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Webchat with Dr Carine Minne and Juliet Rosenfeld on coping during lockdown, Tuesday 28 April at 9pm
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BojanaMumsnet · 27/04/2020 12:04

Hello

We’re pleased to announce a webchat with Dr Carine Minne and Juliet Rosenfeld, Tuesday 28 April at 9pm.

Dr Carine Minne is a Fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, London and a Psychoanalyst with the British Psychoanalytical Society. She trained as a Forensic Psychiatrist and Psychotherapist and is Consultant Psychiatrist in Forensic Psychotherapy in the NHS. She is President of the International Association for Forensic Psychotherapy.

Juliet Rosenfeld is a psychotherapist working in private practice in North London and Trustee of the UKCP. She is a member of the BACP and UKCP and a Patron of Camden Psychotherapy Unit where she trained with patients. She qualified in 2012 and has written for various publications on therapy and bereavement. Most recently she published her first book, The State Of Disbelief (Short Books 2020) about the impact of bereavement clinically and personally when her husband Andrew died in 2015.

Please note that Juliet and Carine work with adults only. Any posts made by Juliet and Carine on this thread will be their own opinions and not representative of any of the organisations they belong to. They will not be able to make diagnoses online on the webchat, but will be able to provide general answers/comments in response to users' posts.

In this webchat, they will be able to respond to questions on topics relating to the coronavirus crisis (including effects of lockdown measures) such as anxieties, impact of separations and closeness on relationships, stress, grief and fear of dying. They say their hope for this webchat is to emphasise the importance of communicating difficult feelings to trusted adults, family, friends or professionals.

Please join us here on Tuesday (tomorrow) at 9pm to post a question, or if you can’t join us then, please post up your question in advance.

As always, please remember our guidelines - one question per user, follow-ups only if there’s time and most questions have been answered, and please keep it civil. Also if one topic is dominating a thread, mods might request that people don't continue to post what's effectively the same question or point. (We may suspend the accounts of anyone who continues after we've posted to ask people to stop, so please take note.) Rest assured we will ALWAYS let the guest know that it's an area of concern to multiple users and will encourage them to engage with those questions.

Many thanks,
MNHQ

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GeordieTerf · 27/04/2020 16:25

Me and my partner have found ourselves drinking a lot of alcohol during lockdown. We usually only drink alcohol once a week, but at the moment we are having 2-3 drinks each night. We aren't addicted, we are just a bit bored. Do you have any advice on how we can break this habit? Smile

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feetfreckles · 27/04/2020 20:51

we had life changing plans for this year, travelling and moving to the country hundreds of miles nearer to my family and where I still consider home. Now everything seems suspended, and I just feel myself getting older and older...we deliberately saved so we could leave work whilst still reasonably fit and able, we had planned handing notice in dates, and that chance seems to be gone now. People fleeing the overcrowded south are unlikely to feel welcome anywhere, I find it so hard to do anything as it all seems so pointless. I am lucky in that I work from home which gives some structure, and we do exercise every day, but I just can't be bothered to try, it's going through the motions, Watching so much more telly, time that used to be planning. miss my family . I know we need to do this, but I don't know how to get myself out of these dumps.

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Foxglade · 28/04/2020 02:12

I’m working from home full time but DH is furloughed. He has taken to having long lie ins and going to bed later and later (which is fine), even before all this he was a night owl.

However I find it really hard to fall asleep if he is still up, for whatever reason. So now I’ve gradually ended up going to bed at 2am, same as him, difference being I have to be up at 8am to work!

I’ve started to think about taking a sleeping tablet at 10:30 for a few days to force myself to fall asleep earlier and hopefully reset my system. Is there anything else that might help?

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JamieLeeCurtains · 28/04/2020 04:33

I've got terrible insomnia. I'm worried about money. I'm also really concerned about my young adult children in their early 20s who are up to their necks in student loan debt, now out of work, and despondent about the future.

