We’ve been collecting real stories from real people in order to tell the real story of how lockdowns and restrictions are having an impact. We share some of these #LockdownVoices below and will be updating this page as we receive and are able to process more.
If you would like to share your own experience, anonymously, please submit it here.
“My partner is a lockdown policy death.”
He was a serving police officer for 40 years, retired, and died in the first lockdown, on June 15th.
He wasn’t seen face to face until our 999 call, and died within 24 hours of heart failure.
He had been very, very ill all through since January 2020, he did have a heart scan eventually in April.
We were told he would be seen as a matter of urgency, but he wasn’t, nobody ever saw him until he called 999 and he died next day.
The cardiologist told me that in fact when my partner had that scan in April he was a palliative patient then.
But his GP refused to see him face to face, then lost his scan, then told him he wasn’t sure how to refer him on to a specialist as it was lockdown.
He lost 2.5 stone and they told me all his organs had packed up by the time he was admitted via A&E.
I’m not sure anyone will tell this shocking story, although there will be many more.
I’ve emailed my MP who just glossed over the facts and sent his condolences! Typical avoidant response I guess.”
“To our horror, my once gorgeous girl started to hurt herself by slicing parts of her body…”
“Initially it felt like a crisis that would wipe out huge swathes of people and families, including my own parents, one of whom is a transplant patient.
When we first saw the media pictures from Wuhan and Italy we were distraught for their families and worried about our own health and how best to follow advice and guidance (I even wash my food shopping).
However the last year has brought home some reality in terms of the measures and the effects on my family and friends.
As a self employed carpenter I have been excluded from any financial help which has left huge holes in my finances, the worst measures of all though have been the closures of schools.
I have two children 5 and 13, my oldest was a very bright and energetic child, full of beans and a fantastic student with drive and ambition, that is no longer the case.
I now struggle to get her out of bed, she has slipped into a mental health abyss with no or little access to her teachers and no access to her friends, it came to a head in November when to our family’s horror, my once gorgeous girl started to hurt her self by slicing parts of her body.
Being distraught at this news we approached the school and children’s services for help and support.
The excuse I got from the deputy head was that live classes and Zoom classes were too uncomfortable for teachers due to children being in bed, partly dressed and other horror stories.
I have repeatedly written to my MP and Welsh Assembly Member with no assistance.
Quite frankly my family has suffered more by the intolerable Covid measures than we have by a virus.
Reopen the schools and leave our kids to heal.”
“‘Sorry, Stage 4,’ they told us, ‘nothing to be done…'”
“My uncle – early 70s – found blood in his urine last Feb.
It was Oct before he was fully tested and diagnosed.
‘Sorry, Stage 4, nothing to be done. We cannot say for certain that the delay made any difference.’ I bloody can!”
“Unable to visit my mother in hospital for three weeks after she had a stroke even though she had dementia, or even get reliable consistent information…”
“Unable to visit my mother in hospital for three weeks after she had a stroke even though she had dementia, or get reliable consistent information as to her treatment.
Only allowed in once we were told it was now palliative care with her just having over a week to live.
Small funeral but from very large extended family. Siblings who travelled from UK made to feel they had no right to be at their own mother’s funeral.”
“My teenage daughter has begun cutting herself.”
“My teenage daughter has begun cutting herself.
This may not be entirely because of lockdown, but the wait for mental health services for young people is months long.
Meanwhile she feels like she’s under house arrest with only digital screen time as an outlet.”
“I have been in extreme pain since March 2020.”
“I have an implant for nerve pain. My review which was due has been cancelled three times and as yet I still do not have an appointment.
I have been too afraid to switch my device on in case something went wrong, worrying that they would be unable to see me. So I have been in extreme pain since March 2020. My breast cancer screening was also delayed by over 6 months.
I live alone. My brother, sister and nephews live in different parts of the UK. Being unable to see them for several months at a time has been devastating for me, as we are a close family who usually see each other every month at least.
As I live alone friends are also very important to me. Despite them living more locally I was unable to meet with them during the first lockdown at all. Spending months alone has been devastating.
The level of deliberate fear mongering by government and mainstream media has in my opinion been utterly outrageous. I think it has been in the realm of brain washing.
