Given the exceptional circumstances we have all been experiencing since lockdown in March it is not surprising to learn that GP’s are reporting an upsurge of patients reporting anxiety as a major concern. I can fully appreciate how some may be feeling apprehensive especially when being encouraged to return to work. Feeling confused and frustrated at conflicting and changing advice are common remarks from patients. It is becoming more evident that guidelines need to be flexible and people generally can understand why. However, there is a difference between flexibility of approach as a response to changing situations and the reckless disregard of personal responsibility to others.
I have empathy with the men and women who may feel pressured to clock in as their children are ushered back to school. Confusion exists through unclear guidelines and mixed messages and frustration stems from there being a lack of a logical order or plain common sense to the plans put forward by policy makers. When I hear decision makers bluster and use glib one liners I’m afraid I tend to switch off….. literally. I resort to my TV’s trusty remote control.
Like always the British public will as in any crises bunker down and get on with the job. If that means returning to work they will moan a little and then comply. In the belief that it is better for them to try and return to the norm. The problem is there can’t be a return to the norm…… what we are experiencing now is the new norm……
I too have experienced an up-surge in patients expressing symptoms of anxiety and the following brief case study illustrates a patient experiencing emotional overload.
Mrs S came for reflexology treatment to help with anxiety. She arrived wearing a home- made cotton mask and said she was having great difficulty coping with it. In fact coping with the whole covid situation. I noticed she was very tense and twitchy, finding it difficult to sit still and relax. I offered her a blue medical paper mask re-assuring her that she would find it easier to breathe with this. I started the reflexology treatment and she began to breathe a little slower. I could see from her eyes that she was calming down and settling. We started discussing the source of her anxiety. As often happens Mrs S began to talk about a series of worries. We identified that she was concerned about how safe she would be returning to the office. She was fearful of infecting her aged mother who she cared for and that her grandchildren might pass on the virus when they visited. I assured her that these fears are quite normal and that there must be hundreds of people having the same worries as her at this time. We discussed the workplace and the value of talking to her line manager and maybe she would feel more confident if she read the risk assessment that would have needed to be carried out. This document identifies risks rates them and provides solutions to reduce the risk. We discussed the pressures associated with being a carer for a high- risk member of the family. The emotional cost and the increased workload for the carer. This stress might be eased by encouraging other members of the family to become involved, maybe by doing the washing or ironing these simple tasks can seem overwhelming when struggling to cope. Having youngsters visit can be up-lifting for both the cared for and the carer, however in these in these circumstances I’m sure family would understand that a video call or skype with granny can be just as much fun as a visit.
After 45minutes of reflexology and talking Mrs S said she felt so much better and so relaxed she could fall asleep. She thanked me for helping her put her worries into perspective and that she was going home to make a phone call to her workplace and to some of her family.
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