My experiences of COVID 19

Fear of the unknown, uncertainty and lack of the right information left me confused

By O.F.B.

My experience of COVID 19 was a dicey one. Prior to the lockdown, 2 days to be precise, I lost my phone and I was trying to come to terms with that while still hoping by a miracle I would find it. Alas, there was a lockdown two days after that and it was as if I became cut off from the entire world. I couldn’t communicate with anyone, and I was so lonely and frustrated, coupled with the fact that the college expected us to submit the pending assignments before the end of April as we couldn’t meet physically again. So for me, the first few weeks of the lockdown were so busy. Thankfully I had borrowed some books from the college library to help with my assignments. I had to do lots of research and sit sometimes all day from morning till evening hardly having any time for myself just so that I could meet the deadlines.

I had a kind of nervous breakdown and couldn’t concentrate on anything. While struggling with this, coincidentally, I talked with someone and from the tone of my voice she was able to deduce that something was not just right. After much pressing, I opened up to her and she suggested I speak to my lecturers and ask for more time, which I did. For close to two weeks I stopped all my studies and all communication until I became stable. Not until then was I able to finish up all my assignments and submit them.

Another distraction was buying enough food for myself and my two teenager children to last for the period of the lockdown. Due to the uncertainty, and no one was sure when the lockdown was going to begin or end, there was lots of panic buying going on. You might get to some shops and not find basic things like pasta, flour and groceries. It was so frustrating. I just had to arrive at the conclusion that even if it means rationing what we have left in the house, so be it. We live far away from town and the nearest shops, so imagine getting to the shop at 8.00am in the morning only to find a very long queue. I resigned myself to fate and gave up. Alas, the government announced the lockdown and then we were all locked up in the house.
Fear of the unknown, uncertainty and lack of the right information left me confused. I listened to news updates and the government daily briefing on Sky news on YouTube. I felt these daily briefings were creating fear and sowing seeds of uncertainty. I was also very afraid to even step out of the front door of the house because after listening to all the symptoms of COVID 19, I realised I had had some of these symptoms, so I could be vulnerable. The fact that the BAME community were badly affected by this virus didn’t help matters. I decided not to have any contact whatsoever with anyone, not even with social distancing in place. TV news became our only source of information, with no communication with anyone from the outside world as I had lost my phone, and so I lost contact with everyone.

Eventually, I was able to communicate with people via email and that created a safe place for them to reach out to me and vice versa. I was also able to continue volunteering with the organisations I have been involved with. It was an interesting opportunity given the anxiety that the news was creating. Now I had something to distract my mind and look forward to each day, with renewed hope and aspirations that I was being useful, doing something productive and engaging my mind and brain in meaningful conversations.

The government have started easing the lockdown but I am still sceptical about going out as I would have loved to do. Reasons being that I feel people are too relaxed and not taking the necessary precautions needed to curb the spread of the virus. I will rather be a victor staying at home than be a victim exposing myself to the virus due to other people’s carelessness.

O.F.B volunteers with a number of organisations that support Asylum seekers and Refugees.


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