When it’s finally over, I hope our support bubbles don’t burst | Eva Wiseman

Let’s hang on to our support bubbles – they offer us a blueprint for kinder communities

The first time I heard of a “support bubble” was in the very depths of the pandemic, when there was that sense that every high street was rigged with invisible laser grids and the slightest wrong move would result in a loud and ringing death.

I had a six-month baby at the time, and a six-year-old, too, for whom school was a distant memory and a regular game for me was to consider which parts of my body I would chop off and donate in exchange for 24 hours alone. It was around this time that I became aware of a mother of two called Emma Hauck, who had been committed to a psychiatric hospital in Germany in 1909, where she wrote a series of letters, now archived online. The words on the page look like a murmuration of thousands of starlings – they overlap and darken, and though quite gorgeous, when unpicked reveal exquisite desperation. And my point is, if I had written a diary during those grim months, I fear it would have looked like this. My partner and I balanced our extreme privilege with a sometimes psychedelic desire for help. Then we heard about support bubbles.

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