Hi everyone, its Steve O`Driscoll here and I thought I would share how I have been coping in these strange times. At first lockdown was a novelty working from home, phoning people to see if they are ok and attending online Zoom and Teams meetings which I am now quite comfortable doing, but as the days stretched into weeks a lot of negative thoughts and feelings started to creep in i.e. when I was unwell many years ago I would not leave my flat unless absolutely necessary, I guess I was socially excluding myself and lockdown has brought about all those same feelings. Also I live on my own which is a challenge in itself but I prefer to be on my own in times like these because I have heard so many stories of people who live with others arguing which creates a bad atmosphere and the person is stuck in that situation due to guidelines, so yes I am quite happy to live alone.

I have to admit also that ReCoCo where I work have been amazing with the support they have offered by telephone and email and Zoom without that I don’t know where I would be.

It hasn’t all been negative though there have been a lot of positives to come out of lockdown when I sit down and think. I have self-taught myself to use Zoom and Teams and using those skills I have been lucky to be able to host the drop by twice every week for ReCoCo and that has allowed me to keep in contact with my friends and colleagues online which I am so glad to be able to do.

Also after many months of being housebound just last week we had a face to face team meeting and a reconnection day with my colleagues which sent my anxiety through the roof but once I saw all those friendly faces it was an amazing experience.

I think the way forward now is to push myself out of my comfort zone and have a mix of face to face and online sessions as I think online sessions are going to be the new normal. I also would like to mention Alisdair Cameron (my boss) who has supported me through all this and has made it possible for me to still have an income and a job to go to in these difficult times as I know so many people have lost their livelihood, income and structure they had in life and I am so grateful I am not one of those poor people. Lockdown has also made me realise how strong I am as a person now by being able to manage my mental health in a positive way if this had of happened 10 years ago I do not think I would have been able to get through these difficult times.

I guess I would like to end by saying stay positive everyone and we will get through this together and come out the other side better and stronger people.

Many thanks Steve O`Driscoll