14 April 2020

"My workplace now is the desk in my room, my gym is my living room"

Mo Bro, Keyur, on physical distancing
Mental Health

"When you say to someone “I work from home”, most have the impression that I used to have. Waking up late, watching daytime TV and staying in your PJ’s all day. Trust me that’s far from the truth. I know this because I find myself as one of those working from home people. Currently for me my workplace now is the desk in my room, my gym is my living room and occasionally outside.
So who am I, well my name is Kiwi, I am a Police Officer, a Scout Leader, that annoying bloke that tries to see the good in everyone and the positivity in anything, I’ve missed something… oh yes that’s it I have Leukaemia, to be more specific I have a rare condition called Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia. I consider myself to be one of the lucky ones. 'Why?' you might ask. It's simple really: I get to live, therefore I consider myself luckier than most that have some form of cancer diagnosis. Because of my condition I fall into the “shielding” group that the Government has advised should remain at home for 12 weeks.
I have to avoid any physical contact, those living with me (my parents) have to stay 2 metres away from me, when I prepare food, they can’t be in the kitchen, I eat alone, I exercise alone, I feel alone and essentially I am alone. Now being a people person, I feed off other people's energy, I am a tactile person who hugs his friends both male and female, so when I was told that I would need to stay in and self-isolate for 12 weeks, I felt myself spiralling into that dark place of depression that I have been to before. Even though I felt alone, I knew that I wasn’t, I spoke to my partner and my friends, they helped me to re-evaluate my situation and be the Kiwi everyone knows and try and remain positive. That's my biggest advice to anyone, don’t face this alone, speak up to loved ones or charities, there is help out there.

“That's my biggest advice to anyone, don’t face this alone, speak up, there is help out there.”

Fortunately I am stronger both physically and mentally and I have developed coping strategies, I didn’t overcome the dark thoughts alone, I did it through counselling, we all need support sometimes. I used to be embarrassed by the fact I had counselling, now I say it loud and proud in the hope it will give others the confidence to do the same
Something that has really helped stave off the dark clouds I describe as my depressive thoughts is staying connected with my loved ones, we can’t do this physically so I have utilised social media, there are so many options out there to use. We are fortunate that we live in an age where technology is so advanced, so take advantage of it.
I have personally used video calling, conference calling and group games, all of which has helped with my mental health wellbeing. I also exercise, I do yoga, it releases endorphins and I promise it will make you feel good. My colleagues are out every day continuing to carry out Policing duties and I wish I could do the same, unfortunately, however, I cannot. Please, please, please help them and help the NHS by staying in and following the rules around social distancing, the rules are there to save lives."

Keyur, keeping active