I can't shake off the feeling we're being treated with ... I suppose contempt is the word I'm looking for. As though our lives are meaningless in an illogical universe. (Sorry to get all existential.) Is it ok to be angry about this?

Anyway thanks for doing the webchat discussion.

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herecomesthsun · 28/04/2020 09:16

I have found myself, in the course of my work, having to discuss arrangements around end of life repeatedly with families - particularly because of issues with covid. I find myself reliving my mother's death every time. I am self-isolating (now work from home)and I am also finding myself thinking a lot about members of my family who have died. The whole family is staying indoors because 2 of us could get very ill if we get covid and one child has said to me that they don't want to go out because they are scared they will get covid and give it to me and I will die. (They have seen me very ill). This however seems to be pretty much the reality of where we are - and it isn't clear when that will be changing. We are doing work/schooling kids and they do not seem distressed. I have bubblebaths or read or browse online or watch online art or bake or clean the house to relax. Any thoughts on how to make things any better?

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LaureBerthaud · 28/04/2020 11:38

I can't shake off the feeling we're being treated with ... I suppose contempt is the word I'm looking for Contempt is the perfect word @JamieLeeCurtains

Juliet - I've read excerpts from your book where you discuss your husband's absolute refusal to discuss the possibility that he might die despite the very grim prognosis from the outset. Do you think that might be at the root of the hysterical reactions to this pandemic (of which I'm occasionally guilty) - our refusal to accept that death is a natural part of life, that young people have always died and that, whilst it's sad when an elderly person dies, it's not "tragic" nor have they been "robbed" of a few more years? No one has the right to a long life.

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Esker · 28/04/2020 12:33

I count myself very fortunate to be in lock down in a comfortable home with family members, but I have several friends who live alone, one of whom is extremely ill with an eating disorder (and has been for many years). Do you have any suggestions about how to support those on their own, or ways to check in on people's well being, without coming across as overbearing, particularly when the person in question may be very private or sensitive about their condition?

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Anonymouswasawoman · 28/04/2020 13:56

I live alone and struggle with anxiety and depression.
The lack of social contact is really getting to me, as is the general uncertainty of what's going to happen and fear of me or loved ones possibly getting infected. It seems like this situation could be going on for a long, long time and the thought of not getting to hug someone for maybe a year is, well, terrible.
I usually cope the best when I spend time with others but this isn't possible right now in the usual way. I'm trying to stay away from negative coping behaviours like overeating and online shopping. Any advice for this type of situation? Sadly, it must be pretty common right now.

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greengreenland · 28/04/2020 19:16

I would be grateful for any quick coping strategies you could suggest to help me when I start to catastrophise everything. It sends me on a nose dive downwards and once I'm on that track, it feels it's a one way street. Also are there any tips on how to get out when I feel like I'm at the bottom of a well?

I suffer from ARFID associated with a emetophobia and what I have now come to realise were coping mechanisms have been taken away. The anxiety and needing to be able to control something in my life expressed itself as this ED, so it's now having an absolute field day. Any advice would be appreciated.

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LaureBerthaud · 28/04/2020 19:51

They say their hope for this webchat is to emphasise the importance of communicating difficult feelings to trusted adults, family, friends or professionals

We know that's important but many people don't have family or friends to communicate their feelings to. Are any of the bodies the guests are associated with offering free support to vulnerable people?

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MiniMum97 · 28/04/2020 20:36

My situation is similar to @greengreenland, I have BDD and am finding that it is completely out of control at the moment after being in remission for a long time. It's constantly being triggered. I get one episode under control and it's triggered again. My normal strategies (CBT and mindfulness) aren't cutting it. I think the lack of control and anxiety re C19 seem to be affecting/triggering existing mental health conditions. I know other people I speak to through work who have underlying mental health issues are saying the same thing.

Any advice about how to manage this other than continuing to use existing strategies?. My BDD being triggered constantly is making it so much harder for both me and my husband to manage.

