Mrs J; we have a problem

Hello, Mongeese. What strange times we live in! So much has changed, in such a few weeks. We are witnessing acts of extraordinary bravery, selflessness and kindness – and, conversely, we are seeing the worst in some people. The people who think it’s OK to steal from an honesty box or a roadside veg stall – the people who think it’s OK to strip the shelves bare for their own stockpiling. Come the revolution, they should be first up against the wall, IMHO.

Anyhooo, back to why I am here. If you are anything like me, I shuttle between loving being at home at the moment and feeling a bit adrift, or even stabby… you may be feeling afraid for yourself or the people you love, be desperately worried about money, be lonely. All the things that we encounter and worry about are still happening – CV or not. Amidst the sense of community and belonging, and standing together, lies a whole world of pain and anxiety. Of self-doubt. Of grief. The stuff that was happening before this, and the stuff that will continue after this.

We are starting a new feature – Ask Mrs J – where you can write in with something that is worrying you or you would like some help with. Bear in mind that I am neither a doctor nor a psychologist, but I will listen and I will have a think about what *might* help. There will be an online form on the Gef site that you need to fill in and submit: we will choose problems to feature – it might be one long one, or several short ones, or a mixture – it just depends on what comes in. We cannot promise to feature them all, or answer them privately – although I would love to be able to. All problems will be submitted anonymously and treated with the utmost care on that front.

What I write may not be to everyone’s taste – some people will disagree with what I say – but I will not be ‘judgy’ or ‘preachy’. Lord knows I have been through enough of my own issues, sadnesses and joys, and witnessed a lot of other peoples’ too. I have struggled through some big stuff and tried to learn some things about coping along the way. In these strange times, a bit of sharing and some loving listening can only be a good thing – right?


Somehow or other, I am 54 – I genuinely don’t understand how that happened since I still feel 22. I met a boy when I was 14 and, reader, I married him. But not when I was 14, that would be ridiculous. He still makes me laugh and I still love spending time with him – but sometimes we want to kill each other, natch.

We both grew up in north-east Essex, and are proud to have lived on the Isle of Man since 1994; we have three grown up kids, who I will try desperately hard not to mention. But they have taught *me* more than I have ever taught *them*, so it will be tricky not to think back to when they were little, or growing up, or experiencing the crap that people experience.

I work full-time, have two lunatic Golden Retrievers, run a house, and have a 91 year old mum in the UK whom I cannot get to if she needed me right now. This worries me sick. I am the youngest of four siblings, and now have a huge extended family. I have experienced loss and grief. I have been made redundant in the past, which has scarred me to this day. I have succeeded and I have failed – whatever that means.

I am a conundrum, insofar as I am an extrovert who gets social anxiety; I can stand on a stage and address a crowded room, but sometimes I don’t want to go out and meet friends. I just can’t do it. Confidence leaves me. Weird, eh? But maybe we all are – that’s the point.

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