The Diary of Dr. Sharon McDonnell

Aged 53 and 3/4

5th January, 2021

Dear Diary

‘It is in the Shelter of each other that the people live.’

                                                                                           Irish Proverb

I have an urge to write in you today after the government announced last night, that we are going into another lockdown.  To be fair we all knew it was on the horizon, bracing for the ‘When?’ and not the ‘What if?’

We have done it before, and we will do it again.  However, I am mindful that circumstances are different. 

Last time,

  • the weather was beautiful most of the time (lots of sunbathing going on!) 
  • we were uncertain what was happening and unified in our fear and need to come together to help overcome this pandemic
  • many thought it would last for a few weeks, not months!

This time,

  • its winter (potentially, restricting us more – we definitely won’t be sunbathing!)
  • we have struggled with this uncertainty and restrictions for nearly 10 months and bombarded with negativity and uncertain who to believe or trust
  • thousands of people have died as a direct result of COVID
  • thousands are bereaved and isolated from their loved ones who could support them
  • thousands have lost their jobs.  Others are fearful that they will lose theirs to!
  • we are aware that this can go on for months and many will struggle with their mental health.

Journalists tend to only report doom and gloom and put the fear of God in everyone.  I know it’s bad, I know people are dying, I know there is uncertainty in many aspects of our lives and it is going to last several months.  However, I also know, that many people are struggling with their mental health and need us/their communities to reach out to them and help to instil hope. Fair to say, we will overcome this pandemic.  In fact, it is on the horizon, but what about people’s mental health and those who are desperately struggling to cope, during the pandemic? 

We need to generate hope, when it feels there is none.  I say this as a person who has been personally bereaved by suicide. I have experienced a sense of helplessness, hopelessness and the desperate need to feel a sense of hope, when my brother died by suicide. The current situation, evokes similar emotions, for so many.  We need to act and we need to do it now!  

So, I ask those who read this post, please tell me what effective coping strategies you adopted and why, during the previous lockdown.  That way, we can share these, on my post, with those who are struggling to cope, in the hope that they might decide to adopt some of them.   Please provide links if possible or relevant. Thank you.

Here are some of my coping strategies, during the previous lockdown:

  • I stopped constantly listening to the news (I just updated myself once a day). Whilst I cannot control what is happening, I can control what I listen to!  This meant that I did not listen to the radio as they have constant news updates.  I also, stopped watching the news before I went to bed.


© Suicide Bereavement UK, 2021