Being Human In Lockdown 2021 – One Year On

25 images and quotes, 90 in the total Lockdown set (please see the two previous Lockdown exhibitions here) have been submitted by global participants. I am in such awe and humbled again by the trust people have placed that I can help their voices be heard.

To give something to look forward to in moments where the weariness touches.

I’m grateful to be presenting the final set in the Lockdown series. This has equally given me a distraction and focus so there is much equanimity gifted reciprocally.

As with both previous exhibitions if you are prone to anxiety I would suggest coming back when you are more relaxed as this can be triggering. I will again put support links below. I can’t catch every country but I will do my best for my known demographic audience and help can always be found online of with the help of a friend on the other end of a phone. The exhibitions in this Lockdown series touch into areas of our raw humanity and unless we feel best in ourselves it is wisest to skim the words and just look at the pictures or come back when feeling more ready. If you wish to discuss the exhibition more widely please feel free to contact me via my contact page.

You will notice a theme of feathers throughout as you move through the pieces, this is to honour those whom have fought well but sadly lost their lives to this virus, may they find peace.

I dedicate this work to each participant who submitted their photographs and quotes and to the interwoven lives within the realisation of our shared humanity. Much love.

“I feel so alone. The nights got darker and colder. I’ve been moved into a hostel off the streets I’m scared though it’s not like having your own patch. If you can call it that, I’ve been homeless for 5 years now. Stayed just about everywhere, it’s not comfortable and I wouldn’t wish it on everybody. Had a job, was smart had two adorable kids but I made mistakes got addicted to heroin and lost everything. I’m trying to get my life back together and before lockdown I was about to get a place but they won’t do it now said I had to come here, people screaming in the night either nightmares from wars they’ve been in or at each other because no-one trusts anyone. We are used to claiming patches you know, our zones. Here we are all together, it’s warm at least but we are scared as hell one of us gets this virus because we will all get it and none of us are well. Living outside isn’t good for your body. People are pent up getting angry at each other and others are loosing it, you know, their minds. I’m grateful, don’t think I’m not it’s just not the best but better than the street I suppose so we’re lucky and someone is paying for us. That’s kind, never had that before. Scared though. What happens when they lift lockdown will we be be thrown back out? At least here we’ve had food and not had to beg and starve. The kindness of some people though, you can’t beat it. I hope they still let me get a place but I’m worried they won’t and I’m back where I started. Not a place for no man.”
“My name is Rachel, I count. I’m a nurse and have been working non stop since last year on the covid wards in England. I am exhausted, when I do get sleep I wake up startled and the pain in my heart is overbearing I have PTSD. I have spoken with HR and no support has been provided. ‘Get a cup of tea, make sure you have a proper break’. Dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s that’s all it is, lip service. I can’t focus on my partner when I get home, all I do is cry and feel an aching wound in my heart. ‘Get a cup of tea?’ When? When my patient can’t breathe and the oxygen isn’t helping or when the oxygen is running out on all of the wards? When I need to flip my patients who can do little to lift or move themselves? When? When I’ve been working extra hours beyond my shift because other nurses are sick with covid or stress? Having to wear the same PPE for days knowing I’m not protected and that could be me? That’s what I was working in. Watching patient upon patient die every day in numbers I’ve never seen before, colleagues as my patients dying. ‘Get a cup of tea? Make sure you sleep well’ they don’t give a toss about me I’m just a number in a machine. The Doctors don’t care, probably feeling the same, management don’t care just want the job done. We all want the job done, we all want to save our patients and my priority is them, not the beds they take up not making sure all the necessary equipment is in place. Them! I prioritise them! That’s why I’m here working this job. We all are. Not allowed to speak out, whistleblow. All the judgement. My mental health is broken and who cares about me? No help is in place for burnt out nurses, ‘PTSD oh yeah we all have it just get on’. I can’t just get on it’s taken over my life. I get angry at inappropriate times I hurt the people I love, I’m traumatised, numb then hurting in my heart so bad. Who cares for me? NHS England you need to do better! Thousands of us. Politicians smiling on tv talking rubbish they don’t have a clue about only concerned about how they look. You look bad that’s how you look. They don’t care, and the biggest slap in the face no pay rise ‘presented’ as a 1% pay rise. That’s less than inflation. No real thank you no real substance. No support behind empty words. I’m sick, sick of being treated this way having risked my life because I care about people. Them in their hundreds of thousands of selfish greedy grubby pounds what do they care? Show your support put in place proper resources and provide mental health support for all staff having to hold you up through this pandemic. Claiming praise you should be ashamed of yourselves. You could have prevented this level of distress you had the ability and you willingly chose not to! Who cares about me? I count! Machines and institutions that’s all we are seen as”
