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National Confidential Forum participant David Grimm issues advice to care-experienced people during Lockdown

National Confidential Forum participant David Grimm issues advice to care-experienced people during Lockdown

Posted by: admin | 01 May 2020| Categories: Case Studies , Events , Team News , Reports

What impact is lockdown having on care-experienced people?

Since the start of Covid-19, discussions with my friends and care-experienced colleagues have not been light in nature.

Almost every person I have spoken to has expressed a sense of isolation, now naturally we are all isolating ourselves, but these friends are experiencing isolation to the equivalence of loss.

A few of these friends have described it as being torn from those they love and being forced by the hand of the government to stay far from those that allow them to feel normal and part of society.

In these chats we have been questioning why it is we feel this way.

I have my own thoughts on why we are experiencing such profound loss – with the varying distress we have experienced in the past by being removed from families, moving homes several times over and over, it becomes a struggle to hold and maintain a friendship, and with the Covid–19 crisis, the community are being forced yet again, without a choice, to leave people and avoid those people that make them feel loved.

Now it is worthy of note that these are my own thoughts and not those of another, I could be way off the mark but from my observations and discussions many people are feeling isolated and abandoned, not all people mind you, but many.

On a lighter note, a few of my friends have found positives in this disastrous time. Some of them have expressed stronger than ever bonds developing within their families, some haven’t seen parents in 20 years and have reconciled old issues and are managing to hold a relationship.

Many of my friends, even the ones who are struggling, have managed to start cooking healthier and exercising more and are finding more and more interests and skills that they believed they didn’t have, such as a strong passion for reading or one of them has taken up ballet at home for example.

So while we can talk about the negatives at length, it is important to recognise the good with the bad.

 

Does being in lockdown trigger memories of being in residential care?

As indicated above, I personally have been struggling with feelings of rebellion, feelings of isolation, feelings of rage,  questions of doubt and questioning of my own feelings in their entirety…whether I have any grounds to have rebellious or anger fuelled feelings in the first place.

I’m not in my entirety sure that Covid–19 specifically has triggered these emotions, I would however say that it has aroused them and has absolutely brought back feelings and memories of insecurity and a lack of control from when I was under the care of the local authority.

It should be stated that I did have a good experience mostly in care, but these feelings were after all still my feelings.

With the isolation I am finding myself supporting others through messages and drawings on social media, though I have come to realise that this also has a quid pro quo and I am finding that people’s responses are helping me to subvert the negative emotions that come from dwelling in my own space.

 

 

What advice would you give to any care-experienced people who may be struggling to cope during lockdown? What practical tips would you give?

 

There are simple options that will help to maintain physical and mental health such as going for a daily walk and shopping to appreciate the fresh air, visiting a park and looking at flowers and nature. Opening a window and allowing the air to circulate around the room.

I personally have been doodling and using social media to try to express my appreciation for all the frontline workers, trying to show that they are loved and appreciated while also showing people that social media can be used for good and not just negativity.

However, sitting on your phone or a laptop all day is quite bad for humans, so I have also been going for my daily walk every day and trying to alternate the routes so I always feel like I am on a small adventure. I’ve also used a few of these walks to find new things to try and draw - hopefully I will remember them all.

One more piece of advice is to try to get dressed everyday as this has really made me feel much more productive and fuller of energy and encourages the mind to engage and motivate yourself each day.

 

How can the care-experienced community look out for each other during this time of crisis?

The care-experienced community has a reputation for banding together in tough and tricky times, a word that is often used to describe care-experienced people is “resilient,” a description I am not overly fond of but in worrying times this is never truer.

Our community is known for supporting each other and supporting others, even when people claim they are perfectly fine, I have noticed that people who have experience of care can see through the lies and will often keep after you until you let them help you.

So my advice to our community is to let your beautiful spirits flourish, whether you choose to do zoom calls, or draw pictures for your friends or write letters for other people who are still currently in the care system, find what makes you happy and I can almost guarantee it will be appropriate and welcomed.

A few times now I have had friends message me “instinctively” saying they just wanted to talk to me, and each time this has happened I have been close to tears, these wonderful people have brought me back from a brink of depression, simply by being themselves.

We have our troubles, and often it is in our nature to handle our issues separately, but it is as a community we will be strong and hold our place in the world.

You are beautiful and strong.

David Grimm

 

 

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