Antonio, May 22, 2020

The pandemic we find ourselves in today has been, an event that began off as extremely difficult to deal with. I remember as a kid being grounded; never did I imagine a whole country being grounded. I remember when my parents would ask me, “why don’t you spend more time at home?”, now they ask me, “why don’t you go out for a walk?”.

When I think about it, the shift in attitudes is quite interesting and at times quite amusing.

Initially, I was quite down and demotivated at the announcement of lockdown. I did not want to communicate with anyone, I was annoyed everything I had planned ended up being canceled or postponed, and overall, I felt really lost.  

As a person who lives with schizophrenia, I used to isolate myself and take myself away from society. It might have been easier to go back to that route because of lockdown.

However, nothing worthwhile comes easy and that is simply how I worked it out. A challenge can be positive. Coming out of your comfort zone can have its perks. Trying something new that you may have not had the time to try before, may just unlock a skill you were never aware of before. In these circumstances, time is not an excuse. A schedule is mandatory.

Furthermore, living with schizophrenia, along with being on lock down can trigger memories of being in hospital, on section. So, in this case, it really does help alternating the environment as much as possible. This could really be the way I communicate with friends; a phone call might get too repetitive, instead sometimes I try a video call. If I cannot get through with a video call, then a gaming chat room it is!

Do not fall into consistent repetitiveness. It really is a great time to explore avenues. That comes along with how I then stay connected with friends. As I mentioned, a phone call is sweet and simple. Why would you want to keep too simple in these circumstances though? When you are living with schizophrenia, in the care of someone else, a simple or basic routine is what you are made to get used to.

They tell us we are not able to achieve much or do much; we make them think we withhold too many barriers. I completely rebuke it.

I can still get up to as much as everyone else. Its challenging, but it's stigma that limits us!

So, this is how I am getting through lockdown. Although my mental strength is not the best, practice makes perfect.

Every morning, I brush my teeth, I take a shower, I have breakfast and then I get dressed. Dressed as if I was going out because, it is easy to fall into the habit of staying in your pyjamas. For myself I try simply to maintain my self-esteem. I go for walk with my dog, I read a book. Now, I am a Muslim therefore I do pray five times a day. So just after reading my book I go along to pray. As a note, staying committed to prayer in these circumstances, has been extremely valuable.

Next, I will have some leisure hours. This may consist of a series, a movie, or a documentary. I do like to learn new skills and expand my general knowledge; therefore, I try to focus more on documentaries and DIYs. It is important not to overwhelm myself. I now like to keep my mum company in the kitchen while she begins to prepare dinner. It really is nice connecting with my family. The evening is a bit of a freestyle.

At the start of this I mentioned the shifts in attitudes. That was not only of others but of myself too. I also mentioned adaptation. On a normal day I would have been the kind of extrovert that would spend majority of his day outside. Yet now I have learnt to appreciate the 24 hours in a day much more. I have been able to really connect with my family. And lastly, I have been able to develop some unique skills.

So, in a nutshell, yes lockdown is quite detrimental however there is always a way around situations and there is always a way of switching a situation from negative to positive. It just takes time, and we have a lot of it. One thing on my lockdown bucket list is creating an inventive TikTok!

Read Antonio's original See the Bigger Picture story.

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