Watching the @MadCovid and #MadCovidDiaries community grow has been an absolute privilege and life raft for me.

Bethan’s #MadCovidDiaries 15.5.2020 

Being behind the scenes helping the cogs turn has been my kind of thing for a long while. I guess that’s what I’ve been doing with #MadCovidDiaries until now.  Hi world, I’m Bethan, the diary uploader, editor, picture selector, email replier etc etc!  Watching the @MadCovid and #MadCovidDiaries community grow has been an absolute privilege and life raft for me during these turbulent times.  I just want to thank you all – you mean an awful lot to me X

#MadCovidDiaries has reminded me about the deep sense of satisfaction, and feeling of connection with others, I get from knowing that I’ve played a small part in facilitating something bigger than me.  I don’t get this feeling doing things for ‘me’, because I don’t think there’s any purpose to my life, or anyone else’s for that matter.  I guess I’m some type of existential nihilist?  I’m not motivated by ‘me’ and therefore don’t do much solely for ‘me’, because ‘me’ and ‘you’ on our own have no purpose.   But together we can achieve something; together we have a purpose. 

At the age of 36, I only now feel able to verbalise in a way others may understand, what has been for me, a lifelong struggle.  So, what keeps me going? Communities, collective initiatives and campaigns.  They give me purpose, but ‘I’ or ‘me’ does not.  I genuinely struggle when people see the world differently, when they put themselves before others or collective interests.  And I struggle even more when powerful organisations and individuals put the interests of their organisation, careers, or elite research above the interests and needs of service users, their initiatives and communities.  This distresses me an awful lot, because the service user initiatives and communities I’m part of, are ‘me’.  They are the reason ‘I’ exist.

I’m telling you this because I’m going to be writing a bit over the next few weeks and months(?) about things I’ve struggled with an awful lot for many years, which have repeated themselves in full force during COVID19.  When collaboration and communities are needed most, and despite the words ‘co-production’ and ‘co-operation’ flying about daily, I realise that ‘I’ or ‘me’ is very much the dominant mode of the moment.  I don’t want to be part of a world where collectivism and helping those who have less power or influence to achieve their potential is subservient to ‘I’, ‘me’ or ‘you’.  Things can and should be different.

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