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Helen McCrory randomly bursting into tears under lockdown is all of us right now

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Anna Brech
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Helen McCrory

Prone to out-of-nowhere crying during these strange times we live in? As Peaky Blinders star Helen McCrory reveals, you’re very much not alone.

The word “unprecedented” is bandied around a lot at the moment, and with good reason. We have never known such a relentlessly awful run of news, such extreme social lockdown measures, such a brooding sense of worry over lurking unknowns.

Even when we’re “fine” – i.e. lucky enough not to be exposed to coronavirus in our daily working lives, not to have loved ones affected by it – we’re not actually always fine. It’s a lot to get used to, even as we resolve to get our heads down, stay busy and be positive. Because really, what have we got to complain about?

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This strange duality of emotion is exactly what Peaky Blinders star Helen McCrory described recently, when she and her husband – Homeland’s Damian Lewis – appeared on the BBC’s Coronavirus Newscast together.

Together the pair, along with comedian Matt Lucas, have raised nearly £1 million with their Feed NHS project, which aims to get one hot meal a day to critical care staff working on the frontline of the coronavirus battle. The initiative, which has the support of around a dozen national restaurant chains, began in London but will soon roll out on a national level.

It’s an incredible feat, and one which ensures that NHS workers don’t go hungry during long, exhausting shifts. But its success doesn’t make McCrory immune to the everyday undercurrent of pressure we’re all feeling right now.

McCrory, who is currently isolating with Lewis and her two children, said she had been “overwhelmed” at certain points in the past few weeks.

“You think you’re absolutely fine, you’re pottering along, you’re coping with it – cleaning, cooking, cleaning, cooking, cleaning, cooking – and you suddenly burst into tears,” she told Coronavirus Newscast.

“And it’s this fear and it’s the vulnerability coming out and then you pick yourself up and you go along again as if nothing happened. And it’s very surreal.”

For anyone who’s been catching up with friends and loved ones in the past days and weeks, this description may ring uncannily true.

So many people have described bursting into tears out of nowhere; then feeling guilty because they judge they have nothing to cry about. So they dust off, and carry on as usual. 

Maybe that’s you, too; and if it is, you should know that your feelings are perfectly OK. Everyone is going through turbulence right now, no matter where you stand in the crisis.

As therapist Lisa Olivera puts it in the Instagram post above: “Although we all respond differently to traumatic events, these responses are often what cause the most shame when the last thing you need is to feel like your response is wrong […] Be gentle with yourself. Have compassion with your process.”

Remember, no matter what – you’re doing good.

Images: Getty

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Anna Brech

Anna Brech is a freelance journalist and former editor for stylist.co.uk. Her six-year stint on the site saw her develop a vociferous appetite for live Analytics, feminist opinion and good-quality gin in roughly equal measure. She enjoys writing across all areas of women’s lifestyle content but has a soft spot for books and escapist travel content.

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