Victoria B on 22 November 2020
Q. How has COVID-19 impacted your mental health?

) the whole covid situation really. As above, UC triggers my PTSD (memories of being locked up by my ex, unable to provide for my children's basic needs, including food, unless I pleased my ex, etc) while combined with all of that, the lockdowns and lower income mean I'm unable to manage my anxiety and PTSD symptoms as efficiently as I used too. I'm unable to get a bus ride to the beach, or visit play areas, or attend support groups, etc. I'm even unable to shop around for cheaper food options due to the virus, meaning I'm having to pay for the convenience of more expensive food that can be delivered. 3) the behaviour of others in recent months. I normally try to be a peace keeper, love all, not judge, etc. But it's been so hard lately. It blows my mind how some people have behaved. I've had neighbours having parties during lockdowns. I've lost friends who were openly racist, transphobic and who said "no one I know has had the virus, don't care about others, just numbers isn't it, no big, etc". It's sickened me. I had to cut out a lot of people. For the sake of my mental health. And from the need to be a good role model to my children on being a good ally to those in need. We've had petty crimes, minor crimes, major crimes (including murders and assaults with weapons) and several suicides in our area. Thousands of people have died (including my uncle). Thousands of people, including me, live in fear of catching the virus. Not sure if their bodies would be able to fight such a virus off, or if hospitals would consider us worth helping, etc. In my head, everyday, I hear "if we catch the virus, with our luck and health, we'll die and our children will be unprotected and unloved" it's terrifying. Then I see my neighbours partying. I've got one local neighbour who's got a premature baby with underdeveloped lungs and who already relies heavily on oxygen tubes. That mother caught a mild strain of the virus a few weeks ago. I was so worried for her. But she was fine every a week and managed to no pass it onto her baby. Then last time I see that she's live on Facebook, drunk and dancing, in a room full of adults and children (her family and friends) all partying so celebrate her and her baby's birthday. I was horrified. I know I'm not meant to judge but the blatant lack of care for protecting people from the virus is staggering. I've taken to keeping my curtains closed cos I'm so sick of seeing my neighbours flouting the rules, rules that are in place to keep us safe. It makes me angry, to see them not caring about something that has killed so many people, that so many people are terrified of, and they are ignorant to the depth of what their actions mean. I do understand why they act as they do, the lockdowns is hard, I miss people too, and so many on our estate are so poor anyway that death isn't really a huge threat anymore. But it makes me angry, cos I'm scared, it makes me feel guilty for judging and shamed for the fears I feel. Then overwhelming sorrow for the things that keep me afraid, the fear of leaving my children unprotected and unloved, the fears of going hungry, of having to please others to justify my existence, etc. All those fears and dreads and doubts all collect and feed into one another until I'm left a tearful, anxious, depressed lump of skin bone and flab. Trying to do the best I can. Knowing it's never going to be enough. The thorough hopelessness off it all. Of living to function, not living to thrive. Is devastating, mentally, and makes my usual PTSD struggles so much harder. Covid on its own isn't the cause of my mental health issues, but the situation covid has put me and millions of others in has pushed my mental health to the point where I'm not confident of a return to "healthy". All I can manage now is "functioning" (my kids don't starve, my house doesn't burn down, my kids are educated and supported and loved) but beyond that I've no energy left for anything.

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