Onwards and Upwards: Moving into lockdown 2.0

It’s extremely difficult times at the moment with just going into second lockdown in the UK. However, *touch wood* all things Wilde are looking pretty good at the moment. I just wanted to share an update on a few things…

PhD studies

It feels like it took a little while to get back into my PhD studies after having 12 months off last year, but its going pretty well now. I have been recruiting for my COPD study and healthcare practitioner study and working on analysis. I got ethical approval for my final PhD study from the university and the Health Research Authority to interview healthcare practitioners in the summer. This was a fantastic milestone and it meant so much to me to have achieved this.

In October I also passed my annual review (Progress Review Panel)! I was SO happy to have passed this. I was feeling extremely anxious before hand and really worried about it. It was such a huge win and showed me how far I’ve come since the last annual review I did back in December 2018.

An extremely important part of the #ipaanalysis process…. sitting and staring at the floor covered in cut up bits of paper with a cup of tea and a blanket (@laurawilde24)

Employment and volunteering

This has been very exciting! I began working part-time again at Arty-Folks in the summer, supporting members into education and employment. I was also volunteering on Friday mornings at Fat Fluffs rabbit rescue helping with weighing the bunnies and cleaning their homes. My weeks were busy but very enjoyable!

Even though I was really enjoying my week, something was missing. I think it was that my skills were not really being utilised professionally, so I started looking for a research assistant job. I was really lucky that I got two opportunities come up; one at Zipabout and one at Coventry University. Unable to turn one down I decided to take both – and the money would be really useful too as Mr Wilde was in the process of redundancy.

In October, I sadly left my 1 day/week job at Arty-Folks and started with Zipabout and Coventry University. It was super exciting and so far I am loving the roles and exciting research projects. Since then I have joined the Board of Trustees at Arty-Folks – they just really don’t want me to go!

Physical Health and Pain

Back in December 2018, I was in constant pain from my jaw, getting migraines more regularly, and suffering from severe depression and anxiety. Now, I am much stronger mentally and emotionally. My pain in my jaw is minimal – turns out it probably was stress and psychological, my migraines are rare again and I am feeling the happiest I think I have ever been.

I have also started doing Couch to 5K using the app. I’m currently on week 4. I’m not a runner, I’m not really even that active usually. Now my mental health is much better, I wanted to put some focus on my physical health. Over the past few years I’ve gained weight too, so it’s been an added bonus to lose some of that with running. I’m feeling fitter and healthier making an effort to eat well and look after my body.

Mental Health

Finally, last but definitely not least, my mental health! Honestly, I am feeling really great at the moment. I feel like I’m back on my feet and things are moving in a wonderful direction personally and professionally.

In the summer I finished counselling and found the whole journey insightful and beneficial. I am so grateful to my counsellor at the Light House! When I first started counselling I was in a very dark and low place. I don’t really know how but just over time things got better and easier. At first, I was very shy and definitely holding a lot back. I tried really hard to be honest with my counsellor and myself! I started to feel it was ok to be myself and that no one was judging me if I wasn’t perfect. Once, I remember leaving a session thinking, wow, I didn’t actually cry that time, and I think that was the turning point that things were getting better. It hasn’t exactly been an easy journey though; I have spent a lot of time thinking and reflecting on things.

Things feel a little different at the moment as my close support network is not the same. During last lockdown I was still having regular counselling sessions with the Light House and since finishing there I’ve had support from IAPT for my anxiety working through Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). I also came off my medication (slowly and according to my GPs instructions). So, entering lockdown 2.0 now, a part of me feels on my own and left to my own devices without professional support and only having virtual contact with friends and family.

Moving forward

I know things aren’t going to be this great forever, and there will be ups and downs. I do get anxious and worried about the down days and if I will be ok, if I will be able to handle it and bounce back when it passes. However, I feel I’ve come on leaps and bounds over the past few months and I’m really happy with who I am – more than I think I’ve ever been.

It’s been super busy the past few months too but a good kind of busy. Yes, I have felt anxious and stressed at times but not in a detrimental, scary, unhealthy way. I’ve been able to recognise how I’ve been feeling, and give myself some time to reflect, talk to a friend and recover from it. I do get scared about the future and what it may bring, of course, it’s a really difficult time with the world at the moment, but there are so many positives too – it just takes a bit of looking.

Thank you for reading and thank you so much for all your emails, messages and comments on previous posts! I really do love hearing from you 🙂

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