Back in 2015 a friend suggested I was in denial of my age when I embarked on psychotherapy training and bought myself a low level two door sports car. I was 60 years old then. I graduated in 2019, both the car and the training felt self-actualising. Now, I know it was my rebellious Child ego state that pushed me forward towards the unimaginable personal growth my training gave me.
Once my dissertation was handed in, I joined the gym and felt the powerful effects of Body Pump, Body Combat, Circuit Training and regular swimming. There was no stopping me now. I was in full age and death-defying mode.
Then came COVID-19 and with it, a creeping of unease about my mortality. Since being hospitalised in my late 20s with a severe asthma attack, my health has been good. Asthma is only triggered by an occasional chest cold. I generally have no need to use an inhaler. My annual asthma review felt an unnecessary chore, but I noticed a sense of looming dread began to take hold.
On 17 March, before the official lockdown, I self-isolated for 14 days having been hugged by my ill daughter-in-law who had a high temperature. I felt alarmed by the accounts of breathing difficulties suffered by people with of COVID-19. I was reminded of being in hospital back in the 80s struggling to breath watching a goldfish swim around in a tank. I knew I was alive while I could see that fish. Fortunately, I was okay.
Lockdown arrived and my gym closed its doors. I continued with my exercise regime for a few weeks on Zoom, started to work remotely with clients and signed up for a certificate course in online therapy. So, the self-actualising part of me was getting me through. I was adjusting to the new normal. Then I got the letter on 13 April that I was in the vulnerable group. The rebellious part of me kicked in big time as I raged about my kitchen. What I could not understand was why me, when others I know who were more vulnerable than me have not had a letter. I dismissed my previous feelings of vulnerability as my desire for autonomy became dominant.
I calmed down and for the greater good accepted my status in the vulnerable group. I have mostly adhered to the guidelines for the vulnerable category (the dogs and me needed a daily walk in the park). The most difficult thing is not having physical contact with grandchildren. I have given up on my Zoom exercise regime but I’m waiting for the delivery of a stepper. So not giving up on denial of my physical age just yet. And I am now a certified cyber therapist which is something I would not have considered before COVID-19. But I can’t wait to get back in the world and have human contact.
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Views expressed in this article are the views of the writer and not necessarily the views of BACP. Publication does not imply endorsement of the writer’s views. Reasonable care has been taken to avoid errors but no liability will be accepted for any errors that may occur.