Because I have a scientific background, I am an analytical thinker who is used to questioning and not taking information at face value. This has been a tremendous asset and saved me from the intense fear I have discovered some friends and neighbours experience. I have observed neighbours wearing face masks and gloves to put out their own dustbins, in their own drives. A ridiculous level of fear.
I am appalled at the level of freedom that has been taken from me and I would never have believed it possible in the UK. It has felt like living in post-war East Germany and still does.
I usually vote Conservative. In future I will vote for any anti-lockdown party, which I expect will be the Reform party. If I don’t have a candidate, I will spoil my ballot paper.”
“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 – 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.”
“Financially it’s been disastrous… 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.”
“Our three year old has Special Educational Needs… 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 others 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.”
“I am considered ‘vulnerable,’ but have felt more vulnerable to the restrictions imposed than anything else…”
“Let me begin by saying that I am considered one of the vulnerable.
Over the past nine months, I have felt more vulnerable to the restrictions imposed than anything else.
The climate of fear has greatly exacerbated anxieties that I was learning to deal with, and the sense that there is no clear end to this fills me with dread.
Prior to the lockdowns, I was rearranging my life into something that I loved, after years of difficulty with mental health.
Although my access to work and therapy have been able to move online, this is a poor substitute for what I actually need. The face to face social interaction is essential to me being able to engage well with these vital aspects.
The greatest difficulty I have had is with the reduced sense of connection. Connection through a screen might be useful in some senses, but it is no substitute for the benefits of interpersonal connection.
I was getting to know myself again, and now I feel like a stranger once more.”
“It is a daily battle and most days I am feeling suicidal now. Lockdown has taken away everything I hold dear with no sign of it ever ending.”
“It is a daily battle and most days I am feeling suicidal now. Lockdown has taken away everything I hold dear with no sign of it ever ending.
I am a key worker so have continued working throughout the pandemic but I have no outlet for the stress.
It has destroyed my marriage and taken away all my coping mechanisms such as the gym, travel, time with friends etc.
Never have I felt so alone.”
“I’m at the point where I’d rather have Covid and die than carry on.”
The last day I worked was March 23 2020. I was a taxi controller. A job I loved and suited me as I have disabilities.
Unfortunately it’s a business that cannot function without people having a social life and holidays.
The owner couldn’t afford to furlough me so that was it. I was unemployed and only entitled to Job Seeker’s Allowance (JSA) at a grand sum of £300 a month meaning I was at least £500 a month worse off. I only got JSA for six months. Then I went back to my job for September and October but only half the hours so that was a loss of £400 a month.
Then lockdown again and I’ve not worked November, December and January and looks like February too so that’s a loss of £800 a month. Luckily I had savings. Savings that had taken me two years to get, and I was half way to being able to do my ‘bucket list’ vacation.
So how has the 10 months been?
Just awful. Stuck in the house almost 24/7 with a husband I could barely stand the days he was home when he worked in the office. No friends or social life which I need for my sanity. I’ve had so many breakdowns where the tears won’t stop.
My health has deteriorated because I’m not so active and especially my shoulder as that requires regular massages but I’ve only managed to get one in 12 months. The pain and discomfort is awful.
I’m at the point where I’d rather have Covid and die than carry on.”
“I’m carer for a non-verbal man with learning disabilities. His life was full, he was fun, all I see now is a broken man…”
“Life as a carer of a non-verbal man with learning disabilities, who enjoyed day centre activities, family, friends, holidays and all motorsports.
I locked down on 11 March 2020, shielding him from the virus. I was unable to wear a mask as I was advised to do, it scared him, the man blows raspberries, unable to take him out we stayed at home. He was a lively fella and lots of fun, but as weeks went by I noticed a change.
His daily routine trashed, not wanting to come out of his room, weeks went by and his mood was low, he would have a shower and back to bed, lunch was at a table in his room, I felt helpless. All the things he enjoyed were gone, lockdown was lifted but not for him, he blows raspberries and would not be made welcome in the community.
My life also put on hold through the summer. Come September and our routine still the same, my mental health in tatters worrying about him not coming out of his room to join in family life. I called for help from social services, who came and assessed our situation, I couldn’t go on any longer, if I’m honest I don’t know how long he could go on like it either.
