My lockdown trauma

It started on a Tuesday.

Don’t ask me which one because now every day seems like a Tuesday …or a Saturday…or a Thursday.

But it was a Tuesday in mid March.

I went into work to be told I shouldn’t have been there, that we were going into lockdown and that I’d be working from home when they could dredge me up a laptop.

And why had I gone in when others hadn’t?. I’d gone in because, oh gosh, I don’t look at Facebook each morning before work so I’d missed the “don’t come in” message in the newly formed work group. Of which I was not a member!. Good eh?

Now working from home is the Autistic dream, right?. Wrong. Well maybe. Perhaps. If you have got space and everything’s arranged as you want it and you feel…ready. Which I’m not. Or was. Am still?. Probably.

So, desk…okay, kitchen table into front room. Laptop, a few notes I grabbed from work..bingo.

I’m a tax adviser who works with elderly and vulnerable adults and sorts out their tax issues for them. I work for a charity and it’s technical stuff. You get some very angry people, you get some very distressed people and although as a charity we only help those on low incomes you also get the person who earns £100K per annum ring up and treat you like shit because hey, you’re open and their accountant isn’t!

Such is life.

I do the emails of which there are lots. I answer the phone which rings many times. I check our volunteer networks advice records and I work my arse off trying to get the job done.

I work 9.00 to 4.30 Monday to Thursday. Or I did.

Lockdown arrives and I now work, or check in, every day even bank holidays and weekends. I log in earlier to avoid being submerged as I try to do two peoples jobs and not met the side down. and yeah, I’m overdoing it.

But the trouble is that it’s always there!. It’s several feet away from me. I don’t leave work because work never leaves me.

Our head of Trustees tells me I’m doing a great job from her second home in France. My colleagues talk about their gardens and summer houses.

I look around a damp, dilapidated flat I rent and thank them for their insensitivity. I don’t have a home as such, nor a garden and certainly not a summer house!.

We get emails telling us we must take annual leave or lose it. I wonder where I will take my annual leave and if I require my passport if I should travel so far as the bedroom. I don’t like taking pointless leave because having nothing to do just makes my mental health worse than usual but my structures deteriorated alongside that so I find this email threatening and unwelcome.

My partners self employed but can’t work as she looks after vulnerable people. We do a bit of shopping for them and collect their newspaper but that’s about all we can do to help.

So she is home 24/7. In the same room, watching tv whilst I try and work. She never goes out apart from shopping so I have to force myself out everyday to escape her because, as much as I care about her, this just isn’t healthy.

We argue a lot. I still give her money every month from my salary and she’s got stuff in the bank and she gets paid for the shopping and paper collecting. But suddenly I’m paying for our shopping on a weekly basis instead of us paying and now I’m hundreds of pounds down. The COVID grant she gets as a self employed person more than covers what she’s lost so far yet I’m out of pocket!.

My mental health deteriorates. My partners Mum dies on Easter Saturday with COVID 19. Now a friend dies from Cancer. I stab myself and start self harming again because I feel so suffocated, so trapped by it all.

We argue more. About money, about her lack of exercise, about the fact she watches tv whilst I’m trying to get my head around people’s tax codes and capital gains tax!.

I try and eat healthily but it’s become a diet of pizza and chips. Cheap as chips. A cheap meal. Smoothie for breakfast, no lunch, dinner as above. My diabetes is probably rampant but I don’t want to check it. I don’t want another failure to add to my already considerable list.

I drag my fibromyalgia ravaged body for miles around the fields. I jog. I do weights. Anything, well almost, to try and not put on weight and keep myself healthy in some aspects even if my diet says otherwise. It’s a losing battle but I keep doing it.

I don’t sleep. I’m up and down like a yo-yo and although I’m bone achingly tired I’m more likely to sleep through ‘The Repair Shop’ than in my bed. The will to live starts ebbing away.

And that’s where I am. Morale shot. In constant pain. Tired. Exhausted. Overdoing it. Disillusioned. Undervalued. Under appreciated. And now really hacked off about following the rules when others can’t. Social distancing when others can’t be arsed. Giving my all for others when others give nothing for me.

Oh, and my neighbour screams at his kid, day in, day out. or tells everyone about the Chinese plot to cull the world through COVID 19. Yeah, I have that to contend with as well.

If you made it to the end of this, thank you. Sorry it went on a bit.

It’s just that this has gone on a bit and I’m tired of it now. Very, very, very, very tired.

Stay safe. Stay well.

See you on the other side. Perhaps.

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