At this time we cannot do Hear Our Voice sessions at BTM so we are working with the groups virtually. The group that meet on a Wednesday have been asked to share their thoughts and feelings about the situation they are in. Here is a piece written by Saul.

My name is Saul and I am a volunteer with the BTM Wednesday Group. I am learning various media skills such as film making and using Adobe software to build a portfolio for employers.

On Wednesdays I am usually at BTM with the group. I often go for breakfast before I come to the group and some of us go out for lunch to a nearby café. I go for coffee with Luke after the group and then catch up with some shopping.
While I’ve been at home, I’ve been trying to make the best of the situation. I’ve been catching up on jobs such as tidying my house and looking for work.

I’ve been making new stock for my shop on Etsy and thinking of other ways to use my talents to advance my career. I’m building a portfolio for employers which is giving me a chance to hone my skills.

I’ve been keeping in touch with friends on social media and have started a Facebook group called After the Lockdown to encourage other people to use the time wisely and productively.

I took part in Clap for Carers on the first Thursday 26th March.

I don’t mind social distancing; it means I don’t have my usual anxiety when I’m in crowds of people. I also feel that life is much slower paced at the moment. However, anxiety makes me feel more isolated and the disconnection adds to my anxiety. It forms a vicious circle that I have to keep an eye on.

I sometimes worry that the pandemic will never end and occasionally I feel trapped and angry. I’ve found that the lack of routine hasn’t helped and it’s easy to lose track of the days.

I’ve been out shopping a couple of times. The restrictions reinforce my unease and I don’t like the fact that there isn’t much stock. I’d rather get as much shopping as I can in one go and stay at home but this has caused me to become more isolated.

I worry that my daughter’s ok and look forward to seeing her again. I’ve been sending regular messages to her and I made her an Easter card on Adobe spark and sent it to her by messenger. I’m busy getting her bedroom ready so she can stay over.

I would like to have more communication with her but I’m sure that will happen when the social distancing restrictions are lifted.
I’m trying to make plans for the future such as trips out with my daughter and maybe even a holiday and I’ve got her a copy of Frozen 2 on DVD to watch.

I try to follow the guidelines set by the government and keep up to date the situation as much as possible. Sometimes this gets too much and I have to take a break from the news and social media.

I try to eat healthily and use the limited ingredients as best I can. This means I’ve become a brilliant curry chef! (Only joking!)

I’ve taken some advice from a friend and I’m going to try to get out for a walk at least once or twice a day. Before that I was only going out to shop once or twice a week. I find music is a good way to help me feel better and I’ve put some tracks together as a feelgood album. This might keep me going when I’m walking.
I try to remember that this is a temporary situation and think about what I’d like my life to be like when things get back to normal.

I’m aware that my anxiety is made worse by past experiences, especially childhood trauma and this helps ground me when things get too much.

I’m also aware that I need to share these feelings more with other people as this will help me connect and deal with them better. I keep a lot of my problems to myself because I don’t like to talk about them.

I am optimistic about the future and hope that this difficult time will bring people together. Everyone is struggling together so I hope it will result in a better kinder and more socially aware world. I think we can learn from any difficult time, particularly the things we need to change but also where our strengths and resilience lie.

It would be nice to think that the coronavirus pandemic will have a positive outcome for everyone.