Quick, time to grab a glass of wine and hop on FaceTime with my girl pals! This is something that has had to become a normality since the UK went into lockdown due to the never ending threat of Covid-19. Tears uncontrollably fill my eyes as I hear my friends say, “I miss you”. I don’t think I realised the overall impact of this virus until that very moment.
We laugh, we cry, we chat and then we hang up and I am alone again.
Following the catch up, I can’t seem to shake the thought of wondering just how long we are going to live like this for? How big is the threat of Covid-19 and is it really going to change life as we know it, forever? I spoke to a few friends to find out their perspective on how Covid-19 is impacting us all in life-changing ways…
Chloe, 22, from South Belfast says,
“Coronavirus has already changed my life forever. My Grandparents are both 91, they are my best friends and the people I look up to in life. They have seen a lot in their time yet like many, they still don’t know how to cope with what is happening. I am tore up with guilt with every decision I make, I am used to seeing them almost every day, taking them shopping or going on adventures. Covid-19 has put a stop to anything like that, I feel guilt about not seeing them, fearing that I won’t ever get to hug them again. Yet, I could not bring myself to go in, in case I was the reason they ever got sick. This constant feeling of guilt and worry is one I will never forget, I have learnt from this to treat each encounter with a loved one like a last and never take interactions for granted, no matter how small”.
Holly, 20, from Bangor says,
“I have always struggled with anxiety but I started to manage it better by going to the gym regularly, going to work and going to see my friends and family. I started to feel a lot happier and felt like I was starting to care for myself properly. When Covid-19 started to spread in Northern Ireland, I could feel my anxiety flare again as I was regularly panicking incase I was going to infect someone or if I was going to get it myself. During my first week of self isolation, I had a few breakdowns of just crying because I no longer have my coping mechanisms. This is something that I am trying to overcome. I hope that this lockdown can help me as an individual to be stronger with my anxiety. In my opinion, the overall impact of Covid-19 is going to be both positive and negative. The mental health impacts are surely detrimental but I hope this will make us appreciate our key workers more for everything they do and that they continue to get the support they need. This lockdown should teach us how to be more thankful”.
Both Chloe and Holly expressed to me how Covid-19 is impacting them in different ways, it is clear that this pandemic is not just something that will impact people physically. In times of crisis, we have to be kinder, more considerate and less selfish as you never know the individual circumstances behind closed doors.
If we take Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, some of our basic human requirements are, “security and safety” and our psychological requirements are, “belongingness and love”.
It is no wonder that we are all struggling during this time of crisis when our basic human needs are not being met as we find ourselves craving security, normality and love from physical human connection. We may struggle now with a lack of these things but I believe these struggles are teaching us important lessons for the future.
I always turn to music to cope with any emotion and as I disconnected from my last FaceTime call with my friends and turned on my music playlist, my mind begins to wonder. The music transports me to a different time, a different place.
Somehow, I am finding a greater appreciation for moments in time that I am just simply craving to experience once again. The memory of driving in your car with a friend, the memory of getting ready for a night out with your friends, the memory of concerts and festivals in the sun, the list is endless.
These are things that I didn’t appreciate at the time because I didn’t realise that they could ever be taken away. Essentially, our basic human needs have been stripped from us.
My heart breaks for those who will continue to have their lives torn apart by Covid-19 but I do believe that we have to try and see the light within the darkness.
So, on that note, do I believe Coronavirus will change our lives forever?
Yes, I do.
I am confident in our medical professionals and all of the intelligent scientists around the world in discovering a vaccine so that the virus itself doesn’t plague man-kind forever.
But what I do believe is that its emotional impact on society, will be what changes us forever. Chloe and Holly have both seen the light within their difficult circumstances as they acknowledged how Covid-19 will make us more thankful and will make us not take any interactions for granted.
Personally, I will now appreciate and enjoy the simplicities in life because I have realised that without them and with a lack of love and connection, we don’t have much else.
So, when all of this comes to pass, I hope that your first beach trip, your first plane journey, your first embrace of family and loved ones will be a moment that reminds you just how beautiful life is and may you realise that learning to not take things for granted is the only blessing within all of this madness.
Aimee Bell is a 21 year old Production Runner for the BBC and studies Broadcast Production at Queens University. She is interested in storytelling and content creation.