Far be it from me to add, more than I already have, to the slush pile of Covid 19 Coronavirus Crisis column inches being written but I’m noticing a trend.  

There’s a divide between people who are finding lockdown good for their mental health – getting fit, getting tidy, and getting that all-important bread baked – and those who are just generally raging against the government without getting a great deal achieved.  Where I ask you, are all the people that are out there losing their minds?  People who have found in the space of six weeks that those two (three?) glasses of wine a night have become two bottles.  Those ten smokes a day are more like forty.  People who had jobs and are now struggling along on Universal Credit are surely going out of their heads having to chose which night of the week they’re going to ‘make do’ and not eat.  Are these not the people we should be hearing from, instead of the joggers and the bakers and the slebs?  I like patting myself on the back as much as the next person and showing off my skills (whoops, I mean I’m far too edgy about that unless there’s a fair amount of blood in my winestream) but I’d rather hear, see or be reading about the real stuff.  How many of you are going to carry on with your newfound love for restoring old pieces of tat when the pubs reopen?  Will you still be telling us about your endeavours in making handcrafted-Steampunk-inspired-crack-pipe-bracelets-made-with-real-human-horse-hair when you’re working forty hours a week again? 
I suspect that there are many who are finding that being locked down with their families becoming less like The Archers and more like The Shining.  Where are those posts on social media?

‘Have become possessed by the spirit of the house.  Big mood to kill the fam for some reason LMAO.  Also seem to be checking the boiler a lot.’

Perhaps I’m lucky enough to be surrounded by either relentlessly positive people or people who are just bored, but I feel like I’m not getting the whole story, just these bloody hobbies.  
My father’s got a hobby:  drinking two bottles of scotch a day and not having face-to-face contact with anyone for weeks at a time because his friends are all self-isolating.   He’s up there on the ‘at risk’ list but God knows what not seeing anyone does in terms of risk to that all-important mental wellbeing.  Being pissed from 4 am onwards would suggest it’s not great.  I’m writing this for him and a few friends I know are going mad being stuck inside their heads all day, even those who have their dreaded families to talk to.  Where’s their support system?  We’re all being told to keep in touch with each other but no one wants to be the one to say, ‘You know what? I’ve just cracked open my second packet of fags to go with my third bottle of poison because I’m not coping’ when your interlocutors are telling you about the cake they just baked.

It’s not so much the FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) syndrome so willingly perpetuated by social media – there’s nothing to miss out on – as a Fear of Bringing People Down, which sadly doesn’t work as an acronym.  There’s a sense of ‘well, things are bad enough as they are without me telling everyone my troubles on top’ when in reality takes all sorts to make a world – including some good old fashioned pulling-your-hair-out ranting.

Alex Viveash 

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