“Lockdown 2, day ??. Mentally and emotionally fractured. Physically broken. Lockdown has blurred everything we know so much we are having to examine our lifestyles to understand ourselves ( if that makes sense)”
It’s cold, I sleep in a tent not allowed anywhere but my zone. Lots are starving. Winter was the worst I’ve known. I miss my homeland. I never thought my home would be blown up and I’d be living freezing people dying around me from this cruel virus and or hypothermia. I’m a doctor so I help but without any protection and no vaccines or medicines for us here only small shipments from kind people so they go to the really sick. Hard to treat people in there’s conditions. I thought Europe was better than this and my heart breaks that we would be treated like criminals and scrounges. So many are skilled people but all reduced to makeshift tents and doing our best to stay warm and not always enough food. Sometimes I get delirium. I was sick coughing until my muscles pulled so maybe I had this but it’s been three months now but I’m so so very tired but I still help no matter what, others may want to look at us like third class citizens but we are traumatised and trying to protect our families and being left for a free for all with this virus is just cruel. I wonder if it were the Europeans who had their cities blown up by arguing men would they tolerate this treatment? We have been left to the wolves but all we can do is pray and hope so that’s what I do”
“Lockdown 1 year on, I don’t want it to end. I’ve became safe and secure out working with hardly anyone around. The injection hasn’t made me feel safer, it’s spurred on the social anxiety at an increasing rate, I’ll be staying home”
“We all had it, in one place most people had it we almost had immunity we thought we had but then this new version came back and most who had it were reinfected just as bad as the first time. No vaccine that totally stops it but two that make it less bad, at least we can hope for that we have lost so many I think it’s more than America now but I’m not fully sure but think so. We were a strong nation with our problems but this has really broken us. So much grief. Some whole families lost but we need to look at the positives most people have had it twice and have survived. The president told us to stop winging! How could he! Raging at his ignorance. Maybe scared but I don’t care it is so insensitive I lost three family one my son and he says stop winging! No sir we will shut up and get on whilst this rips through us all. Not voting him didn’t last time. Please mother Mary save us and may we get better leadership”
“Not quick enough vaccine roll out and what is the excuse? always someone else, the Brits have upset everything. Everyone is getting so sick again many with the new variant from South Africa. Whining about the Brits and their vaccine won’t make a difference though now it doesn’t stop this one. Anger, my poor mother she survived last time but is left so frail. I don’t know again. I’m mad really mad I’m not sure about this new president Ursula, too many mistakes, too reactive and should be proactive. Not active enough for me or us. Germany might go it alone with the Russian vaccine but has it been tested against the new variant? I don’t know, so secretive they are never sure what’s true. I’m 68 and been careful for over a year now but I got sick too and I’m tired all the time. All I hear is people wanting to go on holiday what is wrong don’t they get it? I used to run every morning I’m fortunate if I can walk the dog now. Going to need lots of care and help to recover and we are being hit by another wave. It’s not on the news trying to play it down but in my town so many are sick and in hospital. Better leadership needed. What is wrong with the world today the thinking is all wrong no-one listening all talking! All on trains and busses despite compelling evidence of how it spreads here, ignorant fools. Stay at home, if you go out stay near home, be smart! Be wise so far so much stupidity. Rules to suit. Another lockdown is coming this is on you, have a thought. Selfishness. I’m so mad”
“What happened? They said it was safe but it’s back again. Italy will never forget how merciless this virus is. I pray to you god please, please stop this. We can’t cope with another wave but it’s coming we know. More cities and towns even villages are getting sick. We have been affected so bad by no tourism I don’t know if our country can survive but even still sickness comes. We have been vaccinating as much as we can but they say supply is slow. Please god may you have mercy on us and our sins”
A year on and still in lockdown. Trying my best to smile and keep going. It’s hard to smile when you have ground your teeth down in anxiety and now they are not the same length. Also hard when you are overweight and don’t want to be seen 😢”
“This year has taught me about how much I miss the quiet- lockdown brought a quiet many had never experienced before and now everything seems loud and harsh. The way we treat eachother has added to that harshness. So now I’m just looking for the quietness again, because maybe that’s my new normal”
“My thoughts when I see a photograph of myself in a wheelchair:
Chair or Person?
