Life thru social media lenses

…and the soul-destroying impact of the continued isolation especially for those still vulnerable in this pandemic.

…which is why my heart sank a little further on seeing this graph.

It has been over a year since the country went into its first lockdown. In my case it started earlier because I simply wasn’t willing to take the chances of Johnson’s hand-shaking bravado of early 2020.

For the past few weeks the cycle of fatigue and depression has been particularly tough to break. Not least because I’m now in my tenth year of chronic mental ill health that stopped me from working full time. Millions of us with chronic / long term conditions have had treatments delayed, postponed, reduced, cancelled due to the NHS having to redirect resources to deal with the pandemic. Furthermore, the persistent failure of ministers to get to grips with the mental ill-health epidemic does not fill me with confidence even if we assume we are on the way out of this pandemic with no further lockdowns. (I remain to be convinced).

Learning to socialise again

“It’s not surprising many of us might be feeling socially ‘rusty’. We’ve all, to varying extents, experienced loneliness and social isolation during the pandemic, two things that can be linked to cognitive decline in specific ways.”

Something I’ve been telling myself of late is that the person on the Twitter account or on the FB page can never be the complete picture of who that person is. In the grand scheme of things I’ve not been anywhere outside of ‘routine places’ in South Cambridge since the lockdown.

Should the remaining stages of lockdown be lifted as planned, it won’t be the end of it. The virus has to be eradicated for all of the restrictions to be lifted. That means sports and leisure industries, and large public indoor events being put on as before. And in my case being able to go to libraries & archives, go to rehearsals, and take part in talks and events. For others it might be pubs, bars, & night clubs, through to religious services.

“Does it feel like much has changed as we emerge from lockdown?”

Not really – and perhaps that’s one of the things I find so disappointing: the traffic jams, the motorists driving with loud engines in contravention of noise regulations (and underfunded police & local authorities unable to enforce the law) along with the familiar sore throats from increased air pollution are all the more noticeable. It’s hard not to notice the number of emergency roadworks from the utility companies – in particular the controversial water companies. The planned works that have been recently completed such as one of the roundabouts near Addenbrooke’s is already full of potholes.

I get the sense that we’ll have to see the changes in our physical environment before it feels like things have changed – and ideally for the better. That means things like transport infrastructure starting with segregated walking and cycling routes. Furthermore, what will our town centres look like with so many household names having disappeared? And linked to that, where will all the new jobs come from?

Because whatever the future looks like I hope it’s one that involves more time being with people in a meaningful way, and less time staring at the outside world through the social media lens. And it’s not just me saying that – as this viral post recently reflected. I hope Jonathan gets well soon, having been in a similar position to the one he’s in now.

See my Cambridge local history posts at Lost Cambridge.

Please support my future work on local history & local democracy in and around Cambridge via my Ko-Fi page.

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