Tips for going from shielding to lockdown easing
Jacob, 23, shares how he felt when he was asked to shield, how he has coped during the pandemic, and his advice on coming out of lockdown if you've been shielding.
Back in February last year, my phone pinged and an email fell into my inbox that shocked and really upset me. It left me even more anxious at a time that was already incredibly chaotic and uncertain. It was an email from the Government advising me to shield, now classing me as clinically extremely vulnerable.
I was hijacked by not only a sadness and fear but also an anger. I soon realised however that this email came from a place of care. They just wish to keep me safe.
I couldn’t stop watching the media coverage, I was searching for other young people just like me who have been advised to shield too but I was met with just coverage of the older generation which increased my sense of loneliness and isolation. I just wanted to know I was not alone.
As time passed with a lot of Netflix, baking and computer games, I took each day as it came. I had bad days where I had no reason to get out of bed, but I also had good days with online lessons and weekly therapy sessions helping me to find purpose again.
I kept telling myself, Jacob, when will there be another time like this where you aren't so busy? I tried to view it as an opportunity that I could use for my own good. It helped me to re-evaluate what is truly important in my life.
Things will only get better and they did.
With lockdown easing, I am anxious about the coronavirus rates increasing again, but thankfully it seems they are decreasing, with the vaccination programme working hard to give that protection to millions of people. Soon I will be receiving my second jab and, after over a year of isolation, sadness and depression, I can finally see a glimpse of the new normal thanks to all our amazing NHS workers who are the true superheroes in this fight.
Advice I would give to other young people who've been shielding
- Take it at your own pace – Normality may be seeping back in with non-essential shops and hospitality now re-opening but don’t feel pressure to run out of that door straight away. Do what feels right for you.
- Keep talking – You have been through a lot, and however you are feeling is perfectly valid. It’s important to keep speaking to someone you trust about how you feel, whether that’s a friend, family member or teacher.
- Stay in touch with family and friends – Staying in touch with family and friends can help you feel less alone. And even if you don’t wish to venture out at the moment then the amazing services like Zoom, FaceTime or a simple phone call are not going away anytime soon.
Author: Jacob, 23
Where to get help
If you are struggling with your mental health, you're not alone. For tips, advice and information on where you can get support with whatever you're going through, have a look at our find help pages.