We talked about it for a few weeks, making heartbreaking decisions that he would go into respite care, he left my house after caring for him for 28 years and moved into a flat.
I visited a few days later and he was still doing the same thing, weeks later he’s the same, my heart breaks every time I think of him.
His life was full, he was fun, all I see now is a broken man with a semi-smile if I’m lucky.
My heart breaks because I can’t explain that this was not me that has done this to him.
I hope in the future life will get back to some sort of normality for him. Here’s hoping I can take him to all the places he once enjoyed.”
“Made redundant… we are barely managing with our three children…”
“Life changed massively for my family and I since last March 2020.
Worked for an established company for over 14 years in Executive Operations with a decent life balance and income. Been furloughed for 7 months until the company declared bankruptcy and I was made redundant.
Now both my wife and I are working for very little money that is just about enough to survive and feed our three children.
We are barely managing due to working nights and in the days looking after my children home schooling. I’m fed up with life and really worried about my children’s future, as this is affecting their metal health and education.”
“I worry our lives will never be the same… I fear for the future of my children in this draconian existence we seem to be ‘living’ at the moment…”
“As a new business, I was without funding for 11 months. Only now this month have I received £2000.
I’ve developed anxiety because of the financial strain we’ve been under as family.
I’m anxious about the current response to Covid, not actually catching it. I worry that our lives will never be the same, and it keeps me up at night.
My two children have missed 9 months of school and they’re emotional, irritable and moody; they’re only 7 and 4. It breaks my heart.
I fear for their futures in this draconian existence we seem to be ‘living’ at the moment.
I’ve had suicidal thoughts but my children stop me from ever doing it.
I’m not sure I’ll ever get over the mental scars this pandemic has brought.”
“I’m a Headteacher with over 1,000 students… schools need to be open now…”
“As a Headteacher of a secondary school with over 1000 students we have no in-school transmissions and yet we remain closed.
Situated in an area of high deprivation our child protection numbers (already high) have doubled compared to what they were last year.
So many staff and parents are paralysed with fear due to hysterical media headlines which don’t reflect their stories.
I worry that children next year will have weakened immune systems. How will they cope with flu next year when it returns?
I worry that there will be more obesity (we have already noticed this amongst our children) and that all those ‘lost’ children will never return.
We know what level our Year 11s are capable of sitting next year and so it’s sad that we are not preparing them for the skills they will need (including literacy and numeracy) for their qualifications next year rather than trying to spoon feed them knowledge (they don’t necessarily need) for qualifications this year which will have no credibility in future years.
And when schools are open what do all the younger children think when they see all these people walking about with masks and forced to walk around schools festooned in yellow and black warnings, or worse still forced to stay in classes all day?
The vast, vast majority of kids are safe with regards to the virus and there is growing evidence to support the notion that if they do transmit it is a small payload and that there is very little evidence to suggest they transmit to adults.
All of this is not caused by the virus, it is our response to the virus that needs to be considered.
Schools need to open now. It will be interesting to see how children today, judge our responses in the future.”
“Lockdown ended my 20 year career… a colleague committed suicide and I’m now on anti-depressants.”
Lockdown effectively ended my 20 year career as a nightclub DJ.
A colleague from one of my venues committed suicide shortly after we went into lockdown.
As a result of not being able to do my job I spiralled down and eventually had a mental breakdown. I’m now on anti-depressants which are helping me cope.
I’m fortunate to have a stable income from another source or I probably wouldn’t still be here.
This week I’ve had a friend get to the same stage of wanting to commit suicide.
Lockdown is quite literally killing us. It has to end.”
“I’m a teacher… we can pretend otherwise, but the education of most of our kids is being severely hampered…”
“I teach in a state secondary comp. We are doing our best, and probably doing better than many local schools.
In short, the quality of our online provision, the attendance of kids, the actual engagement of kids, the quality of education and progress, is woefully below face to face teaching.
We can pretend otherwise, but the education of most of our kids is being severely hampered. Those coping the best are only the most very able and most very motivated and supported.
I gather, from friends and colleagues involved in state primaries, that education there is virtually non-existent.
Try as they might, the primary state sector cannot adequately teach young children remotely.
My own three children attend independent schools. Provision is excellent, probably close to as good as it could be… but a very poor substitute for face to face schooling.
