Almost two years of pandemic lockdowns and coronavirus restrictions have put a strain on many people’s mental health. We are all experiencing a different pandemic. Some experience the loss of a loved one, miss friends or family; others lost their workplace security and feel lonely, stressed and uncertain about the future. Now, more than ever, our mental health matters.
Many found it hard to cope with the grief and isolation. A lot of young people missed out on formative life experiences, such as transitioning to school or university. COVID-19 restrictions and isolation measures led to loneliness, loss, and disconnection. And the saddest part is, the psychological impact of the pandemic will likely linger for years.
But the question we’ve got to ask ourselves is what can we do to make things better? Well, that’s where Svetislav, Zoe, and Andrew come in.
They thought a lot about how they can contribute and what can they do to help people share their feelings and unburden themselves. And then they created lockdownstories.me.
So, what is exactly lockdownstories.me?
It’s practically a lockdown journal where you can share anything you like. And you can do that anonymously.
You can share what you miss the most. You can embrace the grief over your losses and open up about your feelings of isolation. Or, you can talk about the things you don’t feel comfortable sharing with people around you. It is a platform that serves as a safe place where you can connect and share your pandemic experiences.
Or, in the words of its creators:
“As our governments focus on the physical, economic, and political aspects of this pandemic, we thought that our hearts might need a safe harbor in the storm. This is why we created Lockdown Stories, so that people can come together out of isolation and separation into connection and community again – a community created around our mutual lockdown pain.”
How does it work?
It’s pretty simple. You click on the little icon that says share your story. And you write. A sentence or two. Or a whole paragraph if you want. You can go up to 3500 characters.
If you wish, you can name your story. And that’s not even the best part. You get to click one of the emojis (happy, confused, sad, worried, shocked) and show how you feel about the story you shared. You also have an option to list your story into one of the categories and say what it is about. Is it about work, children, family and friends, dating, mental health, travel, or other.
You can read other people’s lockdown stories and comment on them if you want. Or, you can just leave an “I feel you”, “Same here” or “Made me laugh” by clicking on one of the reactions offered.
Sadness, shock, joy, laughter, worry, grief, lust, frustration, shame, tenderness… all are welcome here!
Now, to answer some of the most common questions.
How is this platform different from, let’s say: Facebook?
This is a community created solely for sharing lockdown experiences.
It’s a global focal point for sharing how we feel around the events linked to the pandemic, and around the mutual lockdown pain. And it’s, therefore, pretty unique.
It is not one of many social media platforms where you can get into an argument with a total stranger, or a place where your heartfelt confession gets lost in the sea of selfies, memes, and people’s very particular, and somewhat strange taste for music.
We repeat – it is a safe place. A place created solely for one purpose: sharing lockdown experiences. The idea behind it was to create a place where you won’t be judged and where a lot of people sharing stories have experienced similar things.
From United Kingdom to New Zealand
One of many great things about this lockdown journal is that people all around the world can and should participate in sharing their experiences. In fact, a lot of them have already.
There are stories from 16 countries so far! United Kingdom, Ireland, United States, Canada, Sweden, Montenegro, Belgium, Greece, Italy, Poland, Serbia, Romania, Columbia, Cayman Islands, Australia, and New Zealand.
Some of the entries are funny, like when a senior colleague stands up to get some water, inadvertently revealing he’s wearing red underwear with white bunnies – on a company Zoom call! There have been a lot of stories about not wanting to go back to the office. People love checking emails from their beds. Can’t blame them. (We’ve all been there.)
Other people are nervous about booking a holiday or wonder what the new mask etiquette is these days. Some say their lives were barely affected, others admit to hitting the bottle or worse. Almost everyone tried not reading or watching the news, especially when the Second and the Third Wave of Corona hit. It did not help.
And, yes, it’s official – we’ve all watched everything that’s on Netflix.
Some of us even tried learning a new language, doing yoga, or finally writing a book. But the truth is, it wasn’t as easy as binging a true-crime documentary about a Tiger King. And we weren’t as hooked as we were while watching a South Korean survival drama called Squid Game. (Just facts.)
It’s been hard for all of us. Since the sudden outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, we’ve been riding through the whole scale of human emotions. There’s been confusion and shock, then sadness, denial. We’ve all been there.
Still, the most disturbing feeling we’ve experienced is that of disconnection.
On World Mental Health Day we’d like to raise awareness of mental health issues and encourage you to share your experience in this lockdown journal. To talk with people around you, to exchange your experiences.
Svetislav, Zoe, and Andrew hope that the Lockdown Stories will one day serve as a historical record. Perhaps some of the stories will be published in a book or form the basis for a movie or maybe a Netflix show.
But right now, they are just happy to be there for you and they want to hear your lockdown story.