Author Topic: Unintended consequences of lockdowns  (Read 745 times)

ditchdwellers

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Unintended consequences of lockdowns
« on: 29 May 2022 12:57PM »
Over the recent months I have been thinking about how the lockdowns had a much more profound impact on me than I had fully wanted to realise.


I used to be quite a sociable person and although I would still consider myself to be so, I rarely go out and since moving and the end of lockdowns have made no attempt to meet new people and make new friends. It seems I've become much more content with my own company and that of my husband that I'm now quite insular.


This change within myself is not one I'm entirely happy with.


So I bit the bullet and joined the U3A. I was quite proud of myself for joining a brunch group and attended my first social meeting with them at a local cafe earlier this month. Tomorrow morning I'm going to the cinema with a woman I met there ((£4 for film, tea and biscuit! ) so I'm beginning to feel like I'm starting along the right track.


I hadn't fully appreciated how much the covid restrictions and shielding had altered me . I have always thought of myself as a confident, self assured person but all of this has had a definite negative effect. I feel like I need to rediscover who I am as a person and reclaim my self confidence.


It seems so much harder to meet new people when you're older so I'm trying to push myself within my physical capabilities.


Sunny Clouds

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Re: Unintended consequences of lockdowns
« Reply #1 on: 29 May 2022 02:19PM »
Your post has prompted so many thoughts, I keep posting reams and deleting.

Short version - I'm pleased you're getting started again with socialising and what you've posted has had the side-effect of giving me a sense, as I belatedly in old age try to learn how to socialise (the deleted stuff was the saga of lifelong crappiness at that), that it's possible to keep having another go at it.

I'm going to get in touch with someone I've previously been for a couple of walks with at their invitation and see if they'd like to go for another.

Over time, various Ouchers have posted stuff that suggests they'd like to meet others more.  Maybe this will prompt people sharing ideas.
(I'm an obsessive problem-solver, so feel free to ignore any suggestions or solutions I offer, even if they sound terribly insistent.)

KizzyKazaer

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Re: Unintended consequences of lockdowns
« Reply #2 on: 30 May 2022 08:12AM »
You are much braver than I am, DD - it wasn't lockdown that prompted my increased self-isolation so much as my last three major psychotic episodes.  After each one it seemed harder and harder to make the effort to socialise, to the point now that I feel I just cannot be bothered and prefer my own company anyway (exceptions being Dad, who I see and speak to regularly, and the cat I share my home with) 


I've heard of U3A and it sounds good.  Let us know how you progress!

Sunny Clouds

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Re: Unintended consequences of lockdowns
« Reply #3 on: 30 May 2022 02:53PM »
I realised recently that I coped much better with being alone when I had a cat.  What triggered the thought was coming across something online about how cats can trigger some of the brain chemical responses that we get from love or friendship with other humans.  I've started stroking a local cat more. 

What I desperately miss is something that I've had at certain times of my life, which is a few close telephone friends. 

The other thing I don't miss for want of having previously had it, but now wish so much that I had it, is a network of 'contacts', preferably what I'll call 'local people of influence'.  It can be very protective.  Where I live, that would probably mostly be a sort of middle class person, but thinking back to my childhood and the council estate one set of grandparents lived on, it's not the class that's the issue per se.

(I'm an obsessive problem-solver, so feel free to ignore any suggestions or solutions I offer, even if they sound terribly insistent.)

Sunny Clouds

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Re: Unintended consequences of lockdowns
« Reply #4 on: 30 May 2022 03:09PM »
As regards meeting people in groups, I've tried a few but can really struggle where there's background noise and I want to interact verbally.  How much background noise I can cope with depends on how much, how loud and acoustic environment.  Sadly, there have been so many cuts to funding and loss of a range of what I'll call community facilities, that a lot of groups round here meet in pubs etc. and the background music and dim lighting leave me unable to make out what people are saying.

Others here will have other obstacles, obviously. 

I like exercise groups, but I've been bewildered how all the ones I've tried involve people putting their coats, bags etc. on the same seat each time, and when changing, changing by the same seat each time.  No circulating or opportunity to meet different people.  It hadn't used to be that way when I was younger, whether in gyms, sports centres or dojos.  So I've given up all the exercise groups.

But - I've begun to realise that another possible outlet for meeting people is activities in parks.  Someone I know took me to a guided tour of a park where the warden told us about the trees. 

People milled about, happy to chat or not chat with whoever.  Something to explore again.

As I type this, I haven't been to any sort of arts or crafts group since I was a child, but maybe something like that, or a DIY group.
(I'm an obsessive problem-solver, so feel free to ignore any suggestions or solutions I offer, even if they sound terribly insistent.)

KizzyKazaer

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Re: Unintended consequences of lockdowns
« Reply #5 on: 30 May 2022 04:30PM »
Actually, Sunny, just a walk in a local park can be nice on its own - I do this about three times a week, taking my flask of coffee and tying it in with a trip into town to top up grocery items or whatever.  I have an old MP3 that I plug into as well, and even if I'm not speaking to fellow walkers I often find myself smiling as we pass, so there is a little bit of interaction there!

