"I've been really down lately, very sad and out of myself. Just feel so hopeless, and scared, and unsure. This time of year is always hard for me (Oct through to Dec) due to past traumas and flashbacks, so while during summer being stuck at home wasn't a huge deal. In the run up to Christmas is really is. So I tend to hyper focus on small, banal anxieties that I can easily manage, so that I can distract myself from the big stuff. Problem is I don't have many small anxieties this year, as I had so much time over summer to prepare for winter, Ive saved money to my Iceland card, I got a loan to cover Christmas gifts for kids and I got new clothes for them on credit that I can reasonably afford to pay off (I say reasonably as in it'll mean we have no free money til next summer but atleast Christmas will be sound). So I've got none of those little anxieties to distract myself. And I've got no activities to distract myself, such as museums or beach trips or stuff. A big reason I loved this town when we were forced to move here (police out us here when we fleed ex as was only refuge with space) was because of the active community hub that the town center was. With markets and fairs and events. Its a wonderful town to raise a family in on, but without all those distractions the truth of the town slips out. Of the homeless people everywhere, poor sods, of the kids left to roam until the wee hours in gangs (often throwing fireworks, had one land in our garden the other day scared my kids senseless - I don't blame the teens, they're bored and attention seeking, I blame their parents for not caring about them being out so late every day), the drugs and crimes are everywhere now, easy to see without the distractions. Don't get me wrong, the people are mostly lovely (lots of gossiping and backtalking but I can live with that), even walked past a drug deal the other day, they were very polite (literally, they were haggling price for something called spice - I didn't know what that was at the time til I googled it later - and the man with the "product" saw us coming and said "hold up, I don't deal around kids" and as I past he told me kids to not do drugs, then a few steps away I heard them get back to haggling. So we've some very polite drug dealers around here. Also have an elderly chap on our street, he's been knocking at mine alot lately, he's illiterate and needs help understanding his post and texts he receives. He told me his community nurse aid has been suspended during the pandemic, supposedly to protect him, so now he has to go out for any appointments or help he needs. He's an old man who had open heart surgery last autumn, surely he should be receiving help. I had to tell him that I can't invite him for Xmas Dinner this year, cos of covid, as he's no family and normally comes here for a nice Christmas dinner. I did say that I out him a box together of food and, weather permitting, on Christmas we'll sit in the front garden for a bit. I feel bad for him, it's not food but company that's most craved on Xmas. Its gonna be a tough year for so many people. That's what gets me so sad. If it was just me struggling, if I was the outlier or exception, I could easily just shut up and accept my failure. But it's not, what causes me the most sadness is that I know their are millions of people in this country who are worse off that me. Which is terrible. I used to be so proud of being British, now I'm ashamed of our country. The tories act like they opening ly hate poor and low income families. They insult us, demean us and shame us. While they complain about their financal struggles (seriously BJ, £150,000pA isn't enough for you? How do you think most of the country manages on less than 10kpA? Ffs) or the pressures of work (I'm sure running a country is stressful, but so is food insecurity, poverty and working three jobs just to live month to month). I was really saddens also last week, I found what on paper seemed like the perfect job: work from home, HMRC role, they provide the equipment needed, 37 hrs perwk and £19k pa (I'd feel like a millionaire on such a wage) but I couldn't do it, my UC coach said its not worth applying, cos I would have had to travel across the country for a two week training course, my UC coach even checked of that could be done online but nope - so it's a job claimed to be available to UC clients as priorities but to even attend the interviews or the training, one would need the money and familial freedoms to travel across the country for two weeks, basically meaning that most people actually on UC would be unable to work in this role. It was a huge smack in the face. When I mentioned it to my "job centre mental health mentor" she said "oh that's nuts, I work in mental health and only did a two day online course from home.") Its not fair. We're keeping ourselves busy this week, kids and I, by making our own Halloween decorations, using all the boxes we received over the lockdown period. Gonna turn out front garden into a mini graveyard scene with treats hidden in the graves. We got cheap sweets from poundland last month and went through kids toy boxes, plus some unused gifts from last Christmas, to fill the mini graves with piñata style. The idea being that people can take a mini grave, it's all as sterile as possible to be, and open at home. It's a project that really cheered my kiddies up. I'm also trying to lease with the local community centre to see if they'd be willing to organise a street santa for the community this year, I'd be happy to contribute if enough families pitch in it wouldn't be a big cost (maybe £10 per household) but would make a huge difference to kiddies who can't go out this Christmas. So fingers crossed. Trying to keep myself busy. I was really upset and angered to hear the tories voted against free school meals over the holidays. I know I, as a home schooling household, don't benefit from the scheme but I've got neighbours and people on our street who you can tell by looking at them that they're hungry. Our community centre is doing what it can, including food parcels, but they can only do so much. It's so sad. My family lives in relative luxury compared to some, not most but enough to sadden me, on our estate. How can we call ourselves a great country when millions of children go hungry around the country everyday. I did get a lovely treat this morning in the post. A card from Covidrealities thanking me for my posts. Really made my day and reminded me why I joined covid realities, why I bother postings and being so vulnerable emotionally with unknown strangers who may judge me unfairly (though the covid realities team are also so kindly and polite). I hope I can help others, in my own little ways, like how covid realities and the team who work there help me feel like I'm atleast part of something. I feel less alone and alot less unheard. "