Silent or engaged?
Burden or human?
Hearing or listening?
Staring or interested?
I always wonder what other people think when they see me. Thats why I ask these questions. Sometimes I think I can feel people staring, and it seems like they pity me, which I hate. I know people wonder why someone who looks as young as I do is in a wheelchair.
Since my last selfie that I sent for exhibition, I have found myself using my wheelchair a lot more due to illness exacerbated by having covid last year”
“More cases after almost none, travel should be banned just now. We now have a worrying mutation. Life was free and easy we are practiced for this but not free again. Lack of tourism is hurting our business. Stop flights, stop travel until vaccines that stop the new mutations are neutralised. Stupid. If this is done economy will heal sooner. It’s hurting us all and people in the world need to be smarter, not smart at all”
“Here in Iran so many of us have been vaccinated and it’s really making a big difference we are so happy. Economy getting a bit better and will improve, but for a long time families and people have been so hurt by deaths and losing business. Some starving and losing their homes so sad, so so sad. We pray every day and it is helping”
“We were so lucky first in the world with a vaccine! A good vaccine but no one believed. We have been helping other countries because they need it. We are used to winter here so not so sad but life is not back to normal, lots of fear. Still many to get vaccine but lots have. Sputnik V the world thought bad or not tested well but it is as good as U.K. and German. Lockdown not been same here just different. It’s been too long. Too long and we worry about new mutations. But we trust scientists who are working hard. It is a huge huge country so still many rural needing vaccine. Can see hope now though. Working well with China on new space station too so nice distraction and there are other things not speaking about. No. Hope though. Good thoughts to you and let’s help the whole world more countries less rich. What affects one affects other not wise to just think about self. Not now not in this. People from the west need to be less suspicious and why not listen to their scientific advice? It is so bad too many have died because of it. Answers needed. Stop looking at us sort your own problems”
“It’s been a stressful year it’s hard being young and missing parts of life that are supposed to happen right now, had my 21st birthday in quarantine that was sad but I’m happy. I’ve coped by studying, Netflix and sports. I’ve gotten into work though and feel we can finally start looking forward to a normal life sometime soon. I might get my 21st+1 party this year if I’m lucky.”
“We don’t understand but our cases have got less we don’t know why. We pray and love and wish loving kindness on all people yes. Maybe the gods have helped no? Long while we were so worried and sick hospitals breaking bad. Then no. Not understanding. Still fear though very much as rising little bit faster than before. Other places in the world not so good. We pray and offer up. Namaste”
“Well here we are one year on little did anyone know that this would be the case. The world is a much sadder with all the loss of so many lives, but mustn’t grumble. I am about to have my second jag next week, thank goodness for our scientists who are doing all they can.
Myself, I have been many walks now which will be better for my health. Keeping in touch with relations and friends by this iPad, testing my patience at times but hay ho this is modern times. I still read and watch tv, also eat cake and sometimes bake, oh not adventurous just fairy cakes. Oh I almost forgot I also made up a little book. Don’t get to excited it was only a few pages this was for my great grandchildren. I end this with maybe by the end of the year we as a country will be nearer to the end of this pandemic. Take care everyone”
The most familiar representation of life for most families throughout this pandemic! Most will relate. “Life only puts hurdles in your way that it’s knows you can overcome, it may take you a few attempts but as long as you don’t give up you will always succeed”
Firefighting on all fronts, some breaking but feeling useful. “For me this second lockdown has been slightly easier in some ways. Although, I am still scared of being the cause of someone’s suffering death through doing my job as a support worker I know I am doing everything I can to keep others safe. Even when non essential shops etc were open I didn’t go, not that I was worried for myself as in my eyes if I die I die, but I wouldnt like to kill someone else. This time my usual unit at work is open so I am not moving all over the region not knowing where I’m going to be each day or who I’m going to be with. Due to health problems with my parents and buying a house (stressful at the best of times but during a pandemic?!……..) I have had to make a bubble with them which means I am not completely alone like in the first lockdown. Although helping my mum attend hospital appointments and having to wait outside not knowing what is happening and what I can do to help has been extremely hard. The longer the pandemic goes on the more people are struggling and feeling deflated. Although I am doing my best to try and help others through it’s very difficult seeing others so down and in pain. I am proud that I have been able to continue to work throughout the pandemic as well as continue to help and support others beyond that. I just hope i have done enough to make a difference”