Of course, the approaching Jubilee Weekend means there will be quite a lot of organised activity going on in various parks around the country, maybe worth looking into unless you're worried about too many people being around...


Monic1511

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Re: Unintended consequences of lockdowns
« Reply #6 on: 30 May 2022 07:09PM »
I tried going out today and got as far as the post office, the local boots, butchers shops were closed and the buses were on a Saturday service, I’d forgotten that today was being treated as if it was a bank holiday in place of Thursday.  I could feel myself starting to panic and headed home. I knew I couldn’t face the shopping centre as it would be too busy, means I need to do everything tomorrow.




Sunny Clouds

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Re: Unintended consequences of lockdowns
« Reply #7 on: 30 May 2022 07:28PM »
Monic - busy shopping centres can be horrid.  It's not just that the numbers of people in a shopping centre at those times can be different, it's what sort of people.  I notice the same thing on a lesser level as between days of the week and also as between times of day.  I don't mean what class or gender or whatever, I mean whether they're people pottering, in a rush etc.  Also there seem to be more 'dash around vigorously' people at some times/days than others.

I hope tomorrow is quiet for you.

(I'm an obsessive problem-solver, so feel free to ignore any suggestions or solutions I offer, even if they sound terribly insistent.)

Sunny Clouds

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Re: Unintended consequences of lockdowns
« Reply #8 on: 30 May 2022 07:36PM »
Kizzy - I've begun to realise in recent years that I'm not really into parks just for the environment, but then I live in a quiet road, lined with trees, with gardens front and back.  I rarely go in my back garden as opposed to looking out of the window.  (I particularly like watching the foxes on my lawn and smiling at absurdities like cats lounging on a raised flowerbed about a foot or perhaps two feet below a load of blue tits.)

I'm looking out of my window now, aware that at some point I'm going to have to get my act together to sell up and move, and aware that I'm unlikely to be able to find a place with as lovely and large a front garden as I have here.  It's not even just about having my own front garden, it's about having one that's opposite houses and gardens and not big walls and railings. 
(I'm an obsessive problem-solver, so feel free to ignore any suggestions or solutions I offer, even if they sound terribly insistent.)

ditchdwellers

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Re: Unintended consequences of lockdowns
« Reply #9 on: 31 May 2022 04:20PM »
I met my new friend at the cinema yesterday and enjoyed getting out. We then went for a walk around some charity shops before she needed to catch her bus home and I got a taxi back.  So all in all it was a successful outing  :f_smiley: .  We're going to try and do the same thing next week.
There's also been a newsletter round for the U3A about a monthly meeting for a talk on local history of the area using Old postcards as the focus that might be interesting so I think I'll put my name down for that too. I may get the chance to meet some different people from the Brunch group.


Thank you to everyone for talking about their own experiences regarding socialising. I find it very hard to maintain friendships as I find myself so unreliable with chronic illness and many people don't understand the reason for me failing to make contact regularly and relationships break down when I really don't intend them to. Because of this I have just a couple of close friends who totally get me, even if we don't talk for months at a time I know that I could depend on them in a crisis. But I miss them on a daily basis, if that makes sense.

Sunny Clouds

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Re: Unintended consequences of lockdowns
« Reply #10 on: 01 Jun 2022 11:46AM »
I was put off stuff because maybe four years ago or so, I tried meeting up with a local woman I used to know through work, and found that she is unpleasantly invasive socially, physically.   Best example - I told her I'd been to a meeting setting up a new oldies group.  She didn't ask me anything about it.   Just before the next meeting, she phoned to say she was coming.  I decided not to go.  I got a phone call from her, shouting "Where are you?!!" 

I'd go to an event with her and she'd just wander off, leaving me.  She'd go to sit at a table or on a bench and move strangers' bags and coats around instead of sitting on an empty seat.

But I was so lonely and so lacking confidence, and I'm also awareness of an aspect of myself where I need to know exactly what the rules are, exactly what 'my' space, role, function is etc., that initially I thought I was over-sensitive.

It seriously damaged my confidence, but as I type this, I've realised I haven't stuck to something I promised myself.  I was going to stop trying to find 'friends' and focus on finding 'people to have coffee with' vel sim.

I would love to have a life partner.  I would love to have half a dozen really, really close friends.  I'm fed up with my closest friends dying and dementing. 

Ok, my key 'social' task for the next week and a half - draw up a list of 'events' and 'activities' and 'attractions' locally and find someone who'd like to go to one.  Given that I've said I'm not particularly into parks, I would, however, like to meet someone in one of those places that go by various names but tend to be called 'Gardens', with a tea shop and either exotic plants or plants with explanations.  What I think of as 'plant zoos'.

Aha, animal zoos.  I'm not into 'exotic' animals, but I'll happily go to what I'll call a 'city farm' where us urbanites can go and look at sheep and ponies.

Oh wotsit.  How can I feel sorry for myself for being lonely if I can't say I've no ideas for reducing the loneliness a bit?

(I'm an obsessive problem-solver, so feel free to ignore any suggestions or solutions I offer, even if they sound terribly insistent.)