Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/1106/31503
From The Socialist newspaper, 21 October 2020
Newcastle lockdown: stress and breakdowns
A Newcastle worker
After the initial shock wore off, my family settled into a routine. We argued a lot. There was a cycle of us taking turns having mental breakdowns. The problem was, even in isolation, we had a constant supply of stressors.
Every time you looked at the news it was like watching a dystopian film. The virus, anti-maskers, innocent protestors facing police brutality, the recession, the list goes on and on. By August, I was the only one who had not approached the mental health services for counselling.
While this was going on, I had been forced to commit furlough fraud by my boss - who told us that doing work while furloughed was "voluntary" while holding our jobs over our heads.
One of my friends had it worse; he lost his job immediately, despite the scheme. We even had to help him out while he waited for his 'whopping' £350-a-month Universal Credit.
Worst of all had to be the worry for my grandparents. We taught them how to use video calls and called every day, but it was really tough. It felt completely awful dropping shopping off and not being able to give them a hug. But the anxiety of whether I would be the one to infect them stopped me.
Since things have relaxed, I think I am even more stressed. I am back in the office, where the virus is treated as a joke, as is following restrictions. My boss even bragged about telling his 70-plus father-in-law to "take that mask off whilst you're in my house."
Now it feels like I just have to cling onto my job. We have already had one case. I have been tested twice and been lucky - for now.
I don't know what is worse: being isolated in lockdown, or dealing with employment in this post-lockdown world. With the cases now as high as they were in April, and nothing being done other than the removal of furlough payments, it feels like we are on our own.
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In The Socialist 21 October 2020:
Health before profit - Work or full pay
Wales 'firebreak' lockdown fails to protect workers
Liverpool lockdown: suspicion and anger
Newcastle lockdown: stress and breakdowns
Leicester lockdown: disillusionment and anger
Why the Socialist Party is backing Hugo Pierre for Unison general secretary
Nigeria protests: 'This movement needs to fight the whole rotten capitalist system'
Horrific murder in Paris: fight intolerance and racism!
South Africa: Mass day of action for permanent jobs and a living wage
Tories reduce winter homeless funding: reverse the cuts,use the empty homes!
World capitalism's terrified strategists abandon austerity - for now
Test and Trace U-turn on stopping local case reporting
Oxbridge gets private Covid tests: pool resources to test us all!
Millennials disillusioned with 'democracy'
Under the microscope
RMT: Programme to fight redundancies and cuts
Action on Covid transmission in schools now
FCC dismiss Unison activist Tony Smith
Optare workers strike over pay broken 'promise'
Solidarity with Deliveroo Couriers in York
Students: Give us our money back
Fight for your future at the online rally
Southampton: Coxford community condemns racist attack
Socialism 2020: Will you help our finance appeal?
Selling the Socialist: increase in NHS anger
Truth about Zane: Cover-up Tories crack
Kent: Chaotic privatised asylum process
Teignmouth hospital closure threat ... again!
Books that inspired me: For Whom the Bell Tolls
Beware the billionaires bearing gifts
Disabled students let down by "rotten education system"
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