For the majority of us, Caroline’s suicide shocked the nation and sparked a huge media/viral message for all to be heard - 'BE KIND'.
This tragic, unjust death caused a huge uproar and appeared to become a justification for mental health to be better understood. Social media came together sharing their support, all appearing to agree on a few simple acts needed more now than ever:
Not to judge others for any reason about a story/life that you know nothing about.
You do not know the true struggles being battled behind the smile upon another's face.
Be mindful that many situations could potentially be the last experience occurred before an individual commits suicide.
Where has this awareness, of which was meant to have such a big impact upon society just this time last month, gone already?
My name is Kylea Sustek and I am a private counsellor in Rainham, Essex. I work with many individuals ranging between late teens to those retired, and within a wider variety of personal related issues. The Coronavirus has become less of a concern for most, the biggest concern now being societies reaction and responses to one another. For most now, this is the issue impacting upon people's daily lives and mental health, not the virus itself. This is a very sad fact.
We are all aware of the impact being created for the larger percentage of the population within the UK, due to the panic buying chaos that the coronavirus has brought with it - on top of all other related aspects. Toilet roll, hand sanitizer, hand wash, bleach, disinfectant, nappies, medication, and much more are becoming harder to purchase as each day passes. Many people stockpiling and this, unfortunately, has a knock-on effect for the whole of the UK to endure. One of which has resulted in many other individuals having to go out shopping (in a panic), in the hope that they can buy these products while they still can, understandably.
My point to be made here is of one in particular; This situation that’s causing others distress is being caused by SOME individuals, not ALL.
People who have a large number of goods in their trolley with individual items, even if it does include toilet roll, to survive and care for their families needs, should not be seen as 'one of those' who are there to stockpile - buying multiple items of one thing. FACT!
People are now not only going crazy for products, but also crazy at random individuals for doing basic shopping.
This picture states how irrational panic buying has become. Doing a basic shop is simply not related.
On the morning of Thursday 12th March, one of my best friends - whom I will refer to as B (for bestie) in this blog, went shopping in Aldi, Pitsea. Attempting shopping alone is currently a terrifying thought for B, due to recent personal tragic events. However, being in great need for the general everyday items, it was a must for her and her family to survive. Shopping for the majority of us is a task we dislike. However, coming out of the hospital, having been in intensive care and on life support - just 11 weeks ago, for B, this mundane chore was so much more.
This amazing, strong, loving, considerate, kind, thoughtful, young lady went into hospital for a general operation which went horrifically wrong. This resulted in numerous serious/critical complications occurring, and included 2 emergency open-heart surgeries needing to be performed. One of which was while she felt her whole body shutting down, individual organs failing, she started to die. They say that in this situation, life flashes before your eyes but for B, she was met with all the things that she hadn’t done in preparation of her death - a fact that she believed to be occurring.
Please just take 2-minutes of your life putting yourself in B’s shoes and picture yourself being in this same situation. How do you think you would feel? What would it mean for yourself and your family? What would you consider to be likely possibly being a result left with, after such a traumatic, near-death experience? What impacts could this have on your future, both negative and positive? This here is called empathy and for many individuals, a trait needing to be taught and put into practice.
Understandably, B has been left with several traumatic scars, both physically and mentally, all of which will take a great length of time to recover from. B is also a family of 5 and after all the recent tragic events their family have had to endure over the past couple of months, would it not be a surprise to you if I said that they were most definitely in need of a good old shop?
As fearful as it was to go shopping, B pushed through. Sadly, however, she was met with an elderly man who thought it was OK to verbally attack her at the checkouts. As we all know, it’s a period in time that is extremely busy for supermarkets and therefore, as if this experience wasn’t enough, she also had to deal with a large number of people there present watching the drama unfold.
This man was shouting at B in front of all to hear and see, accusing her of stockpiling, despite only having only one pack of toilet and kitchen roll - no tins, no pasta etc. There simply was not a large number of any one thing, just the basic individual items every family of 5 need in general life - to survive.
