As we prepare for lockdown and all the panic buying continues this weekend, so does the bog roll pandemic!
I ponder this weeks events and how BIG the impact of a lockdown really is for everyone, not just economically, but on HOW it will change the way we do life for the foreseeable future.
It always fascinates me that no matter our gender, age, race, sexuality or socio-demographics we all respond well to boundaries and having a sense of knowing.
I first noticed how important boundaries or ‘containment’ are about 15 years ago.
I was facilitating a CBT drug treatment programme in prison and one of my clients told me how safe they felt in prison, that being in prison gave their life structure and where they felt most safe.
I was horrified, I mean if you have ever set foot on a wing in a male prison, you will know exactly what I mean.
I am not talking ‘House Of Fraser’ aftershave counter scents, but cleaning products mixed with 200 men’s bodies, cooked food, tobacco, cannabis and maybe even something stronger. It’s quite unique when it hits your nostrils, as soon as you open the door to enter.
However, prisons like hospitals are highly structured and containing environments
The uniforms, the rules (written and unwritten), allocated meal times, allocated time for visitors, education, recreation and rehabilitation, all create a sense of safety and boundaries, in which people know what to do and when to do it.
Group think can actually suspend levels of consciousness and paralyse autonomous thinking, keeping us stuck in patterns of unhelpful behaviour, where we repeat or copy harmful actions that are selfish or destructive to ourselves and others. Like the mass panic buying of food and bog roll, leaving the shops empty.
Have you ever noticed how innate it is for us to follow others behaviour?
Consider the environment or atmosphere at a game of football. Rows and rows of uniformed chairs facing the pitch, a uniform of matching scarves and shirts, solidarity in harmonised chanting.
Whether forced or recreational, humans like something or someone to follow. Rules actually help us to create structure, and externalised boundaries, creating a sense of containment, which helps us to feel safe.
But can containment really be found in the external confines of our homes or in excessive food & bog roll hoarding?
We are ALL heading into unchartered territory with the dreaded corona virus. This unknown will have a vast impact to health, finances, and communities. None of us really know the best direction to take or have any of the answers.
Individual psychotherapy, looks for signs or reflections of the unconscious, not just in spoken words, but in defensive actions or behaviours, leading us (the therapist) to identify underlying anxieties, often through things that are unspoken. I think secretly we hope an enforced lockdown from the police or army will restore our health or the sense of security and order.
Like the hospital or prison, it acts as a containing environment, the group unconscious hunting together for bog roll, giving us the fantasy or illusion we are setting our own internal containment or boundaries, and such anxieties unspoken have resulted in excessive consumption to make us feel safe.
It’s counterintuitive, but to keep safe or defended from COVID-19, within this confinement period. I wonder if choosing not to react to anxiety, but instead face shit, take the mirror of self reflection and learn to become more resilient and build better resources.
To understand better your own intrinsic motivations and create a sense of safety or containment internally, will mean a deeper internal self exploration, which can be a painful and lonely experience, perhaps just as inconvenient as running out of food or bog roll.
But, for those not governed by fear or anxiety, we have seen some of the most generous offers of help to the vulnerable or elderly. People coming together to love thy neighbour and share in a collective experience to reduce loneliness and isolation.
To live a life on purpose, exploring our passions daily we must create a new normal, ditching competition for collaboration. We could be on the verge of a societal shift and this could be one of the greatest ever opportunities for us to do life differently.
Alone we go faster, but together we go further. Subscribe to our 30 day plan to reset & stress less. A great resource for stress awareness month to reinforce, energise and focus & improve your mental health.