Over the last few months we have watched as Covid-19, a deadly, invisible and highly contagious disease has evolved and spread around the world. I have not left my home since Friday 13th March, the day before our government decided to lock-down my beloved country Spain – a drastic, but very necessary action. With Spain’s history I am sure that this decision was even more difficult to take. Prior to the Prime Minister’s speech, we all knew, more or less what he was going to say, but when the state of alarm was announced, it felt so surreal. Since then a wave of mixed emotions have swept over me, from fear, helplessness and anxiety to determination, motivation and hope. We are actually in the middle of a war against Covid-19 – it is not a book or film or even a nightmare, this is our reality. The side-effects of a lock-down are not solely economic, mental health can also take a beating, for many reasons. This is a trying time for all of us, but somehow, we need to cope as best we can. First and foremost everyone should follow the rules of the lock-down. Quite rightly, we are very limited to what we are allowed to do and the most important message is ‘STAY AT HOME’ – ‘QUÉDATE EN CASA’ – I am horrified how many people think they are above the law and I am so pleased that the police here are dealing with it, with heavy fines, confiscation of vehicles and prison.
During this difficult time existing mental health issues may be harder to control or you
may even develop some issues. Loneliness and isolation will also become a big problem for some. Families with younger children will face problems as will students. The elderly and other vulnerable people need to stay home and away from others. These conditions are hard, even for the strongest people, so try not to take it personally. If you are struggling more than usual reach out to others, via Facebook, Skype, WhatsApp etc. If you know people with existing conditions or people that are alone, keep in touch with them. If someone seems more concerned about the situation than you are or if it has triggered other anxieties for someone, don’t ridicule them or say they are paranoid. We are all in this together.
Yet again, a section of the English community here seem to have their own rules, after all, whatever they have heard in the pub or from the gossips and trolls must be true. On Friday 13th March, pubs etc were told to close at midnight. Normal people, who don’t want to get or spread the virus stayed at home, but off course, there were those who wanted to be in these establishments to the bitter end and refused to leave, which led to police involvement. Some people are so arrogant and stupid, they not only put themselves at risk. they put others at risk too. Then there is their behaviour in supermarkets where they want to take everything of the shelves and ignore the distance rules. If you don’t like the way Spain is run and can’t be bothered to learn the language go back to the UK.
I cannot praise Spain enough for the way it is handling this crisis. Yes, this situation has scared me, but we are kept informed and I know these current conditions are to safeguard us. There are numerous people, from medical personnel, police and the army to supermarket workers, gas attendants and farmers who are putting themselves on the line to help keep us safe. In return, we need to follow instructions and remember these people working in extreme circumstances, so be patient and polite towards them.
I fear for my family and friends in the UK because I think more action should have been taken sooner on this issue. I am so glad I have made my home here in Spain and cannot wait until the process of changing my nationality to Spanish is completed.
Life as we know it has changed, but Spain is resilient and, although there are tougher times ahead, we will get through this and come back stronger.
Until next time – keep chasing your dreams!