After I split up with an abusive partner in 2017, I got my life together, found a job and emigrated to Canada, met someone and we are happily married, I started work for both the Canadian and British government and until Covid hit was very happy, had a full life, but when Covid happened, both my sister and I got it.
We were told to stay at home and isolate, we were both key workers but they had already had an outbreak at our workplace, but when Justin Trudeau got it also, life was difficult. we always thought we could carry on working especially with restrictions in place but that wasn't to be.
My sister was part of my bubble and so I stayed with her for quite some time.
When we fell ill, I missed my husband a lot and my son's and grand children also, and I couldn't get to see them.
My sister being so much older, got it first and she couldn't lie in bed, because every time she tried, she was coughing up blood, previously we had been told to stay at home and isolate and quarantine for 14 days but when I saw how ill she really was, I panicked and called our private healthcare, tried to explain to them, they said the same as government.
This was in the early days of the virus and I know it was in both countries before the end of 2019.
My sister died February 2nd 2020, the day she was born and I still can't believe she has gone due to the very people who wouldn't help, the people we worked for.
Generally I am coping well with the pandemic. I have worked throughout as I can work from home and I have my own house with a basement where I can work on my upcycling hobby. I am very lucky in that respect. I live with my husband and daughter so I am never alone.
The three of us contracted Covid in early April. My husband is in construction so he had to continue working when England first went into lockdown. One day he was working with a man who didn't feel well. He was rushed to hospital and never came back. A week later my husband got ill and a week after that my daughter and I got ill. When my husband first got ill we followed the guidance to isolate him in one room but that soon fell by the wayside because he was too ill to get up so we had to do everything for him.
He spent a week lying on the floor of the bedroom because he couldn't even get in and out of bed. He needed the cold and hardness of the floor. His duvet was on one minute and off the next, his breathing was shallow one minute and rasping the next. He was burning with fever one minute and shivering with cold the next. At one point, around five days in, I called the NHS helpline to order an ambulance to take him to hospital because his breathing was so bad. The woman on the phone asked, 'Is he breathing?' and I said, 'To a fashion'. Her reply was, 'Then keep him at home and call if he stops breathing'.
I spent five nights awake even though I was ill myself, listening to him breathe so that if he stopped, even for a few seconds, I could immediately call the NHS and get him to hospital. I felt helpless and overwhelmed because I am not a medical person, how was I supposed to know the exact moment to call an ambulance?
My mind still plays that scene over and over and 10 months later I still can't sleep unless I have listened to him breathe for an hour. I tell him that I can't get to sleep for other reasons, but that's the reason. I need to know he's breathing properly before I can even think of going to sleep. I think I might do that every night for the rest of our lives together.
The virus took 8 weeks of our lives in total. It was that long before we could face the day with any sense of being well. My husband and I were nearly two stone lighter because we both lost our sense of taste and smell. I had a sweet tooth before getting the virus and loved chocolate and cheese. I can't eat sugar now, it leaves a metallic taste behind and I can take or leave chocolate and cheese. We all had different symptoms so the virus was very different to anything else we had ever had. It seemed to be personal, to target our weak spots. It has left the three of us with different long lasting symptoms. My husband gets breathless, my daughter has days of extreme fatigue and I have a cough that comes and goes. We are not the same people we were, not physically or mentally. We all have a different outlook on life, mainly positive but we know how fleeting and fragile it is. We are not as afraid to face death as we feel we looked it in the face and lived to tell the tale.
Our other daughter and our oldest grandson were ill with the Kent variant. My daughter is 35 but spent six weeks wheezing like a 90 year old. She seems to be breathing better now but it took its toll on her. She has also lost weight because she lost her sense of smell and taste. My grandson is 10 and was only ill for a few days. His Dad got ill on my grandson's 10th birthday. He has asthma so he was very ill but he recovered quicker than my daughter who has no underlying conditions.
I lost my auntie at the same time as having the virus and because I had symptoms for most of the last 10 weeks of her life, I only got to see her for an hour in total. I had looked after her for 10 years and seen her 2-4 times every week over that time and I wasn't there at the end. I will always feel guilty about that even though I know it wasn't my fault. I feel like I missed out on her and she died feeling that I didn't care. She was 94 and was one of the 25,000 or so people who were moved from hospital into care homes with suspected Covid. She was never tested and Covid wasn't on her death certificate but it is mentioned on three reports written by hospital doctors and a doctor who visited her in the care home. She died without any family with her, as did everybody else who has died during the pandemic.
My father died in February 2019 and as a write this, my mother waits, desperate to join him. She lives in New Zealand with my sister and today, my husband and I should have been on a flight to go and see her. New Zealand made that impossible when they found three cases of coronavirus in the community two weeks ago. Their Government decided to dramatically cut the number of people entering New Zealand and our flight was cancelled with all flights suspended until the end of May and no information about flights after that. Our tickets are being held for up to 18 months and with restrictions lifting in the UK and a range of vaccines being available, it is likely that we might be able to go by the summer. My mother is so ill now that it is very unlikely she will love that long. She doesn't want to so my sister and I have decided to give her certainty and say that I can't go. The stress of uncertainty makes her even more ill.