My eldest (nearly 16, Y11) ‘attends’ all his lessons live, but is not really engaged, not writing things down, not recording, or learning.
My 10 year old gobbles everything up…but isn’t progressing as he would at school.
My 7 year old tries to stay focused on his live lessons but is bored to tears and not progressing. I am glad he is occupied, but that’s about all.
Clearly, with my wife and I delivering our full timetables live online, we scarcely support any of our children in their live lessons.”
“I have only seen Mum through a window since last year… given the choice, she would rather get Covid than not be with us…”
“I have found the fact of not being able to see my Mum except at a window since last year totally unacceptable.
She is in a care home and although the care home has been fantastic it does not compensate for not being able to be with her.
It’s crucifying for her and our family.
If given the choice she would rather get Covid than not be able to be with us.
I’m less of a risk than the carers and nurses looking after her.
Please do something to let families in to see their loved ones… before it’s too late for some.”
“It was the first time in about 10 years that I have cried for a patient.”
“This is only partly my story, it belongs to an elderly lady really.
I looked after a 93 year old lady in my resus room this year on Boxing Day. Sadly, the main blood vessel in her abdomen was leaking.
Whilst taking a history, we talked about how she had felt yesterday. She told me she had felt physically okay but very sad and angry.
It was the first Christmas Day in all that she could remember that she hadn’t been allowed to see her grandchildren or go to church. She cried, I said that I was sorry.
She died about an hour later. Her family didn’t make it in time to be by her side but I held her hand and stroked her hair.
It was the first time in about 10 years that I have cried for a patient.”
“Lockdown for me is a living hell. Monday before Xmas I tried to take my own life, mid January I tried again.”
“Lockdown for me is a living hell. Monday before Xmas I tried to take my own life, mid January I tried again.
If this carries on much longer I can’t guarantee I won’t succeed in doing it.
I’ve been a sufferer of anxiety and depression for many years, I went through lots of counselling and therapy but the way I handled it was having my friends around me and doing the things I enjoyed.
When I went through bad times I used the things I enjoyed as milestones to look forward to to help me get through.
I’d have four music festivals a year booked which were my happy places, they were spread out between March and September meaning any time I struggled I only had a short while before I could be back in my happy place.
I haven’t been able to attend anything like this since the end of festival season 2019.
I now have nothing to help me get through the tough times, I can’t see my friends, I can’t go to my happy place so I’m stuck in my head.”
“I just feel in free fall now. I really don’t know how much longer I can take all this.”
“I am disabled following major bowel surgery 5 years ago. I suffer PTSD and severe depression and anxiety.
Although I have a partner and son I feel so isolated. My depression is out of control. I go and sit in the bathroom so I can cry.
We have been given no extra financial help so can’t afford much now as my partner is older and at risk, and my son is an asthma sufferer.
My depression was managed well because I swam.
Now I have nothing.
I just feel in free fall now. I really don’t know how much longer I can take all this.”
“My eating disorder has come back… everything that made life worth living is gone…”
“I was in Europe in March 2020 when the government locked the country down.
Despite no orders to ban flights or close airports my plane was cancelled and I worried I would not be able to return home.
The British Embassy were of no assistance at all and it was an extremely stressful time. I managed to secure a flight home eventually.
However following return and the escalation in the UK I found myself increasingly unable to cope psychologically with the situation and ended up self-medicating heavily with alcohol and on prescription anti-anxiety medication.
This continued until very recently.
I still find the situation very challenging and have experienced a relapse with an eating disorder.
I have frequently experienced suicidal thoughts. I am very fortunate in that I am able to work from home, have a nice home and a partner who is still in work.
My eldest child and her partner were made redundant, luckily I was able to support them through this.
I cannot imagine the struggles for people in worse social and environmental situations.
Daily life is reduced to isolation and the endless stream of work followed by nothingness.
There is little escape, only being found in the few moments of joy with my pre-teen daughter.
This is only when I am not struggling to get her out of bed to have her sat alone in her room in front of a screen all day, bored and unchallenged. I am seeing her slowly disengage from education.
Everything that made life worth living is gone, social-ness, a hug from a friend, a laugh over a drink, a nice meal, a good workout, planning a holiday, planning a future, all taken, not by the virus but by the decisions made in response to it.
