At this time of national lockdown due to the Covid-19 Pandemic, people are understandably struggling with this long and uncertain time of isolation. We all know what hygiene and social distancing precautions to take thanks to the Governments clear guidelines, but what can we do to help with the mental challenges we face?
Staying at home, out of routine and missing our loved ones with only detached forms of communication is proving mentally difficult for some, but it is important to realise that for others, this level of isolation and exclusion, is a normal part of everyday life and sometimes part of their job.
Looking at submariners, who face months on end at the bottom of the ocean, it is difficult to imagine how they cope. Without a slither of daylight or breeze of fresh air, it brings our own level of isolation into perspective. The oxygen submariners breath is pulled from the water and recycled using special machinery. Daylight is only seen when they immerge. They have no outbound contact with their families, the messages received from their families are just 60 words long, received twice a week but not before being read and screened for bad news by several members of staff before reaching them, to ensure no negativity reaches the crew. This form of isolation is repeated each time they are deployed, they emerge after months under the ocean and have to try return to normal life with their families before repeating the cycle again. There is no FaceTime, Facebook or News.
We asked one British Submariner, Danny some questions about Isolation.
What does Isolation Deployed compare to Isolation on lockdown and what advice could you give to others on coping with isolation in lockdown?
Isolation deployed versus isolation on lockdown – At sea, you have no family and if your a brand new SMQ, no friends really. Yes, you have shipmates but it’s not the same. Your daily routine at sea on deployment consists of sleeping, watch keeping, gym if it’s open (not very often nowadays) and the same banter day in day out. Yes, you do have movies and games etc but after a couple of weeks your breathing stale air that always stinks and eating tinned food. A submarine is dirty and smelly, you brush your teeth and shower within 3 ft of someone using the toilet …for me lockdown compared to that…is heaven, but it affects everyone differently.
At least you can go for isolated walks and 1-hour fitness in FRESH air or sit in the garden in daylight and of course, you have your family with you if you live together. To be fair it’s no comparison for me…it’s crap at sea, now for up to 4 months at a time with no breaks and no communication but 2 x 60 word familygramms a week to which you cannot reply…ie someone could die and you’d never know till the end of deployment and will miss their funeral, not because of risk of catching a pandemic virus, but because it’s your job
I cope by staying occupied, binge watch series, you can still talk to people by phone / online, play board games……..TRY TO EAT HEALTHY that’s a big one, chocolate and crap contains quick pick me ups but once the endorphins wear off you hit rock bottom before bouncing back up. Exercise – SEAN T Insanity is a lifesaver, there’s even a fitness channel on sky, play sport in the garden with kids BUY TWISTER and UNO! Feeling sorry for yourself will ruin you…I know people aren’t trained like we are and me and my wife are still struggling with the kids bouncing off the walls in lockdown, but believe me there’s loads to do and be thankful for!
The Hidden Isolated
It is important to remember that there are also a vast amount of people in our society that have been in different forms of isolation for many years before this lockdown. Either through physical ill health, unsuitable accommodation, mental health or due to threats of violence. Many cannot access parks, shops, restaurants or other recreational facilities on a daily basis outside of lockdown and rely on supplies and care to arrive at their home. For them, this is normal life and when isolation is over for you, it will not be over for them.
We must at this time of great pressure, take the time to reflect on the lives of those less fortunate or leading more difficult lives than ourselves and to think positively about what we can do and less on what we cannot. For the vast majority of us, this time can be used positively to better ourselves and improve our skills, health, relationships, organisation and preparedness.
Above all, we can also use this time to develop deeper compassion, empathy and understanding for the less fortunate in our lives and a deeper appreciation for those who sacrifice tremendously for our national security on a daily basis.
Here are our 5 Steps to Pandemic Survival
(as well as following the government’s advice)
1. Always be prepared, don’t leave it until the last minute.
2. Practise your survival, preparedness and resilience skills.
3. Organise your home, your supplies, your garden or garage.
4. Think of those less fortunate, learn compassion, empathy and appreciation for what you do have.
5. Remember for most of you lockdown will not last forever, but for many isolation is their life.
#besafe #beprepared #bekind
Prepper’s Paradise UK