Or am I just being careful like I’m supposed to be?
I’m actually debating giving the psychologist on my CF team a call and asking them about this. I don’t want to become agoraphobic or a recluse. That’s something that scares me, just as much as going out right now.
I’m lucky that I live in Wales and I have only followed Wales’ guidelines in terms of their easing of lockdown and the phases which they have eased us in to. I will be going back to work soon and as I work with adults who bring their children to a play centre, it doesn’t fill me with much excitement, it fills me more with fear. As much as I want to go back to work, I’m still going to be very anxious about dealing with customers again. But I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.
I will pace myself when it comes to going out properly. I will be wearing my face mask, gloves, carrying hand gel and keeping out of everyone’s way for the time being. Things won’t be the same for a while, it’s a new normal we all have to get used to. For people who are shielding, we have to be extra careful than we were before – and it doesn’t fill us with reassurance.
So here’s a little bit of advice/wisdom for those who know somebody who is shielding. Just because our shielding sentence is over, it doesn’t mean that the virus has disappeared and that we’re no longer in a pandemic. It’s still out there, it could still seriously make us ill or even kill us. Don’t think that we’re boring or being wimps for not wanting to go out with you eg to a restaurant, to the shopping centre or to the park for a picnic, we still have to be extremely careful. Our immune systems need time to readjust to the outside world again. Our mental health is still recovering from not seeing loved ones and being afraid of the outside world. Be kind, don’t judge and bear with us. This is even scarier for us as it is for you.
If you’ve been shielding, how do you feel about going out again?