The author is donating all royalties to CALM: The Campaign Against Living Miserably
As you know book publicist Grace asked if I might highlight Jane Haynes new book ‘In the Consulting Zoom – A Psychotherapist’s Journal of Lockdown’.
Following on from that I am delighted to bring you an excerpt from In the Consulting Zoom. Jane is donating all its royalties to CALM an organisation helping support those with suicidal thoughts and bereaved families. Sadly, so relevant especially in these strange and difficult times.
In the Consulting Zoom by Jane Haynes: Excerpt
Wednesday, 18th March 2020
This is going to be a short entry. I did five Skypes today and while most people were sanguine about what is happening in Lockdown, two patients were not. To witness and yet to be separated by a celluloid screen, in the course of a few hours, two women sobbing, broken-hearted because they cannot reach their elderly families due to the European Lockdown was so, so sad and emotionally exhausting. It is very different when you are not in the shared physical space of your consulting room but only have a button to press which says: ‘End meeting’. It might as well say ‘Execution!’ Even though that evening I received a subsequent text: ‘Thank you Jane. It was such a release of love and I feel serene after I spoke with you.’ (Permission given to quote.) I felt so, so privileged to have shared their terror and isolation. Being on Skype didn’t seem at all to subdue the emotional cadence of communications of brutal grief, fear and confusion. I feel my face contorts more and more with what are becoming daily bulletins of pain.
About six months ago I decided I wanted to do something that would take me out of my comfort zone and something I would not find easy. My answer was to learn Bridge. I find it very difficult, but I am addicted. It’s a bit like meditation as for two hours nothing else enters my mind except those ‘tricks. Now, in partial Lockdown, we are playing on a bewildering application called BBO where the four of us and our superb teacher assemble at our Bridge table online and communicate via WhatsApp. Tonight, one of the group is in bed with a fever of 39.8, which is worrying as she has only just recovered from another virus. The jury is out as to whether it is now COVID because there are still no reliable tests to be had.
John has just alerted me to the saddest Government edict recommending that now the schools are closed grandparents do not look after grandchildren. What kind of first birthday has my little grandson experienced on Zoom? How will his development be affected by this long-term segregation from his own age group? Bell gazes down the stairs at her grandparents in an unconscious state of exquisite beauty and sadness at our social distancing. As for those women who have recently found themselves pregnant, well that requires a different discussion for another time, but their fears must be multi-fold. I don’t think anyone wants to ask the question as to whether the virus can pass from placenta to baby, although I understand from a consultant gynae at UCH they are already running research trials with newly pregnant women.
The rumour on the street has it that we will be in Lockdown by Friday. People ask me if I have seen a military presence on the streets. I haven’t been on the streets for two weeks now as I had a respiratory virus which did not have a coronet but made me feel ill. John did not at all like the sound of my cough which was dry and unfamiliar.
Perhaps the military will be patrolling Regent’s Park before the end of the week and dog walking will become illegal. Who now knows what’s fake and what’s true and can someone please tell me since when have a team of mathematicians at Imperial College become society’s best modellers of the impact of the pandemic on London and the country? If we had even an elemental knowledge of the virus’s tricks and turns and mortal body blows it might have been a good thing to go for ‘Herd Immunity’ but what we needed and were robbed of and still need is Time. Time is what our nursery Government has robbed us of. Those brainy modellers can and have changed their collective mind mid-field, but the virus will always outwit mathematicians and ‘know all’s’… Bring back the medics Boris. While any mixtures of disciplines are beneficial to provide an independent overview, it is only the awe- inspiring devotion of the front-line intensive care doctors and nurses who witness this trickster disease destroying our collective lungpower. Computers, for now, continue to be immune to suffering.
Prescription for the day which starts off well but then seems to deteriorate … but it is unusual to find the Chinese complimenting the Japanese.
Jane Haynes is a writer and relational psychotherapist who lives and practises in London, and more recently on Zoom. Jane co-founded the Blue Door Practice in Marylebone. In 2008 her book Who is it that can tell me who I am? (Little, Brown) was shortlisted for the PEN Ackerley Prize for literary autobiography. If I Chance to Talk a Little Wild (Quartet Books) was published to critical acclaim in 2018.
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