Q. How has COVID-19 impacted your mental health?
That's a great question and timely - half way through the second Lockdown. I do always try to look on the bright side of things, but this is getting much harder. I see that I am a lucky one as I still have a full time job. In the first Lockdown I was out and about delivering medicines before the GoodSam app got up and running and it was such a great distraction. This time, in fact for me since September, I have to work from home. I know you can go out and about more freely this time round, but sitting 9-5 for 5 days in front of a computer without the social side of work, is getting to me. Chatting about rubbish at work was really an important part of the job I see now. I also separated at the end of the first lockdown, so I am now in a different place. The flat is great - but my "office" is also my bedroom, dinning room and lounge. I really have to see more than the same 4 walls. It adds to the loneliness. And there is the constant fear of how this government is going to pay for all this. I'd hate to lose my job. But its my girls who are affected more I think. My eldest Rosie is turning 14 soon. Her first year as a teenager has been surreal and she misses her friends. She is usually very sociable. She is stuck on Instagram, Tik Tok etc more than I think is healthy but it is at least where she can socialize with friends. Even she saw it as a blessing to get back to school. My youngest Lily turned 12 in the first Lockdown. She loved being off school and so going back really affected her. She had low interest in going to school anyway - and this is due to her friendship problems. Even before this year she had not been invited to a birthday party for 5yrs. The school cannot devote resources or a safe space to the club for pupils with social difficulties she used to attend. So her attendance is down, and she is struggling to engage. This will affect her academically. She is at least getting out - she has a horse stabled nearby and spent all last weekend with me at the stables. It keeps her happy but it doesn't address her social problems at school.