Surviving Social Distancing

We are grateful to our service users for sharing here their poetry and prose about surviving social distancing this year. If you have inspiring or encouraging words you’d like to contribute to this page, please email Gabriel Wynn at gwynn@oakwoodgroup.org.


LOVE – a poem written for World Eating Disorders Action Day, 2.6.21

Place an arm around
Your inner child
Smile with love
And say you care
I’ll guide you along
Don’t worry
I’ll always be there
There will be bumps
And knocks.
But I love you
Let’s dream
If that’s the path
You want to tread
Let’s stand tall
Confidence bound
Wrapped in love
So anorexia
With my new dream
You are not there
You do not exist
You can torture me no longer
I made a mistake
But who cares
I may not be
The perfect shape
All that matters
Is that I am me
Just smile with fun
And love just love
Your inner child.

Lockdown survival – top tips

Lockdown really can be a challenging time for those with eating disorders.  There’s the difficulty in food shopping now, the panic buying, the isolation, disruption to education and work, not being able to do usual activities and the changes to usual support systems.   These are some of the things that have helped me!

Routine:

For me, one of the keys to looking after myself and my health during lockdown has been to stick to a routine.  I use a planner to roughly plan out my week. (Sometimes it’s good to be flexible though!)  It’s important to try to keep up normal activities like studying, working, reading, walking the dog even!   Studying online is hard in lockdown, but I find breaking it down into small sessions and setting myself little goals and rewards helps!  And some weeks if I’m struggling, my plan even means writing in mealtimes as a reminder that they are important to stick to.  It’s also good to plan in things for enjoyment too – even if that’s just watching your favourite Netflix series!

Fresh Air:

It’s really important to get some fresh air if you can.  For me that’s dog walks – and there’s something reassuring about seeing the usual faces out on your walk, even if it’s at a distance!  A walk can also help to release the happy hormones and lift mood and it’s true that we all need Vitamin D to stay well!

Connection:

Staying connected to people is really important for well-being.  It’s good to catch up with friends and family, however that’s possible within the current restrictions.  So for example, I have met up with 1 friend outdoors for a socially distanced walk and we stopped and sat at opposite ends of a bench in the park, to chat and catch up!  Those little things can make all the difference!  There are so many ways for us to stay connected now, but sometimes it just needs that bit of effort to do. But it’s worth it!

It’s also really good to stay connected to your support systems if you can. That might mean prioritising therapy sessions, doctors appointments, etc.  It might be via zoom or telephone, but it’s vital to keep up appointments.  Zoom therapy sessions has worked really well for me and my GP is offering easy access via the phone.

Space:
Sometimes all the changes to routine, having people at home more, and just the stresses of life and lockdown can be overwhelming. At times like that, I need to take some time-out! That might just mean having an hour or two on my own – maybe your own corner of the house where you can escape for some quiet and space!

Food and shopping:
This is always the tricky one!  Those of us with eating disorders often like to be in control and it can be extremely challenging at the moment.  So, I’ve had to rely on internet food shopping.  That comes with its challenges as well as its benefits!  It’s great because I don’t have to spend excessive times in shops, but of course it can be difficult seeing all the nutritional info so easily online.  So, I have a set time each week to make my choices and setting a time limit to do the shopping is also good.  It has challenged me to be more flexible too – for example – sometimes I have had to accept substitutes that I wouldn’t have picked.  But it’s good to try new things!

Recovery
It’s easy to think working on recovery isn’t important when you’re at home and things are so difficult in the world. But for me, working on recovery has never been more important! Some days are rubbish and that’s OK, as long as I pick myself up and get back on with the hard work of recovery.  The journey of recovery is hard, in a pandemic and lockdown it may seem even harder, but I have found it IS possible, if you use your support systems, apply things you learn in therapy and remember to be kind to yourself!


Keeping on with recovery through social distancing

Covid came. I couldn’t believe it. Just started recovery, been to Meet to Eat  three times. It really hit me hard as having anorexia for too many years to count,  I was determined  to overcome the hurdles and climb out.

No face to face meeting, but the phone calls with Dan have helped  me to keep on the right path to recovery. Just being able to chat each week. Having a set time became a life line to keeping me focused. It was here I learnt the love of poetry, having been challenged by Dan. So I discovered a way of being able to express my thoughts.

I was also introduced to Buddyline where you chat each week to a complete stranger. I discovered new music I’d not listened to before. We chatted, him unaware that I was in recovery for anorexia. Here I learned about another life – one that I wanted, free from all the sadness of not eating.

To keep me focused and not straying into food thoughts I have read more, tried to crochet (not very successfully), and endeavoured with meditations, and the odd crossword and simple sudokus.  The hard ones are impossible!! A walk with the dog and some fresh air and just to spend time looking at the wonder of nature is very important to me —a way to be calm.

I have now started the challenge of Meet to Eat on a Monday. Who knows, I may learn a new skill in the art sessions! It is a time when you realise you are not the only one suffering and going through a hard time.

It certainly is not easy but trying to live a day at a time does help. When feeling in my depths of despair I know the phone call is not too far away where I know someone is listenin . Of course if I look at the picture of my Grandson a smile does appear!!

Covid may be here but we mustn’t make it an excuse not to recover.

For more information on the Buddyline scheme or any other projects run by Reform Radio / Sonder Radio please contact projects@reformradio.co.uk

For more information on Meet to Eat, Oakwood’s social supported lunch programme, please contact us at info@oakwoodgroup.org.


Lockdown – A Poem

Lockdown came

The little man on my shoulder

Yelled ‘this is great!

I am in control again

Don’t eat, no one cares’

But I yelled ‘No! No!’

And Dan at the centre

Said ‘we are here to help’

That phone call

My rescue

My strength

The power to continue

Take a day at a time

Do the crossword

Try Sudoku — oh no they are hard!

Ring a friend

Listen to music — do a jig!

Where’s that art I started?

At the back of the cupboard

Might as well have another go

Meditate, relax

Write a poem

Anything to beat Covid

But please don’t forget to eat

Keep going

Life can be better

Meet to eat a challenge

But there to help

Covid may be here

But it won’t win

It is not an excuse

We must just eat

And beat this thing

Called anorexia

Good luck!