Life in Lockdown with Calvin

As part of our Life in Lockdown campaign, Calvin shares their experience and the impact the pandemic has had on their mental health.

As soon as the lockdown was announced the café that I work in closed immediately…

…but I was fortunate enough to be furloughed and my boss organised all of the furlough admin for staff so that side of it was pretty stress-free for me. 

I had been rather unwell mentally in January and was suicidal in February so my friends were concerned about how I was going to cope mentally during lockdown.

“Suffering from depression can sometimes make you isolate yourself for days so in that regard I had already rehearsed lockdown multiple times.”

I’m undergoing intensive psychoanalytical psychotherapy, three times a week on the NHS and this had to be reorganised to twice a week with appointments carried out over the phone. This has worked really well for me and I still feel like I’m getting full support from that service. 

I speak German and one of my friends is German and we were both keeping abreast of events in Germany and Europe who in March were a few weeks ahead of the curve in UK, and it appeared that face masks were going to become essential to daily life.

Austria and Slovakia made face masks mandatory in all public places in March. My friend found a DIY mask tutorial on a German website and suggested that I should start making them, which I did.

At the last count, I have made 144 masks

I’ve been really thankful for the work as it occupied my mind greatly during the full lockdown, and helped to alleviate the massive mood swings that lockdown was causing. It also helped to calm my anxiety as I had been unable to sleep from becoming overwhelmed with news at the start of the crisis.

I feel somewhat guilty as I really feel like I had the chance to flourish during full lockdown. My therapist and I have identified that most of the time I suffer from a great deal of shame, in a small part due to my sexuality.

Growing up in a working-class environment in the North East of England during the ‘90s meant that I didn’t have a positive view of myself when I realised I was gay. The feeling of shame is omnipresent but not always intense, but upon the start of lockdown, because I knew that everyone was in the same boat as me and that also there was no one physically outside as much I felt liberated and that I could finally do all the things I wanted to.

Some of them really small like trying out having a shaved head, which like many other people I did immediately as I was already overdue a haircut. It also freed up my mind to seriously start getting back on track for my career and ambitions for my life.

Support networks available

If you’ve been impacted by any of the topics covered in this story, please reach out to some of our friends who will be able to help.

Life in Lockdown brought together with support from Haydn Brown Photography and DW Media

We know that COVID-19 and global pandemic has impacted the community in many different ways. From key working to homeschooling, to being furloughed or education being moved online. Some of our LGBTQ+ community have found it harder than most. The community can sometimes be the family we chose, and we may be isolating alone or away from our support network. We also may be living in hostile environments where we are hiding our true identity to remain safe. We think that it’s important to reflect and remember this moment in our history and highlight the challenges we’ve had to overcome Find out more and apply to take part: