The First Minister has admitted she has moments where she gets “upset and emotional” over the coronavirus crisis – adding that hugging her mum and dad will be the first thing she does when the lockdown is eventually lifted.
Speaking during a one-hour special radio broadcast across Scotland, the First Minister said those things everyone else struggles with she is “struggling with too”, including not getting to see her parents, niece or nephews.
She added she has “moments” when she gets “upset and emotional” at the magnitude of the crisis but stresses she tries not to allow that to get in the way of the job at hand.
Speaking on air, she said: “On one level it’s maybe easier for me because I’m so consumed, literally every minute of the day and much of the night as well, with the response and dealing with it and taking the decisions to support those on the front line.
“The things that everyone is struggling with, I’m struggling with too, I can’t see my mum and dad right now because they’re in the older age group.
“I can’t see my mother-in-law whose both in the older age group and in the shielded category as well so I’m missing that.
“I can’t see my niece and nephews. It was one of my nephews’ 18th birthday this week and we couldn’t go to see him so I’m struggling with all these things like everybody else.
“My sister is a frontline health worker, my sister-in law is a frontline health worker and they will say to me ‘ oh you must be really stressed with all this’. But what I’m thinking is however tough my job is, it’s nothing compared to yours and what people on the frontline are doing and I worry about them because I know how difficult it is.
“I know anyone who has a family member or friend working in the NHS or in social care right now has that added sense of anxiety and I absolutely identify with that because I have it too.”
The things that everyone is struggling with, I’m struggling with too, I can’t see my mum and dad right now because they’re in the older age group.”
The First Minister said she has had “key moments” where she has had to take a step back at how “bizarre and unprecedented” the situation is.
But said the most difficult jobs in the country right now are with those treating patients in hospitals, those suffering from the illness and those caring for loved ones.
She added: “It’s the things that will be upsetting everyone right now. My mum usually says I don’t see her often enough anyway but the very idea I can’t go and see my mum and dad right now, if I stop and allow myself to think about that, that will upset me, the same way it upsets anybody.
“I guess what I have to try and everybody will be doing this in their own way do is get on with it as there’s a big job of work to be done just now.
“I’ve not dealt with a situation like this — nobody has dealt with a situation like this — but I know I’ve got to be taking clear-sighted decisions based on the best information I’ve got to try and steer us through this as best and as quickly as I can.
“Of course I have my moments when I get upset and emotional at what we’re going through right now but I try not to allow that to get in the way too much.”
Sounding emotional on air, the First Minister said the first thing she wants to do when the lockdown is lifted is hug her mum and dad, niece, wish her nephew a happy birthday and see her mother-in-law again.
If we keep pulling together and looking out for each other and doing all the right things then without trying to put a silver lining on a big cloud, because it is a big cloud, we might come out of this with a renewed sense of what really matters in life.”
The SNP leader said she wanted to avoid sounding “too trite and cliched” but that it has “never been truer to say we are all in this together”.
She added: “We’re all going through a difficult time, we’re all dealing with different aspects of that and we’re all feeling the emotion of it.
“But if we keep pulling together and looking out for each other and doing all the right things then without trying to put a silver lining on a big cloud, because it is a big cloud, we might come out of this with a renewed sense of what really matters in life.
“Those human connections and making sure we think about them and value each other. If that happens then maybe something good will come out of it all”.