Karen – aged 50

We were furloughed for two months, which was actually quite nice as work topped our money up.  I didn’t have the pressure of working 9-5 every day, I got quite fit, I was going running every day. It was a nice kind of break and it didn’t hit me that much financially. My son’s dad lives in sheltered accommodation with 2 other disabled people, so he wasn’t allowed to go and see him at all. My son didn’t really leave the house, so I was a bit worried about the impact on him.  It was also nice to have him there though because he was 15 then (16 now) it’s not like being a home with a toddler, it was quality time with each other.

It was nice not to be stuck in traffic everywhere, the busyness of everything, people bring problems.  It’s weird because it was the best of it and the worst of it, because you had less contact with the people you wanted to have contact with but you were less inundated by the people who get in your face every day.

I work for a cat welfare charity and when we weren’t furloughed there were still lots of emergencies, we picked up 390 cats during the lockdown.  The cats that we tend to deal with are not in people’s houses, so we had a letter from work to say that although we weren’t emergency workers, we were still able to work.   We were able to concentrate on the more urgent cases, the cats that were living in the entries, cats giving birth in gardens, cats that were injured,  that weren’t  looking to well, unneutered cats. I enjoy trapping the strays, the ones that no one is taking responsibility for or caring for, it was nice to still be able to do that stuff.

I felt like that there was a lot of external pressure on people, people on social media, shaming people, ‘Oo why are you going out?’, ‘why are you doing this or that?’  Often they were people who have a really good, happy, supportive home situation and they were the worst ones for shaming others.  I found all that quite difficult, there were some people who made me quite angry, they were the first to criticize everyone. To me as a person that lives alone (although I live with a teenager, I might as well live alone most days) I’m not going to blame, shame or pass judgement on anyone.  People have been lonely, struggling and isolated it’s been really hard.  I didn’t feel at risk from Covid and maybe I was a bit blasé, but as someone who suffers from long term anxiety and depression,  the fear of catching Covid was less than  the fear of  the impact on my mental health if I stayed at home every day.  It made me think a lot about what I need in my life to give me equilibrium and I do need people around me who matter to me… and a pint!

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