I often wonder, if there comes a time when I recollect the memories of my #LockdownLife, what parts of it would I share? Would I look back in fondness and smile?
The truth is… I don’t know.
Lockdown started off with a zeal and a patriotic ‘we got this!’ The weather suddenly brightened up and the sun popped out after months of dreariness to tempt and tease us. My husband is a key worker so I was left home with my 4 boys trying to find ways to fill our days. The first month was actually great! We kickstarted our day with PE with Joe (remember him?) we did some school work, we made lunch, played in the garden, came up with a different arts activity each day. We had quiet reading time. We coloured and coloured and coloured! We played forts and imagined being trapped on a desert island (yes, desert – my boys envisaged being trapped on a giant marshmallow surrounded by an ocean of liquid chocolate ) we became pirates and spacemen and avengers. We planted bulbs and flowers. We cooked and baked. We cleaned and did laundry together. We had a movie every night. We clapped til our hands went red. We had a family zoom call every other night. We started cycling. We organised a socially distanced street exercise. We felt the blessings of Ramadan. It was a really magical first 2 months! I felt connected to my children and family in a way we hadn’t connected before. We enjoyed this quality time together.
As time went on, our world seemed to shrink further and further. I am not sure what happened or how, I cannot seem to join the dots or figure out the middle part of it all. But somehow, post Eid and towards the end, our imaginations fell asleep. It got harder to get out of bed and start the day. The kids became crankier with each other and fighting ensued. The smiles were outnumbered by tears. They stopped wanting to play outside or even go out in the garden. They rarely looked out of the window. My 5 year old said ‘mum, i think I lost my spark like optimus prime’. Conversations decreased. Hearts grew heavier, spirits burnt out, souls locked down. The death rate kept increasing, the fear and worry spiralled.
Loneliness, anxiety and depression became the new norm. I don’t even know how that happened! I just felt my soul shrink. And I knew this was also happening to my children. I worried that this lockdown would affect them and their lives in a way that I did not know how to handle or help. I worried for their mental state. I worried for the fear in their hearts and the worries they couldn’t express. I worried about their lack of socialisation. They all started to come to my bed at night, they started having nightmares. I developed insomnia. I found myself crying more and couldn’t understand why. I missed my family and friends. I hadn’t stepped foot outside my house in months. I lost my sense of taste and smell. I had high temperature. I am high risk, asthmatic. I have 4 young children. I started to write a will. I found guardians for my children incase of death. It felt like there was a stone constantly stuck in my throat. On my darkest day, when hub came home, I just walked out into my car and drove passed the local hospital. Lockdown life made me face my fears and demons.
All my life, I had often wished to be able to press pause on the hectic nature of life. During lockdown, that actually happened. The pause button was pressed on the world. We all stopped for a while. We were all forced to think and reevaluate. We were taught what was really important. I don’t think the psychological impact of lockdown has truly reared its head yet but I pray that we are all getting on the right track to heal.
By Nargis Jahan Uddin
Founder of Muslim Mamas. Nargis graduated from The London School of Economics and Political Science in International Relations and History. She then completed her PGCE in English at The Institute of Education and worked as an English teacher for many years. Nargis was born and brought up in London where she currently resides with her husband and four beautiful children. Nargis’ passion lies in building communities and connections and has worked avidly in the media, education, charity and community sectors. She loves socialising, travelling and spending time with family.