It has been just over 2 years since I last made a post on this blog. My life has changed a great deal in that time - I've moved to another part of the country, stopped teaching ACT on Life (because of the move) and welcomed a new baby to the family. And just as I was starting to settle into a new house and start my life as part of a new community, the Coronavirus COVID-19 threatened to kill hundreds of thousands of people in this country and our government asked all of us to stay in our homes.
I haven't consistently practiced ACT in a long while but I now find myself turning back to it at this extraordinary time. Understandably, there are lots of uncomfortable thoughts and feelings arising from this situation and I'm sure it is the same for most of you. There's the fear of becoming ill, of losing loved ones, of being unable to get hold of food and other necessities. There's sadness over the things that I can no longer do, the trips and events that have to be cancelled or postponed, the people I can no longer be in the company of. There's guilt over not being the world's best homeschool teacher and not getting enough of the housework done or giving my eldest enough attention. There's the worry about how things will pan out, how long life will be like this before returning to normal and what that normal will ultimately be. Deep down I feel that we will all come out of this changed in some way.
During the first week of isolation I felt my mood plummet. I've been through it enough times to be able to recognise the dark cloud of depression creeping in. What I experienced felt a lot like grief, with its waves of anger, denial, bargaining and sadness. I knew I needed to do something to help me through my distress and so I turned back to the tools that have helped me so often in the past - the tools of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). I realised, as I was refreshing my memory of the various techniques, that there are probably a lot of people out there right now that would really benefit from using them too. So I have decided to restart my blog with the aim of teaching the basics of ACT to anyone who would like to give it a try for themselves. I don't know exactly what these lessons will look like yet but I'll get started as soon as I can. If I help just one person get through this difficult time then it will have been worthwhile.