Every day I pretend that life is good, I faithfully put on my (hypothetical) mask which hides my sadness, I play at being a mum to make sure my child does not worry, she does not feel hopeless like me, I pray (because what else is left?) that she is not going to be burdened with a life hardly worth living because of the current situation. Every day I believe myself less. ”
“We are locking down but at what cost? What incalculable cost to an entire generation?“
“I am 55 and thankfully have never suffered from depression and anxiety before, despite life throwing various curve balls at me, I always find the silver lining in every cloud and am fortunate to be a glass half full person.
The lockdowns have pushed my mental health to an extreme. I am anxious and depressed a lot of the time. Lack motivation to work and carry out tasks and need 9 to 10 hours sleep just to function. I was even suicidal last year and spent three nights working out how I could kill myself. I have NEVER EVER felt like this before.
I worry all the time for my young adult children and their futures. The one that is working from home is under unprecedented pressure and has taken hardly any holiday so is burnt out. With rising youth unemployment they know they are lucky to have jobs.
My youngest is furloughed from hospitality. She has a history of severe depression and addiction. Cut off from all the things that are good for you – social interaction, seeing friends to support you, going to the gym, group exercise like netball have all gone.
Days after endless days stretch out to be filled with nothingness and a grim future ahead.
I have a friend whose child relapsed – hardly surprising.
I have one friend whose teenage daughter has developed an eating disorder during the last year.
My son has a colleague who took an attempted overdose last year through loneliness.
These are only a handful of stories.
We are locking down but at what cost? What incalculable cost to an entire generation?
As a parent of this generation I could weep, and often do, what are we doing to them and their futures?”
“If I have one message to Government it would be this: Please stop this, please commit to a way out, please reassure us that lockdown will never be used again. Give us back our lives, they are not yours to take.”
“Since early last year we’ve all been bombarded with negative fear-mongering and propaganda from nearly every media platform, and more concerningly, from our own Government; how can such a psychological assault even be legal?
What must this be doing to our children? It is utterly grotesque!
None of the messaging has been supportive, positive or hopeful.
It is a constant diet of doom and gloom with no hope in sight.
I must say it feels very much by design and very sinister! Why would a Conservative Government want to scare the public so much?
One must conclude, it is done to achieve compliance and acceptance of every freedom and liberty stripped from us. It is disgraceful.
At the start of 2020 my family and I were optimistic in our new home, it required renovation and we knew we had a few months of pain ahead, we did not realise what was coming.
News of a virus started to reach us, but it never crossed my mind that the UK would entertain such a draconian idea as a national lockdown; this kind of thing only happens in China or North Korea, right?
I happily got on with stripping the house whilst five of us were living cramped upstairs, with a makeshift kitchen in a bedroom and washing dishes in the bath. The ground floor had been stripped and I’d removed the glazing and demolished an external wall which would later become an extension.
Suddenly we were required to lockdown for three weeks, we now know this became three months!
During this time my house was not secure, it was wide open with no glazing or side wall. Yet my family ( My wife, our 15 year old, 12 year old and 7 year old) were all living in the house.
Obviously I had to do my best to board up the gaping hole to make my family feel safe. During the first three month lockdown we had to chase off an intruder twice!
I called the Police and reported the intrusion, explained the situation and even offered a bag the man dropped containing an axe, and an excellent photograph we managed to take of the him. The Police never arrived or followed up my report, they asked me to email the photograph! As you can imagine this was worrying my wife and children a great deal, but what could we do? Where could we go? However, it turns out the Police were happy to attend calls for so-called illegal activities such as someone not wearing a mask in a shop. What has gone wrong? I asked myself.
During this time period the children were out of School for months, locked up in a building site and not permitted to go anywhere or meet anyone until the summer. Tensions were high, emotions were high, relationships strained and education was very difficult.
The eldest child became aggressive, bullying his brothers, uninterested in school work and during the summer of last year has taken to using drugs and alcohol.
He previously played football and the guitar, which he has now given up on. This lead to even more issues in the home with his behaviour which culminated in an attack on his brother and smashing a door. This became too much to cope with on a daily basis, and the youngest was now soiling himself daily, which we attribute to the tension and arguing happening in the home.
