Ceri aged 50

I had an absolute terror of what was out there, I have been terrified of getting Covid, I have diabetes, I’m overweight and I smoke, I have all the risk factors.

Just as the lockdown happened a friend I’d known for 30 years passed away of cancer, only 10 people were allowed at the funeral so there was no opportunity to talk and share stories. I’ve lost 5 people since the lockdown and it’s been really hard not having the ability to share memories, stories and thoughts with others, no formal goodbyes, the inability to get together and share all those deaths, it’s been really hard because that is where the healing takes place.

Me and partner were both doing standup comedy, we would do a few gigs a month and we ran our own comedy club night, so all that stopped. Something else I have found very difficult is that there has been friction and divisions between people. A good friend of mine is very heavily into the conspiracy theory idea, she won’t wear a mask, but if I get it, I’m scared I’m going to die. I’m desperate to keep her as a friend, having lost so many this last year, but there is a big barrier between us, it really saddens me but I’m just trying to hold on to the friendship. I had been doing a counselling course before the pandemic and you have to be doing your own therapy, so I had a therapist. I kept that up on the phone, it really helped, I was able to be more open and honest on the phone than I think I was face to face.

After 6 years of unemployment I decided to look for a job during the pandemic and I got one, it’s quite unusual to have got a job during a pandemic!  I was interviewed online and have been working from home for 5 months, I finally go into the office in a few days, but it’s been a really good way of transitioning.  I’ve been working at home In my safe place, my last job was very traumatic so it would have just been too much for me going to work, meeting all those new people, all at once, it’s given me time to get my head around it all.

All sorts of things and opportunities have popped up, I live in a really rural area but events were happening on zoom that I wouldn’t normally have been able to go to, like a book signing session with Noel Fitzpatrick who I really like.  Sarah Millican was running an online zoom gig with other comedians and it was just £3. I mean it’s wasn’t the same but it was still good. I play in a brass band and a prolific musician I really admire was offering online lessons on zoom so I was able to start them, if it wasn’t for the situation we were in, it would have been a 3 hour round trip to do them, but things opened up. I just wouldn’t have been able to travel to London and places to see and do these things it was like the world suddenly opened up and came to you instead.

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