Social media is full of discussions about possible psychological factors affecting people and Long Covid. One thing is certain and that's a lot of people are suffering at the moment. Young or old, fit and healthy or sick and fragile. Wales simply doesn't have enough places, virtually or physical, where people can turn to. There's a particular shortage of Welsh speaking centres.
During my time in Bulgaria with my late wife Jana, we established a Charitable Foundation. One of the projects was aimed at helping foreign prisoners stuck in the Bulgarian prison system, the vast majority of them without support, visitors and without hope. A new government with new policies made it impossible for us to continue. It opened our eyes to the universal truth that most prisoners in most countries in the world had a traumatic childhood. I worked afterwards with such imprisoned murderers in the much more humane German prison system.
The last three months have been very strange times indeed. At least for this aged Welshman, living alone in Mid-Wales, being labelled vulnerable and actively encouraged to self-isolate.
The question of work was soon solved. After more than 20 years experience of working online it was very simple to phone all patients/clients to inform them that as from the next week we should be working using video,. Sure enough, after some initial minor glitches, it worked ok. Many colleagues and friends had a much harder time.
However, like so many others, I really suffered from social isolation, and still do, although it's been somewhat alleviated lately by meeting friends in my covered courtyard where we can still meet, one to one, with 2.5 metres distance and sit, drink and converse without having to shout!
Many people seem to have recently found solace in ' online meetings'. I'm reminded of the time around 20 years ago when I started experimenting with virtual online video conferencing for psychotherapy. Exciting times. Lots of mistakes, technical problems etc but we found that even one face to face session of less than one hour duration was often enough to establish a contact that could be developed. Possibly on some emotional level but certainly essential for open communication.
Recently I have found myself becoming increasingly frustrated with so many people unable/refusing to acknowledge the vital difference between Virtual and Real. Virtual is still sometimes quite close to some forms of reality but it is never going to replace reality. Whether it's called online or virtual or something else, it can of course be useful, interesting, even magical but it's never going to be a real meeting. The communication will always remain virtual and not really.
But it remains a very useful tool. No more and no less.
Oh dear, its been too long, much too long since the last update. Sorry and all that but hopefully you'll be understanding when you read further...
Most of you will know that after Jana Marinova-Jones, my wife, died just after New Year 2017, and after the ensuing funeral, the mourning, the bureaucracy and so on I decided to return to Wales, my homeland. The nation, incidentally, (Wales, not England, not UK), that Jana first visited in 1967(?) with the Bulgarian national student choir that won two first prizes at the world-renowned Llangollen International Eisteddfod.
After buying a 200 year old Georgian town house in a mid Wales market town that need some serious renovation, at the end of 2018 I opened my practice and made ready to start an advertising and PR campaign. Well, the phone started to ring, I had no time to start any kind of advertising, and now my therapy work keeps me busy three days a week, and I have a waiting list....
Then I've taken on the office of secretary of the local Welsh Culture Society and am learning to kick-start and manage the personal pension plan that Jana set up. So quite a full life back here in Wales.
Hopefully I can now regularly re-start posting things on this blog.