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ThelmaDinkley · 28/04/2020 21:04

Hi, I suffer from depression and anxiety. I take medication for this. I’m finding it really hard to get motivated and some days it’s a struggle getting out of bed. Have you any tips I could use please. Many thanks.

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CarineMinneandJulietRosenfeld · 28/04/2020 21:05

Hello Everyone,
Juliet and Carine here and we're very pleased to be doing this webcast. We hope that we can help with some of the difficult feelings the lockdown, now in its sixth week, is bringing up for many of us.
We wanted to say first of all that feeling as if the 'solidity' of one's mind as having become precarious is normal - and how important it is to find ways of creating a scaffold to support during this time, which will be temporary. We will answer your questions in the order they came in.

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JamieLeeCurtains · 28/04/2020 21:13

Actually if there's time please may I ask a follow-up question, which alludes to what a couple other posters have said?

It's about 'The Scaffold' metaphor.

What if you have no Scaffold? And what if you are someone else's Scaffold who can't give much back, and you're crumbling?

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CarineMinneandJulietRosenfeld · 28/04/2020 21:13

[quote]Me and my partner have found ourselves drinking a lot of alcohol during lockdown. We usually only drink alcohol once a week, but at the moment we are having 2-3 drinks each night. We aren't addicted, we are just a bit bored. Do you have any advice on how we can break this habit?[/quote]

Hello GeordieTerf, thanks for your question. This problem is so understandable and many people are resorting to daily alcohol, not just due to boredom but also because the weather has been good, the days are getting longer and in particular the chronic background anxiety of the pandemic, to which drinking gives a temporary relief. However, the problem is it does lower mood and increase anxiety symptoms. ( Not to mention physical health effects in the long term if over the weekly unit guidelines.) This means that the next day's anxiety is a little increased and the wish to soothe it with alcohol amplifies.
To 'strengthen your scaffolding' you could try having no alcohol in the house except at weekends or limit yourselves to one unit per evening. But it is crucial that both of you agree this together. You will need an alternative to manage boredom and anxiety and we both are familiar with some of the very good apps such as Headspace and Calm. Alcohol free drinks have greatly expanded as options literally in the last 2 yeas to maybe get through the week before a few glasses of wine at the weekend.H ope this helps a bit - but there is no way around having to change a behaviour and it's good you noticed it. C and J.

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missingmydad · 28/04/2020 21:18

My Dad died just as all this was starting off and now everywhere is all about death and dying. It's making it very hard to grieve, especially as we had no funeral and have not been able to scatter his ashes or get together as a family. I am at a loss to know how to cope with such a major bereavement.

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missingmydad · 28/04/2020 21:22

I meant to add; we had no funeral because he was in a country which had closed it's borders so nobody from the family was able to go. We arranged his funeral from abroad.

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Greensmurf1 · 28/04/2020 21:24

My anxiety is making me very irritable and hypersensitive to the discomfort of disorder, noise, stresses and disappointments. I am arguing and nagging my family members to try and restore orde but they get resentful and I feel guilty and end up overly critical and depressed.
I feel like I can’t get anything right, I don’t think my husband understands at all. It makes my parents anxious and upset when I talk to them and I am worried about dumping my anxiety on my friends.

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CarineMinneandJulietRosenfeld · 28/04/2020 21:27

@feetfreckles

we had life changing plans for this year, travelling and moving to the country hundreds of miles nearer to my family and where I still consider home. Now everything seems suspended, and I just feel myself getting older and older...we deliberately saved so we could leave work whilst still reasonably fit and able, we had planned handing notice in dates, and that chance seems to be gone now. People fleeing the overcrowded south are unlikely to feel welcome anywhere, I find it so hard to do anything as it all seems so pointless. I am lucky in that I work from home which gives some structure, and we do exercise every day, but I just can't be bothered to try, it's going through the motions, Watching so much more telly, time that used to be planning. miss my family . I know we need to do this, but I don't know how to get myself out of these dumps.


