Unmasked

Day 238: I don’t know about you but despite the general day to day hate and division in the UK (Politics, Brexit stance, petrol shortages and social media trolling) it does feel like we are finally getting back to some kind of normality. My social anxiety has been at its worst during the last 18 months particularly when we were in between lockdowns and restricted movement. I’ve now been on a family holiday, family days out, sporting events, a music gig, a stag doo, a wedding, restaurants, pubs, shops and I’ve started a yoga class!

It’s safe to say I’ve tackled my anxiety head on and whilst I’ve struggled during the events or battled depression immediately after them (seems to be the come down of doing something positive) it has all been worth it to get to today. As I write this I’m sitting in a Car Dealership whilst my motor gets checked for a fault. There are no masks on staff or customers and not a single sign advised to keep distance, wear a covering or sanitise. Has this well known company gone rogue or is it just the reality of life returning back to normal with no enforced rules in place anymore?

I see masks worn pretty religiously in health care centres and supermarkets. I still wear my mask when I pop into a shop. I don’t see a single mask anymore at football matches on the concourse despite overcrowding and a general lack of hand hygiene. I can’t remember the last time I saw a face covering in a pub.

I used to overthink things about face coverings and social distancing. I say ‘overthink’ but I guess I was just keen to protect myself and others. Now I feel as if my guard is dropping and I’m not as thoughtful about my decision making on avoiding other humans. Is that a good thing? Should society still be carrying caution? Winter is coming and traditionally more people are unwell so should we not be raising our game not just against Covid but the other viruses which will be prevalent?

Or do we put faith in our immune system and vaccinations?

It’s probably the most I’ve thought about it in a while as I wrote today. I doubt I would have even shared this if I wasn’t sitting bored in a car dealership. I’m half expecting the mechanic to come back say the damaged heat shield isn’t covered by the warranty. They’ll swerve the responsibility I’m sure. Just like they have on the Covid front seemingly.

The Gypsy King

Day 236: Today is World Mental Health Day 2021 but my blog pretty much shares my experience and opinion on all things mental health every time I post so I don’t see the point in making a grand reference to it today other than in the same way I’d normally share. As I sit here today typing at 2:54pm I have now been up continuously since 2am. Through choice may I add. As a Boxing fan and a huge fan boy of Heavyweight Champion Tyson Fury I set a very early alarm so I could watch his title fight against the American Deontay Wilder. It was an amazing watch and despite a few frights my man retained his title and his unbeaten record. I love Tyson in a Boxing sense but in recent years he has also spoken openly about his own mental health issues. Something which I can relate to and respect him for.

Fury spent three years out of the ring due to mental health issues after beating Wladimir Klitschko in 2015 to claim the WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight titles. He battled depression, addiction and suicidal thoughts, which culminated in him nearly driving his Ferrari off a bridge at 190mph. Fury has said he “lost the will to live” and “prayed for death on a daily basis”.

Last week Fury was quoted in iNews as saying “I think mental health problems are bigger than everything because it doesn’t care who you are. I have been unwell all my life. I didn’t know what it was. I remember having anxious feelings and being left behind. I didn’t know why I was feeling this way as a kid. And all the way growing up as a young teenager, a young adult. Some days I felt like I didn’t want to live anymore but I thought that was normal. But clearly it’s not. I believe you can never get over mental health never. But you can learn to maintain it.”

In the last few years alone he has overcome drink and drug issues, lost over 10 stone in weight and reclaimed his World title which he was stripped of following doping bans and his decision to be inactive during his darkest days. Last night he defended said title and pretty much confirmed himself as the best heavyweight fighter on the planet if you didn’t think he was already (I did).

It’s important that influential people whether they are Sportsmen like Tyson, musicians, film stars or politicians speak out about their own struggles (if they are at a stage in their journey to do so) and continue to normalise mental health in society. As Tyson says – mental health issues don’t discriminate.

So, I’m very tired now. I’ve had an active weekend clearing soil from our driveway (13 rubble bags filled) and those went in a skip earlier. My back is cattled. I took my oldest daughter to the local Parkrun this morning to watch the children complete the 2KM circuit. We are going to give it a go next Sunday. I’ve played with Lego, Peppa Pig figures, danced in the living room to Disney melodies and pretended to be a horse for my youngest daughter in the garden. Definitely an early night for me ahead of a full week at work. But first, I’m off to cook our family dinner. Roast Pork Shoulder with all the trimmings. Yummy.