We had to take the tough decision to remove the eldest child from the house to protect the others from him, and to bring calm back to the family home. The eldest had to live with his Grandad for nearly 6 months, which in itself, presented a challenge as Grandad is of course considered to be vulnerable at 70 years old, but he offered to take our eldest in, as he could see how destructive things were becoming; my wife and I were naturally arguing too because of the actions of the eldest boy. I should mention that the middle child is Autistic and is already a vulnerable, needy boy.
What then became apparent was that my youngest was also becoming very insular and angry. Every time I tried talking to him he would be upset, angry, even hysterical and regularly shout at me; telling me to leave him alone. I’d say simple things such as “”I love you”” or “”would you like a drink”” yet he would reject any of my love towards him, which was deeply upsetting.
One particular day as we were taking our daily exercise, my youngest stopped still, looked at me and said “”Dad, I’m so sad, will I ever see my friends again?”
I have to tell you as a loving father of my dear, beautiful boy, my heart was broken, I nearly burst out crying myself, that one sentence cut me deeply as I felt powerless to make my child happy. He was looking to me, his Dad, to ‘save the day’ and make everything ok, but what could I do? I tried to reassure him that it will all be over soon, six months on and it is not!
We are fortunate that we’ve managed to keep our jobs throughout this nightmare, but for us as parents, seeing our children suffering in this way is deeply painful and concerning. We’ve tried everything we can to ensure they have structure and receive education. The eldest has returned to our house, with the renovation works nearly finished, yet he is now using drugs almost every day, refuses to go to School when any opportunity has been available, and totally given up on education. He says “”There is no point”” or “”Can’t be bothered””. He should be moving on to college this year, however, this now seems unlikely. What of his future?
The middle child has managed to get on with his school work, thankfully, but is missing his friends and all the activities he enjoys- in some ways his autism has enabled him to be indifferent to the world outside.
The youngest has stopped having accidents, yet his moods are very unpredictable, he often becomes angry, rude or uninterested in exercise; we’ve had many battles to get him outside. He previously went to climbing club, boys brigade, running club and scootering.
Worryingly he has now developed a habit of rejecting every bit of clothing we try to dress him in, he says everything is ‘itchy’ or ‘annoying’ and throws off his socks, trousers or t-shirt- it seems clear to me that this is his way of having some control over his life. For his age he is emotionally mature and deep thinking, but I don’t expect he understands his emotions at the moment or knows how to deal with them, therefore it manifests this way.
I really do not like to use the term ‘mental health’ for children who were once happy, carefree, vibrant and busy. However, It is clear that lockdown has taken its toll.
As for my wife and I, we too are exhausted, drained, deeply worried, and anxious- not about the virus, we are worried about the response of Government, the prospect of perpetual lockdown and loss of rights and liberty. We are worried about the future for our children.
I’ve never been prone to anxiety, I’m very much the opposite, a positive, optimist. I hike, mountain climb, play music, work hard etc. Yet all this has been taken away with no end in sight, no hope. I must confess, I’ve never felt this low, never felt the anxiety I now feel on a daily basis, trouble sleeping, worried for my family and their future, searching for hope.
If I have one message to Government it would be this: Please stop this, please commit to a way out, please reassure us that lockdown will never be used again. Give us back our lives, they are not yours to take.”
“Lockdown triggered panic attacks in my 18 year old, she is now on anxiety medication…”
“My 18 year old has been massively impacted by the lockdowns.
My child has experienced immense anxiety and many panic attacks so much so she has been prescribed with anxiety medication and is now in private therapy because of long wait lists.
The uncertainty of what has been happening – in college from Sept 2019 to March 2020; home from March to July 2020; back in college Sept to Dec 2020 and now back at home has been extremely hard.
During Sept 20 and Dec 20 she developed anxiety and the panic attacks….she got behind in her school work and there seemed to be no understanding or help and support until I demanded it.
Her college course should have been exciting and interactive with lots of team work (Film course) however it has become tedious and a chore as it is now all written.
She does long hours over Zoom with her lessons as well as lots of homework. There is no respite from the screen.
She doesn’t sleep very well and is becoming mentally and physically exhausted.
Now with no exams she seems to be being allocated lots more work in order to gain the qualifications.
I know my daughter is one of many students that is struggling.”