So, how am I coping with the pandemic?
My life has generally been ok. Financially we are better off as we have both worked. My husband was on furlough for four months but he has worked through most of it. My family got the virus and survived which I am incredibly thankful for.
Death has been a constant companion and I haven't been able to see my loved ones in their final days, haven't been able to say goodbye. That sits heavy on me and clouds every day. It will continue to cloud every day for a long time. It is not the natural order of things. When people get ill family rally around, taking it in turns to sit with the person, to hold their hand, to tell them it's ok. Taking that away from the collective experience of humanity across the world will have an impact we haven't even thought of yet. Nobody who has lived through this experience will forget it. The world has shared an event that will change it forever. We just don't know how yet.
The last year has made me realise that life just is not what I thought it would be. I have been relatively lucky: I have worked through the lockdowns as a care worker and, although many around me caught Covid, I did not.
What has shocked me is the division and the politicisation of the pandemic. To me it has made sense to get tested, to protect myself and others. More than that, it is a responsibility. So to see it
all get mixed up with politics, left vs right, masks versus anti-maskers, opinions versus science - it’s been a shock.
And whilst many good people have stepped up and helped the community, some in power have taken advantage for profit or power. The country I thought I grew up in does not exist. I hope good win out but I fear we are in for a rocky time.
I am dreading coming out of lockdown. I found life hard in the pre-Covid normal and I don't want to go back to it. I especially dread having to go back into face to face networking, which my work demands. I hate being looked past, looked through, manpslained at, talked at, talked over, ignored, and snubbed. I wish I could stay by myself at home and just communicate on the internet.
I am concerned to notice rising intolerance & prejudice during this difficult time of pandemic. There is increase racism, numerous complaints ( true & falsified) by hospital staff ( clinical & non-clinical) against black & Asian clinicians. London publication headline “ THERE ARE 2 PANDEMICS HAPPENING IN UK - COVID & RACISM”. There is little support for people subjected to domestic abuse during lockdown. To reduce the impact of the pandemic, what we need is the opposite ie unity, tolerance & kindness. A lot of doctors are actively planning to retire early or returning to India & East Europe.
we need to oppose all kinds of prejudices eg sexism, racism, anti-semitism, Islamophobia, nazism Etc. We need more awareness of Unconscious/ Implicit bias.
we can rebuild a prosperous future in a short period if we work together using the plethora of innovation developing so fast.
a UK Medical doctor
I am feeling so depressed. I thought I had gotten over my depression and worked to get better but with the pandemic it all came crashing back down and I don’t know how to stop it.
Covid has been a really hard time, especially whilst doing A levels, there’s little to no support and the situation concerning exams is so unknown and keeps getting delayed.
The pressure put on us to achieve high grades when we’ve missed half the year is so unreasonable.
My mental health has declined rapidly I’ve always had issues but I’ve recently had to call my doctors and organise some help.
I feel like students are misunderstood a repeatedly told we are just making excuses for not working yet I’m working so hard and feel completely behind and alone
It's not fair. These were supposed to be the best years of my life. It's not fair.
Feeling empty and yet so full. Empty of motivation yet so full of a desire to achieve, to be productive. It's not leading to anything. Just churning away. Acting all calm and collected but my skin reveals the truth. I haven't had psoriasis on my face since I was a kid. But it's there underneath my make-up. Make-up I wear for no one else's sake other than my own - so that when I see my reflection in the mirror I don't see the mess of the person struggling on the inside. I have a loving partner who I live with. But I only see him after 6pm and then he's gone by 7am the next day. And I feel lonely. I know I'm so lucky to have him but I'm lonely. I know it's because I've pushed people away. I don't know why I do that. I'm hoping coming out of this I can overcome a shyness, a weird desire to be alone, to do things alone. Being alone is not all it's cracked up to be. I moan so often about the state of the human race but I've come to realise I actually quite like people. If there's one good thing to come out of this situation we're living in, it's the realisation of how important it is to have contact. How invigorating human interaction and communication can be. I'm going to work on that in the mean time and embrace it when the world opens up again.
It's a crappy situation this. And to be honest, I'm not sure how to adequately talk about it all. Everyone has experienced something or is going through something different. I'm not going to sit here and tell you that Covid will be gone tomorrow, or that everything will be back to normal by next week, because I don't know that it will. Nobody knows that.
But I do know, that no matter how hard it gets, if you've lost someone, lost your job, your friends or your family... you will always have yourself.
It's hard sometimes, but remember that you are worthy of care and support and love, from yourself and others. That you are here today is amazing, and I' m grateful that you are. I know its stressful, and full of a lot of sadness, I'm going through that myself. But it will get better. Focus on the little things that make you happy, and remember that its not forever. You are loved, and it will get better.