Huge thanks to Hattie Porter for writing this compassionate and powerful blog on her experiences in the current situation which resonate for many.

You can follow Hattie on Twitter @hattieporter_

I am writing this because I need to read this.

Right now I am scared. The world is moving at a pace I can’t keep up with and my mind is racing even faster.

Right now, we are all overwhelmed and anxious, we are all struggling in different ways. But a lot of us were already struggling, already finding the world too loud. In times of crisis, other crises don’t go away out of politeness.

I am not alone in finding the situation with COVID-19 has heightened my anxiety and everything I was already struggling with. As someone with OCD who has spent a lifetime navigating crisis and distress, this is bringing up a lot of emotions and memories and fears that I don’t know how to cope with. In the absence of most of my coping mechanisms surrounded by so much uncertainty and so little control a big part of me is wanting to turn to self-harm.

This is not the first time I have ‘socially distanced’. I’ve had years where I was too scared to leave the house, years detained on psychiatric wards. It took a long time and a lot of hard work to survive this and to get to the point I’m at today. It scares me how much this is starting to feel like this is unravelling, I’m back in the place I was then.

I have self-harmed in one way or another for most of my life, but it has always spiked in times of greater stress. Self-harm has a coping mechanism but for me was also a compulsion, a central part of my OCD and how I managed intrusive thoughts. Now I am scared of falling back into the patterns I felt trapped in for so many years and worked so hard to escape.

The virus COVID-19 has serious physical impacts but a pandemic has endless secondary social and psychological symptoms. For those of us who are struggling, our usual experiences now feel magnified a million times. Isolation is not good for anyone’s mental health but for those of us who already feel at the edge, it feels a lot more scary.

Many of us have lost our usual support. Can’t do the things that usually help us like spending time with friends or having a routine. A lot of us are feeling lost and forgotten now. Most of the time I feel like I’m doing some kind of balancing act, standing at the edge of a cliff doing anything I can to stay upright. Over the past few years I’ve learnt how to keep myself balanced, but now it feels like everything I usually hold onto has been pulled away.

I felt worried about writing this. It feels self-centred to be so focused on what I’m going through amidst the scale of a pandemic. But that’s exactly why I need to write this. Because I am not the only one feeling like this. Because sometimes just hearing an echo of your own thoughts is enough to feel less alone for a little while.

During this time it is more important than ever to be kind, to ourselves and others. I am trying as hard as I can to be gentle and patient with myself. I have self-harmed, and that’s okay. I am trying my best and sometimes my best is a struggle. I am aiming to get through each day and that is enough for now.