‘We are in a form of lifelong lockdown as disabled people’

‘What I learnt after going blind, what I learnt after paralysis, all the tools, I felt it all when lockdown came in,” motivational speaker Mark Pollock says. He is talking about the stages of grief, as famously defined by psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Aged 44, Mark has been through these cycles twice.

ow, he sees it all about him, in our collective, pandemic-related grief. “With the second wave, I’m seeing an overwhelming amount of denial. We’re back at the start of it again.”

Our ability to deny the undeniable is remarkable, Mark says. “When I went blind, I couldn’t see anything. Total blackness. Yet for perhaps even close to a year, I was going through cycles of denying that it was real. It comes from a place of, you don’t want it to be real. Same after paralysis. Lying in bed, not able to feel or move my legs, get out of bed, get into the wheelchair for four months, in hospital for 16 months; you’re denying that this is the case.”

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