Wellcome Trust Centre For Mitochondrial Research

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Coronavirus: latest psychological advice for patients and families with mitochondrial disease (20th April 2020)

A further national lockdown has been announced early into May, but for many people living with a long-term health condition there is the likelihood that shielding measures may be going on for some time beyond this. In previous updates we’ve discussed the frustration, boredom, tedium… in fact a whole storm of emotions that many people with a mitochondrial or other long-term health condition might be feeling right now. In fact, there’s no right or wrong emotion you may be feeling, and you may also be noticing a rollercoaster of emotions that change minute-by-minute, hour-by-hour or day-by-day. This is also trust of the wider mito community, and our other communities. In many ways, our common humanity is what connects us all.

We’ve spoken before about how normal these emotions are in such strange and different times, and we hope that previous updates have been helpful in thinking about how to stay focussed on what is in your control, how to stay connected and engaged and how to support your communities and those close to you.

Last week we shared a poem that we hoped would help to centre you to the present. We wanted to expand this further by discussing a metaphor which could be related to a number of experiences, not only this one. We also hope that this metaphor has meaning for our wider communities, so we hope that you are also able to share this metaphor with those close to you to give them a helping hand during these difficult times.

The Mountain

I want you to imagine yourself as a mountain; a mountain that has observed and experienced. In this time, you (the mountain) have developed knowledge, skills and experience. Just as you have been surrounded by clouds, lashed with the rain, been kissed by sunlight and seen beautiful sunsets, so have the other mountains around you. You can see those other mountains, and they can see you. Sometimes when you are surrounded by clouds, they can still ‘see’ you, even if you are covered. They are probably wondering how you’re getting on under there and when you’ll be back again, but they have hope that they’ll see you soon. They might have to imagine you for now, in their minds eye; or shout out loud to just hear your voice.

Sometimes you also wonder about the other mountains when they are covered by clouds, snow or rain. In fact, regardless of the weather there is still an overwhelming connection between you all, still and solid in your own places, in your own time. The best days are the days you can share the sunlight together; observing the landscape in all of its broad beauty and vastness together. But sometimes, just sometimes, you also enjoy the quiet solitude of being in your own space, comforted by the knowledge that the other mountains are wondering about you, just as you are wondering about them. Still.

The comfort that unites you all is that – whatever the weather, or whatever happens on the surface of the mountain – the mountain stands firm, strong, grounded. We can be just like the mountain; observing our thoughts, feelings and sensations whilst also knowing inner strength and stillness. The storm that we are experiencing will pass. Our landscape may change. But we are here, we are still and we are quietly observing and hoping that this storm will pass.

Photo credit – snowbrains.com

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