We are not all in the same boat

Written by: Nikki Smith, Community Links Practitioner, the ALLIANCE

Published: 15/05/2020

Photo of face masks

Nikki shares her experience of adapting to a new way of working.

I try, always, to look for the silver lining.  During a global pandemic, navigating chaos dealing and with the greatest challenge we have all faced in our lifetime, there’s been kindness, compassion, social togetherness and proof that the definition of Community has been felt by those we support and how, even when life can be devastating for some, there’s people that truly care…and people who are truly grateful.

The support and caring our Community Link Practitioner’s (CLP) role allows us to provide has never been more important for people in our communities. CLP’s have been fortunate enough to be able to adapt, be flexible and learn new ways of working to continue to support patients, our Practice…and each other!

For many months I was supporting a young lady, referred by the Practice GP and this has continued during lockdown with a focus on emotional support as well as implementing positive ways to manage anxiety and low mood. She was keen to prioritise her wellbeing during lockdown to ensure the progress she had made previously wasn’t undone.

After the initial shock of lockdown and having to shield, she identified she needed routine and structure and we explored meditation resources to find the best suited to herself to help manage stress and anxiety and discussed creative ways of filling up her time as she loves crafts and felt it would be therapeutic.

Having to attend the hospital once every month, she make a mask as she felt it would make her feel safer.  Having enjoyed making her own mask, she ordered material and resources and started making  masks for family, friends, key workers and supports the Scottish Spina Bifida Association. She now has structure and routine to her day, a hobby that’s therapeutic and mindful, doing something enjoyable it helped her manage her anxiety.

She has now donated 80 (and counting) cloth masks to an amazing group of volunteers who have been aptly named ‘The Angels of the North’ by NG Homes.

She said “I wanted to make them kind of ‘funky’ so they are not frightening for children and a little bit of fun to wear. Haribo patterned, unicorns, colourful pencils etc. They are quite fun! I hope people enjoying wearing them as much as I have enjoyed making them. I’m happy to continue and at least do my little bit to help”.

To date the masks have been provided to Volunteers at Springburn Parish Church, members of the Baby Food Bank, Possobilities and Love Milton.  Local MP, Ann McLaughlin was in attendance when the masks were distributed at Springburn Parish Church and Baillie Jaqueline McLaren was so impressed with them when they were being distributed at Possobilities that she asked if some could be gifted to Volunteers in the Milton area! Such an act of kindness.

I was sent a poem, or maybe it’s more of an explanation/someone’s opinion about what’s happening in the world right now.  I think it absolutely makes sense, personally and for all of us as CLP’s who help with different people’s journeys and how different they all can be whilst dealing with the same ‘situation’. It suggests that we are in the same storm but not the same boat. That for some, moments will be heavier than others, and for other people, it’s been a chance to enjoy the simple things and more. Simply, everyone is going through something different…

We are not in the same boat

I heard that we are in the same boat.
But it’s not that.
We are in the same storm, but not in the same boat.
Your ship can be shipwrecked and mine might not be.
Or vice versa.
For some, quarantine in optimal: a moment of reflection, or reconnection.
Easy, in flip flops, with a whiskey or tea.
For others, this is a desperate crisis.
For others, it is facing loneliness.
For some, peace, rest time, vacation.
Yet for others, Torture: How am I going to pay muy bills?
Some were concerned about a brand of chocolate for Easter (this year there were no rich chocolates).
Others were concerned about the bread for the weekend, or if the noodles would last for a few more days.
Some were in their “home office”.
Others are looking through trash to survive.
Some want to go back to work because they are running out of money.
Others want to kill those who break the quarantine.
Some need to break the quarantine to stand in line at the banks.
Others to escape.
Others criticize the government for the lines.
Some have experienced the near-death of the virus, some have already lost someone from it, and some believe they are infallible and will be blown away if or when this hits someone they know.
Some have faith in God and expect miracles during 2020. Others say the worse is yet to come. So, friends, we are not in the same boat.
We are going through a time when our perceptions and needs are completely different. And each one will emerge, in his own way, from that storm.
It is very important to see beyond what is seen at first glance. Not just looking, more than looking, seeing.
See beyond the political party, beyond biases, beyond the nose on your face. Do not judge the good life of the other, do not condemn the bad life of the other.
Don’t be a judge.
Let us not judge the one who lacks, as well as the one who exceeds him. We are on different ships looking to survive.
Let everyone navigate their route with respect, empathy and responsibility.

Damian Barr

Nothing stays the same but change and that could not be any more accurate, for us all, moving forward.

And if I have found anything to be strange right now, I’d say it’s mostly the amount of times I’ve heard myself say “Oh I haven’t had the time”!

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