First trip outside
Karine and her wife Sarah are both Euan’s Guide Ambassadors who have been shielding since March. Recently they took their first trip outside as lockdown measures ease. Karine kindly shares this experience with us in her latest Voices of Covid blog.
During our 122 day captivity the one constant was that Sarah was excited to get back out the house and I wasn’t. So as you can imagine, this played out exactly as you would expect when we got the news that we were allowed to leave the house. Sarah jumped about the place and packed a little bag of things to take into our carpark so we could socially distance meet up with our parents. On the other hand, there was a fair chance that she was going to have to put my wheelchair into manual and roll me out under duress. The only thing that actually motivated me out of the flat in the end, was my mum being outside in the car park waiting to see me properly after all this time, and the promise of Sarah’s banana bread.
I am very open about my mental health struggles and anxiety is one that has plagued me for a number of years. I had built this moment up in my head and it took all my will power and Sarah’s calming influence to get my wheels out the door.
Once I was out and we had set up mum’s chair at a safe distance, it was actually easier than I had thought to be outside. It did still take a little while for my shoulders to detach from my ears and whenever a car or people came into the car park, I started to get fearful again. That being said we stayed out for a couple of hours and I was thoroughly distracted by meeting a 10 month old puppy and then a 12 week old puppy. It wasn’t until we came back in the building that my anxiety started up with a vengeance and I was close to a panic attack. I could only think of all the things that I might have touched and what I needed to scrub with antibacterial soap. Poor Sarah was left running after me with hand sanitiser and comforting words.
We have been out twice since then and it has become easier although I still start panic when I come back in the building, despite Sarah pointing out that these last two times I have literally touched nothing apart from my wheelchair. She still humours me and sprays the hand sanitiser wherever I need.
The good news is that we got to see our mums, our nan and our best friend, it had been far too long! We are excited to start introducing ourselves into society again, at our own pace and comfort. Shielding may be coming to an end but remember to take it at your own pace and do what feels comfortable to you. We have been in a scary situation and it is acceptable to need time to adjust to all the changes.
Thank you Karine for sharing this experience with us. You can read Karine’s previous Voices of Covid blog where she shares techniques she uses to look after her mental health.
Get in touch if you have a story you would like to share with us. Or leave a review to tell us where you felt Covid confident visiting. All you need to do is send a quick email letting us know what you would like to discuss or leave a voicemail on 0131 510 5106 and we’ll get back to you.