Our Chief Executive, Lesslie Young, looks at the importance of seeking support when experiencing loneliness during and beyond COVID-19 lockdown.
To all intents and purposes, we are in lockdown. Again. Many of us expected it as the last and most unwanted gift of Christmas. For some however, it is another seemingly impermeable layer of loneliness.
Yet again, despite the glimmer of hope with the vaccination programme being rolled out, the elderly, the learning disabled, those with life long and life limiting conditions find themselves in imposed isolation.
Everyone’s world is different, and no two experiences of this pandemic are the same. Everyone’s world is important even when others do not understand them.
F Scott Fitzgerald said, “The loneliest moment in someone’s life is when they are watching their whole world fall apart, and all they can do is stare blankly.”
How many worlds have already fallen apart, been torn apart or simply been snatched away? What plans have been made to rectify it all?
With no visitors, no physical contact, no activities, how many have retreated into a world, a very different world where they can no longer be reached? How many have been left staring blankly?
A young woman told me last week she now understands when she is told by decision makers it won’t be for long, they really mean it will be forever.
People with epilepsy, learning disability and many other conditions do not have to shield, unless they have other health conditions in the shielding category.
We are only too aware COVID-19 has had a detrimental impact on the wellbeing of those people who are now experiencing increased feelings of isolation and loneliness.
What to do if you are experiencing loneliness
- Call our helpline, the Epilepsy Scotland helpline is open weekdays from 10am – 4.30pm, during these challenging times, we are here for you to answer questions about epilepsy or if you need to talk to someone. Call our freephone helpline on 0808 800 2200, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave us a private message on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
- Sign up to our check-in service. We are offering a check-in service that will allow you discuss any concerns you have, ask any questions relating to your epilepsy or just have a conversation with someone who will check in regularly to see how you are coping. Call our Helpline to sign up.
- Come to one of our virtual coffee mornings, follow us on social media or call our Helpline to find out the next date.
- Join the Epilepsy Scotland support group on facebook. This group is a safe and non-judgemental meeting space for anyone affected by epilepsy in Scotland.
- Other ways to battle loneliness is to think of something you enjoy and sign up to an online interest group or class, this could be a book club, cookery class, craft group or Yoga.
- Always try to remember that there will be a return to meeting people and lots of social activities to look forward to in the future.
How to help others who may be lonely during lockdown
If a friend or neighbour lives alone it could make a huge difference to check in on them and let them know that you are thinking of them. You could drop them a letter or card, message them or arrange a virtual catch up.
The Mental Health Foundation has come up with acts of kindness that can help you to help others during the pandemic.
Please consider making a donation today
Back in September we distributed 11 laptops and tablets to young people, aged six to 17, across Scotland. This was made possible using funding secured by Epilepsy Scotland and generous donations from local businesses.
As our services will continue online for the foreseeable future, Epilepsy Scotland need to ensure that young people have access to digital devices to ensure they can continue to access services, battle loneliness and retain independence.