The last three months since the start of the coronavirus pandemic lockdown have been very tough times for many. Our service users – some of the people most vulnerable to both the virus itself and the effects of lockdown isolation – continue to need our support more than ever and Angela's* story highlights the impact of our services throughout the lockdown:
"I had been having regular counselling sessions which had helped me find a way to voice what I was feeling. I had someone to talk to where I could just say anything that was on my mind. And then came Lockdown and I felt an absolute panic and dread at being stuck in my home alone, without the people I loved. I believed that the counselling sessions, like everything else, would now not be allowed. I felt overwhelmed and could not stop crying. I felt anxious and in a panic about everything. Would my family be OK, would I? How could I get my prescription and shopping? Could I cope on my own? Did I want to cope on my own?
Then I heard that my counsellor was arranging our next session on Zoom. I had never heard of Zoom and could not imagine how it would work. But at the same time was relieved that I would be speaking to my counsellor again. After our first session it felt natural to speak to my counsellor on Zoom. I felt safe and still felt a connection with them. It meant that we could continue where had left off. And at the same time look at new feelings around Lockdown and isolation.
Our counselling sessions on Zoom were invaluable. While we could not have physical contact, we could still communicate in a counselling environment. Our Zoom sessions definitely helped to protect my emotional wellbeing. I was able to calm down and began to structure my days and have a purpose. Talking to my counsellor on Zoom helped me to understand more about my emotions. And crucially gave me coping strategies which steered me away from negative thoughts."
*name has been changed.