I have been in self-isolation for the past week and I am on the verge of returning to work after this 7 day period at home. I have been ok physically but, as the coronavirus outbreak is worsening I am really starting to struggle with my mental health.
Last year I was absent from work with stress, anxiety and depression for nearly 6 months and up until a few days ago I felt pretty stable but now I am starting to struggle, especially with the anxiety side of my mental health.
I went shopping, as I usually do on payday and I normally buy much that I need for the month ahead. In the days leading up to going shopping, I was hearing stories of the shops selling out of essentials that I normally buy monthly which started my anxiety levels to rise.
I get paid monthly, I live on my own, I have bills to pay and my monthly salary just about covers that along with food and other things I might need. I have very little room monthly to save any money and budgeting for food is one way that I can keep in some kind of control of my finances. When I went shopping (and I visited 3 different supermarkets), not one had items that I rely on for my monthly food shop. I eat a lot of pasta, at least 3 times a week as I know that what I cook will do me for 3 meals (one that evening, then lunch with the leftovers for tea), there were no tins of baked beans that I eat on toast at least 2 times a week, there was no veg, the freezers were empty save for a few tubs of ice-cream. There were no toilet rolls or dog food, laundry products, hand wash, bath products or bin bags. This has caused me a lot of worry and expense. I need to eat, my dog needs to eat and I have a budget that I really can’t go too far away from.
In the end, I was forced to buy dog food and pasta on-line (Amazon had some stocks available) but I paid over the odds. Roxy usually has one type of food and I couldn’t get that so instead of spending the usual £9 on a bag I had to buy something that was similar in nutritional value and ingredients that cost twice as much. And I have had to bulk buy pasta online spending a lot more than I usually do.
In addition to that, I am getting really anxious about how this virus will affect those around me, both my Mum and Dad are in the at-risk group and are retired and I am worried about their health and how they will manage in having to isolate themselves with things like food shopping and just remaining safe. My brother is also in self-isolation for the foreseeable future as he is asthmatic.
I have been watching the news, not constantly but the important parts of it as the advice the government are giving seems to change on a daily, if not hourly, basis. I don’t know whether watching it is making my anxiety worse or not but I do know that I would rather be armed with the facts and be up to date with advice that is being given.
I’m worried about going back to work, and I can’t help panicking about what would happen if I picked up the virus and carried it to my parents or transferred it to someone else and I am worried about how the virus could affect me.
I’m worried about what will happen with work and if the office will remain open and about working from home. I was planning on getting broadband put into my home this month but can no longer afford to do so as my food bill was more than I had planned. Not having broadband and having to rely on mobile internet might be ok for blogging and other general browsing but I don’t have enough data to work from home for 7.5 hours a day for 5 days let alone afford to do this indefinitely. I don’t even know if working from home would be an option when the work I do means that I have access to personal data.
And I am worried about having an extended period of time away from work, whether I will still get paid, whether I will still have a job to go back to should I take leave and whether, if I have to have time off again due to my mental health (which was stable before this virus pandemic) whether it will go down as sick leave and how that will affect my sickness record and pay.
I am just really anxious and worried about everything at the moment and I’m struggling to see anything in a positive light with so few answers to any questions, the advice we are being given changing constantly and all these stupid people who are panic buying and making the situation even worse in the grand scheme of things.