Five testimonies of despair from the Lockdowns

Last year we took the testimony of ordinary everyday people about their experiences of the lockdowns; to ensure their opinions could be placed in the public domain we are publishing them over the coming weeks. This is part 2.

“Furloughed in March, redundant by June… still jobless with a family to feed.”

“FINANCIALLY it’s been disastrous, furloughed in March then made redundant in June.

I feel like the company took advantage of the pandemic to get rid of people they didn’t want. I’m still jobless living on universal credit with bills to pay and a family to feed. Shambles.”

“My mother, 80-years-old, in palliative care keeps asking me what’s the point in continuing after being locked down for 10 months?”

“MY MOTHER, 80-years-old, in palliative care keeps asking me what’s the point in continuing after being locked down for 10 months?

She’s hard-of-hearing so I moved in with her for the duration, she is most distressed that she can’t see her son, and her grandsons who live six miles up the road. She would rather see them and take a risk than this.

In the meantime, I’m waiting for a hospital appointment for a chronic diagnosis.

People demanding we all stay locked down obviously have no empathy for anyone outside their own circumstances – it should be a personal choice.”

“I have invested everything in my business… now we are close to bankruptcy.”

“I HAVE INVESTED everything in my travel business. It was booming, breaking records until Lockdown #1. Because we only get paid when we travel, all bookings made have been cancelled, meaning we are close to bankruptcy.

The future looks bleak with the government approach to travel completely ad hoc and now we are looking at restrictions that will make international travel impossible for most people due to cost of testing multiple times and risk of quarantines meaning extra time off and cost of accommodation.

This means travel will once again become a privilege of the rich.

It feels like no matter what we do the business is doomed as it will take too long to rebuild the sales and income. Doesn’t seem much point trying anything else. I will not stop fighting until the end. Literally.”

“Our three-year-old… used to attend a Special Educational Needs nursery… that has all gone… the whole of his life has been impaired by the bankrupt strategy of lockdown.”

“MY SON is three-years-old. He is non-verbal autistic spectrum disorder and has a rare form of epilepsy.

He used to attend a Special Educational Needs nursery where he received daily, one-to-one support, guidance and care.

He was slowly developing the traits associated with becoming verbal (more confident; indicating a desire to communicate through babbling and showing through pointing / guiding people to what he wanted).

That has all gone.

He is due to start primary school in September and we are terrified for him. He has received no support in lockdown whatsoever.

As both I and my wife work, we cannot do it all. We cannot give him what he needs (social interaction; different experiences; new situations etc), work simultaneously and be a family all at the same time. It is just impossible.

We have communicated our hurt and our anger at the powers that be – but they do not care. Not one person has attempted to help. Beyond the platitudes about ‘just keep going’ and ‘it will pass’ there has been no compassion; no attempt to support and no indication of how the system intends to help him catch up or get ahead.

We are at our wits end. It is awful. Truly awful.

The consequences of this time being robbed from him will live with him for the entirety of his life. His future, the whole of his life has been impaired by the bankrupt strategy of lockdown. It is a disgrace.”

“I have never had suicidal thoughts in my life until last year.”

“I HAVE NEVER had suicidal thoughts in my life until last year.

I would never ever actually go through with suicide because I could never leave my children but my god I have wondered if life is going to be worth living an awful lot this past year.

I feel like my children will never get the freedoms and opportunities that we once had, without having to submit to tyrannical medical measures in exchange for those once taken for granted freedoms, like going to a football match or a concert or going on holiday.

It’s absolutely debilitating to think about sometimes and is the cause of me feeling extremely unwell a lot of the time.

I am so tired of it and I get very, very depressed at times, some weeks I can’t stop crying.

This week has not been as bad but I know it will come round again at the next announcement of further restrictions and removals of our freedoms.

But it is my children I feel this situation is the most desperate for. They don’t deserve this.

They are teenagers, one is doing A-Levels and two are still at high school.

My eldest seems to work well at home but she has university in her sights and is determined get the grades. However, she is constantly being told that exams are off and then on again which has numerous ramifications and is very frustrating.

My two teenage sons are not at all academic and mainly excel in sport. They absolutely hate the tasks they’ve been given to do on a computer at home during the shutdowns. They find it very boring, they are not engaging at all, completely uninspiring and they generally miss being at school with their peers. They will be significantly behind with their school work when they are eventually allowed back which could impact them for years to come.

My eldest son is supposed to be doing his GCSEs next year, but with so much disruption this year I expect there will be problems. They are young people who need to be with other young people and other adults, they need to have human interaction and contact with life outside the home.

It is extremely unnatural to cut children off from virtually all life and to expect them to weather these many months being stuck at home.

We are typically a very healthy and active family, the children used to have regular sporting commitments outside of school and now they are just bored out of their mind with trying to make it work at home.

Use of screens is greater, stress levels are greatly increased with us all living in each other’s pockets all the time.

My mental health has suffered enormously this past year. I am no longer able to continue the training I’d started in 2018 for a licentiate in a complementary medicine, because it is impossible to get anything done with us all at home. I am now a whole year behind, and it is my chosen path for when my children leave home (if they’re every able to at this rate), which is now going to take me several more years than the four it is supposed to.

My husband is lucky in that he has been able to continue to work throughout since he is a self-employed builder, this is the only normal thing that has thankfully been possible to maintain

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This sample of testimonies was curated by the Time for Recovery team.

To read Part 1 in the series go here: Six testimonies on the immense human damage of lockdowns