Dear Feetfreckles what a huge disappointment. But maybe it is important to consider these plans as postponed rather than cancelled - we noticed you used the word 'suspended' which sounds like on hold. The 'bad feelings' - disappointment, uncertainty, worries, anger are quite natural responses to something so shocking and hopefully you can support each other as well as get support from family and friends. Your working from home as you say is a positive and sometimes even it feels if you are going through the motions of your day that is ok - you are maintaining going through the motions whilst you're in this suspended state. Try and keep in your mind that this is temporary and normal life will resume albeit differently at some point. It is so much better to keep going even with reluctance or a sense of pointlessness through the daily routine. It feels especially hard to you because your plans have been so thwarted. Try and watch less telly and find more satisfying things that will make you feel good and even give you a sense of achievement. Time is warped for everybody and the feeling of feeling older is only a feeling. Wishing you the best.
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CarineMinneandJulietRosenfeld · 28/04/2020 21:32

@Foxglade

I’m working from home full time but DH is furloughed. He has taken to having long lie ins and going to bed later and later (which is fine), even before all this he was a night owl.

However I find it really hard to fall asleep if he is still up, for whatever reason. So now I’ve gradually ended up going to bed at 2am, same as him, difference being I have to be up at 8am to work!

I’ve started to think about taking a sleeping tablet at 10:30 for a few days to force myself to fall asleep earlier and hopefully reset my system. Is there anything else that might help?


Foxglade, hello. Sorry if this is brief but we are going to try and get through as many as possible. We understand that sleep patterns have changed - he might wish he could work at home as you do and you might envy his freedom to lie in! Do review the shared chores and have an open conversation about this temporary huge change. Try and avoid going straight onto sleeping tablets if you possibly can and try usual recommendations ( no alcohol no caffeine, no devices - camomile or valerian tea) - and also what about sleeping separately if possible until a compromise can be reached. Compromise could something like Sunday to Thursday normal bedtime for both - Friday- Sat as an echo of pre-Covid life. Wishing you all the best.
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CarineMinneandJulietRosenfeld · 28/04/2020 21:39

@JamieLeeCurtains

I've got terrible insomnia. I'm worried about money. I'm also really concerned about my young adult children in their early 20s who are up to their necks in student loan debt, now out of work, and despondent about the future.

I can't shake off the feeling we're being treated with ... I suppose contempt is the word I'm looking for. As though our lives are meaningless in an illogical universe. (Sorry to get all existential.) Is it ok to be angry about this?

Anyway thanks for doing the webchat discussion.


Dear JamieLee, It is absolutely ok to be angry about this and we would be worried if you weren't. Regarding insomnia try the tips we have already mentioned to @Foxglade. Regarding money worries we are sure you have checked out what the govt may give you help with. However we both agreed it is a great thing for your adult children that you are so appropriately concerned for them. Make sure you encourage them to also talk to trusted friends and remind them this is a shared awful experience. You're not alone with it. Uncertainty is a big producer of anxiety and one way of managing anxiety is despondency. But this is all temporary and once the crisis relents, despite serious money worries, minds will clear and find ways through ongoing difficult situations.
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CarineMinneandJulietRosenfeld · 28/04/2020 21:45

@herecomesthsun

I have found myself, in the course of my work, having to discuss arrangements around end of life repeatedly with families - particularly because of issues with covid. I find myself reliving my mother's death every time. I am self-isolating (now work from home)and I am also finding myself thinking a lot about members of my family who have died. The whole family is staying indoors because 2 of us could get very ill if we get covid and one child has said to me that they don't want to go out because they are scared they will get covid and give it to me and I will die. (They have seen me very ill). This however seems to be pretty much the reality of where we are - and it isn't clear when that will be changing. We are doing work/schooling kids and they do not seem distressed. I have bubblebaths or read or browse online or watch online art or bake or clean the house to relax. Any thoughts on how to make things any better?