B stood in front of this man scared, embarrassed, shaking like mad, and even stating, ‘Please leave me alone, I don’t like coming out and extremely anxious and not well. Please leave me alone.’ Yet despite this, this aggressive and unfair individual continued to shout ridiculous abuse for the next five minutes - ‘What have you got all that for?’ ‘I’ve never seen so much f**king shopping!’ ‘Look at all this, this is what’s wrong with the world, people like her stealing all the food.’ ‘What’s wrong with you then.’ ‘If you’re so ill where’s your Husband.’ ‘You don’t usually come here, what time do you come then?’
Let me stop here... What the actual f**k has it got to do with him? Or for anyone for this matter. How dare he interrogate, shout abuse, and highly embarrass a young lady of whom is doing absolutely nothing apart from going about her (struggled) daily chores and caring for her family’s needs. Not to mention - who he knows absolutely f**k all about. 'WHO IS HE TO JUDGE?'
This man may have been having a bad day, and that’s OK, we all have them. Even if this was the case, his behaviour was anything but OK. It was simply nothing but shameful behaviour.
People shopping for their general needs most certainly is not ‘what is wrong with the world today’. What is wrong with the world today, is people creating situations just like this one. WRONGLY voicing their personal opinions and judgements onto others. There are hundreds of thousands of people in this country that could have potentially committed suicide after such an event. Shame on you, Mr!
Another sad fact, out of them those people watching, not one stood up for B. Again, a very sad fact.
Here in the UK, people are growing in numbers dramatically fighting amongst one another, ahead of any potential lockdown being enforced.
Yet in Italy, who are actually on a nationwide lockdown, communities are supporting one another and positively interacting to boost the morale of all confined to their own 4 walls.
I have also recently been to Tesco, Rainham, for my usual weekly shop. Having my 3 young children in tow and seeing the empty shelves, caused them a sense of panic alone. My ‘usual’ weekly shop was not so, as around 20% of what I would usually buy was not available. I ended up with what I could get considering, essential items needed to see my family of 5, through to the following week.
Yet, as I was going around doing a ‘normal’ mundane chore, I noticed that a large number of people was looking at my trolley, of which was just over half full by the end, many of whom I felt was making the same initial judgement – that I too was panic buying. These individuals would go from looking at the trolley, (pre-judgement being made), to then look at me, followed onto my children. I’m sorry... Is this a regular hobby of yours? I can only begin to imagine the slightest of effects that my friends experience created for her. For most, I felt that seeing my 3 young kids with me resulted in me qualifying to gain their consent to buy the items I held within my trolley.
This made me feel like shit as it was. However, I also witnessed 3 couples making shitty comments to one another, one of which stated ‘Look at her, see what I mean?’ No, I do not ‘see what YOU mean.’ From this, I can only gather that they were placing me into the same category, again, as to those who are bulk buying. Those same people that have created this huge knock-on effect for the whole nation to suffer from. By this I mean, goes a lot deeper than the initial issue of product shortages.
How about ‘You see what I mean.’ I’m a human being with 3 young children and a Husband, funny enough of whom are also are human beings. To survive, go to work, and attend school, my family need to eat, wash clothes, clean, drink… BASIC!
If you want to place your judgements onto me, or any other individual shopping like 'normal' just to survive, go ahead, I cannot stop you. But please, just take a few mental notes now - If you do behave in the same way, or similar, as the acts I've stated above, be mindful that:
It would only state facts about you, no one else.
You will be upsetting another's member of a family, expect retaliation to be a possibility.
It could potentially lead to someone self-harming, or much worse.
What if this experience that B is now a victim of, had caused her to commit suicide, and the man in question discovered the tragedy his outburst had caused. I would predict, having continued to find out what had happened to her in recent times, understanding her families traumatic events, he'd reply something to - 'How was I supposed to know?'
If you see someone with 5 packs of antibacterial wipes, stop and think.
You simply would not know if this person is stockpiling or buying for a very valid reason: They may care for elderly people, they, or a member of their family, have an autoimmune disease, suffer from OCD, be pregnant, have a newborn child, have cancer and/or have chemotherapy...
Your thoughts and feelings of other individuals are your own, keep them that way.
Do not judge a book by its cover.
Do not tarnish all with the same stick.
Treat others as you wish to be treated.
Thank you for reading.