Lockdown Diaries

– Written by our Youth Volunteers for BBC Children in Need.

Tara, Age 18

Everything felt a little foggy when I woke up this morning; I hadn’t really slept very well last night. Usually I push myself to get up and exercise straight away, it gives me motivation to get dressed and on with my day – but today just felt a little different. I wasn’t really thinking straight and I felt a little shakey; I kept getting emotional over things I never usually do. All week I’d been crying and feeling low and so I gave myself a day to recharge; have a pyjama day and do some doodles.

I sat up in bed, plugged my Alexa in and put on my favourite playlist. The sound of Lucy Spraggan ‘Last Night’ filled my room and I started drawing Tinkerbell; colouring her in as I sung along with Lucy. I then decided I was gonna climb back into bed and just scroll through TikTok – it’s not the most productive use of my time but it cheers me up and the creativity of some people really inspires me to try and take photos on my daily walk or be a little more adventurous with my art.

Then I did some exercise, I’ve been enjoying seeing if I can do a series of exercises to at least one song once a day; there are days where I really don’t feel up to it but there’s a sense of achievement at the end of the day when I know I’ve managed it – 5 days in and I’m feeling good! And then back to bed I went. It’s not the best thing but sometimes you need a day to recharge a little, I went downstairs to make a coffee and came back up to listen to more Lucy Spraggan and play with dogs – they never fail to make me smile.

I didn’t go out today, and sometimes I just have to take a moment to tell myself that’s okay! At the start of lockdown I found myself wanting to walk for a full hour everyday just to show I could; now I take it at my pace and if I only go out for a 10 minute walk then I’m still doing great!

Ama,  Age 18:

On Tuesday, I went to run some errands because my mum and sister can’t go out. I go to the shops once a week and the bank every two weeks. Usually, if i havent had to wait too long in the queue i’m fine, but if i’m waiting a while my anxiety builds up and I become more panicked. 

This week I’d already been to the bank and waited an hour in the queue, then just before I got to the machine it jammed so i had to go to the counter. I always feel judged for my age and dealing with large amounts of money so it panicked me having to go up. 

On the bus to the shops there was a drunk man, who was acting out and he scared me. I had to then wait an hour and a half in the queue. I could feel my panic attack coming on and my breathing was getting heavier. I didn’t have anything to fiddle with e.g. a pen so i was tapping/hitting my leg. A couple behind me noticed and made comments which i could hear, which made me feel worse. By the time i was at the front the queue had doubled and I realised i didn’t have a trolley. The security guard saw me and realised I was panicking and he asked me if i needed help. So I managed to get a trolley. 

The shop was really full and there was loads of people and i don’t like crowds. I managed to hold off having an attack.  Normally i’d have the panic attack within ten minutes but I was able to keep myself calm enough. To do this I just called my mum about the shopping list and focused on what I needed to do. I’m really proud of myself for that.

I took a cab home and when I got home, my mum told my sister to leave me alone for a bit and I started drawing lines on paper to calm myself down. 

I’ve being doing some renovations and DIY at home, it’s been stopping me from going on the news and looking at figures. At the beginning i was constantly looking at the news out of habit and as the deaths were going up it was making me freak out. I had to find a way to distract myself from my phone and computer, so I’ve been helping with decorating the room, cooking, anything really to get away from it. 

I’ve also been writing a few songs but i don’t have any of my instruments. I don’t have my instruments with me as they’re at my mums (i’m staying at my dads where there’s more space) but at the moment vocals will do. I find writing and singing a real relief, i don’t show them to anyone they’re really personal. I use lyrics like a journal, to express everything that’s happening to me/ i’m feeling in song form.

Being involved in wish gives me something to do and to look forward to, I spoke on a panel at a conference a few weeks ago and we’ve been doing lockdown creative sessions and i’m finding them quite nice. Peer support is something that i know will happen and be there every week, its gives me some peace to know that i’ll have communication and a space to let off steam without feeling like a burden. 

These pieces were written in partnership with BBC Children in Need.