Dear Herecomesthesun
We felt it was wonderful you and your children are managing to have this time together and talk about their worries. Children can feel very omnipotent and worry that their ordinary bad moods or feeling cross can cause bad things to happen. Reassure them that none of this is their fault. Your work and personal experience put particular pressure on you and we very much felt that those painful insights will be of use to you - almost as a springboard if it is possible to manage how hard this.. Can you look at them as contributing some resilience? The only way things can be better we think at the moment is helping people to gently stay with the difficult worried feelings - they can't be 'magicked' away or split off. On the other hand we all have to get through this and everyone's personal history will inform their current way of managing today's difficulties. Well done with the home schooling, no easy task at all.
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CarineMinneandJulietRosenfeld · 28/04/2020 21:53

@LaureBerthaud

I can't shake off the feeling we're being treated with ... I suppose contempt is the word I'm looking for Contempt is the perfect word *@JamieLeeCurtains*

Juliet - I've read excerpts from your book where you discuss your husband's absolute refusal to discuss the possibility that he might die despite the very grim prognosis from the outset. Do you think that might be at the root of the hysterical reactions to this pandemic (of which I'm occasionally guilty) - our refusal to accept that death is a natural part of life, that young people have always died and that, whilst it's sad when an elderly person dies, it's not "tragic" nor have they been "robbed" of a few more years? No one has the right to a long life.

Hello @LaureBerthaud you're absolutely right it seems that in this country death does tend to be hidden, avoided or denied, even, despite the fact it is a universal fact. This pandemic has exposed us to the d-word and perhaps is an opportunity to review death and its certainty. You're also right, that denial makes things much more difficult subsequently, even if it seems useful at the time.
To your other question we are of course hoping that most people have family or a friend they can really share feelings with. Someone to just listen to how this all feels. If this isn' t enough a first port of call should be your GP who is generally in the best position to signpost for NHS therapies, or other organisations that provide. Thank you for your observations too.
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CarineMinneandJulietRosenfeld · 28/04/2020 21:58

@Esker

I count myself very fortunate to be in lock down in a comfortable home with family members, but I have several friends who live alone, one of whom is extremely ill with an eating disorder (and has been for many years). Do you have any suggestions about how to support those on their own, or ways to check in on people's well being, without coming across as overbearing, particularly when the person in question may be very private or sensitive about their condition?


Dear Esker, how generous of you to ask this question, given some of us can get carried away with needing to be needed. We're most impressed by how you don't want to intrude! In haste, texts can allow to respond esp if an offer is made adding that it is fine not to respond. Consider sharing your own feelings so your friend doesn't feel that they are the pathetic or burdensome one, ie make it a two way street. Thank you for your thoughtful question.
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CarineMinneandJulietRosenfeld · 28/04/2020 22:03

@Anonymouswasawoman

I live alone and struggle with anxiety and depression.
The lack of social contact is really getting to me, as is the general uncertainty of what's going to happen and fear of me or loved ones possibly getting infected. It seems like this situation could be going on for a long, long time and the thought of not getting to hug someone for maybe a year is, well, terrible.
I usually cope the best when I spend time with others but this isn't possible right now in the usual way. I'm trying to stay away from negative coping behaviours like overeating and online shopping. Any advice for this type of situation? Sadly, it must be pretty common right now.


Hello @Anonymouswasawoman it is wonderful you do have loved ones. Make contact with them and tell them you need them and you miss them. You might discover they are just as worried about you as you are about them. Have you tried Zoom times and eating a meal together, actually much more palatable that you might think. It's really good you're aware of your negative coping behaviours so do consider making a structure for your day with one of two loved one contacts - exercise - healthy eating etc and perhaps a once a week sensible shop online as a small reward for managing. See if you can try accepting the bad feelings because they are so normal to have at this time and you are most definitely not alone with those. Thank you for making contact.
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