“The last year has been many things. Upsetting. Painful. Challenging. Stressful.
But from the pain, new interests have blossomed. They have had to blossom or else I think at times I may have gone mad through being stuck with never ending sameness.
This selfie is taken with my bike”

“It has been so good to get out walking. I feel more connected to my mother. This pandemic has been healing. Although furloughed you have to look for the positives, I’m one of the lucky ones so many people are suffering, lost their jobs, their homes, struggling to have food or completely alone. I’ve been able to help my family although sometimes I feel I’m annoying. I look forward to walks with mother getting fresh air and keeping fit, it gets boring not working, I’m a person who needs purpose. I like helping people and I’ve been able to do that so I’m happy”
“In our darkest days, a spirit can can still shine. Original image taken during cancer diagnosis…I kept the light within with me and it carried me through my dark time.”
“Focusing on just one powerful memory, when my heart was bursting with love and joy, helps give me the strength i need to stare straight into the eyes of adversity, and see the light that shines through”
“Well what a year ups and downs so many
I became a nana and 5 months on still haven’t met my grandson
😢 he has had so many things wrong and is doing so well
Happy Times out weigh the sad times I just have to think of all the amazing things we do have in this world or look at a pic of my children or charlie
and my heart smiles
We are lucky have a roof over out heads and food on our tables so we are truly blessed so many people suffering so much in this world is wrong but one thing we do have is love
💘
Miss hugs so so much and can’t wait to hug again
🤗
Light at end of tunnel at last and can’t wait to hug my friends and family again”
“Lockdown is different this time..more difficult It’s winter,, still settling in to married life. I’m working from home hair put back living in ‘slouchies’ But still lots to be thankful for I now have a husband who looks after me and I still feel protected and optimistic for the future. Spring is here and I look forward to new beginnings and replacing the virtual chats with proper face to face fun and laughter 💕😄

Support

World Health Organisation general information: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public.

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UK support across many topics: https://www.supportline.org.uk/problems/coronavirus-covid-19/ .

Also For British Sign Language and other accessible support and guidance you can find support here https://deafblind.org.uk/coronavirus/ and again other accessible support and guidance in an easy read format can be found here: https://www.mencap.org.uk/advice-and-support/coronavirus-covid-19

If you are in need of urgent emotional support you can contact Breathing Space in Scotland on 0800 83 85 87 https://breathingspace.scot/

Or anywhere in the U.K. you can call Samaritans https://www.samaritans.org/or by calling 116 123 (free)

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Irish Support Service: https://www.hse.ie/eng/hselive/

More urgent emotional support can be found here https://www.samaritans.org/ or by calling 116 123 for free (Ireland based)

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In Canada you can receive support and information here https://www.crisisservicescanada.ca/en/covid-19-resources/ call free anytime on 1 833 456 4566 or text* 45645, from 4PM – 12AM Eastern. Text charges may apply. This website covers both emotional support and information relating to Covid.

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American Mental Health: https://mhanational.org/covid19 .

Online you will also find mental and emotional support hotlines that are particularly relevant to your state. You can also find more help from The Department of Health and Human Services here: https://www.hhs.gov/coronavirus/mental-health-and-coping/index.html (this resource is accessible it includes American Sign Language as well as translation into Spanish)

If you need more urgent emotional support you can find it here here: https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/ or call 1-800 273 8255

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In Nepal there is the Covid-19 helpline call on 1115

If you need professional and family support for your mental health you can visit here: https://www.koshishnepal.org/

Peer community support for mental and emotional health can be found here: https://bit.ly/3ilPajT

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For Covid guidance and information in India click here: http://covid19-india.in/helpline/ each state or union territory is listed with its own phone line number. Also here https://www.acko.com/health-insurance/coronavirus-helpline-india-official-phone-numbers-list/

For more urgent emotional support you can find a list of phone lines here: https://lbb.in/delhi/suicide-helplines-india/

Alternatively you can contact the national helpline Kiran on 1 800 599 0019

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I appreciate that some of you visiting may be from different countries and there are many different emotional support phone lines and websites. If you are in need of help please look online for support nearest to you. The weblinks above may also help you, just as a source of information. This pandemic will pass.