Posted on: 5 May 2020

A patient from one of CNWL’s Rehabilitation services has penned a thought-provoking article on their experience of the lockdown. You can read it in full below.


COVID – 19  —  Year 2020

Consider this: a world consumed, altered and very nearly destroyed by a pandemic. No, this isn’t the plot of a dystopian novel, but the reality of an opening decade on Earth. COVID-19 is terrifying in its reach, its destruction and the cruel and unnerving fact it doesn’t distinguish either the old from the young or the ill from the well. Society has been both disbanded and brought together to wage a war against coronavirus. Shops have shut, businesses have closed and people have retreated into their homes for the long wait for the threat of coronavirus to pass over them. Of course, there is a frontline as there is in any war. This frontline is peopled by the NHS and the other professions needed to prop up society in the face of any pandemic. I have only my own narrow view of this new, surreal world to offer you and I hope it is enough.  I am neither a nurse rushing from one gravely ill patient to the next or a doctor burdened with informing a family that their infected loved one has died. I am merely a human being watching, as every being is, the unfolding of COVID-19 and waiting for its end. 

I have never known such silence. It is both incredibly terrible and so very beautiful. I never noticed birdsong before or how insistent and unending it can be. It gets so quiet now that I think that I can hear the air itself. This quiet might be pretty, but I know that when it lifts that COVID-19 has conceded and humanity has won. I will know that we have conquered as we have conquered history itself before this. I am a patient on a psychiatric ward and the ward has become its own bubble. I am among the same people and I do the same things constantly. This normality and routine causes me to feel safe and secure. I know that coronavirus could find me here as it could find me anywhere, but at once I am certain that it can’t. Having been sectioned and having had my right to come and go independently removed to assure my own safety there is an ease for me in not being able to leave the unit. My relationships with those on the ward with me, both patients and staff, have grown and depended. The outside world has dropped away and has been replaced with endless rounds of cards, the playing of board games and the watching of films. I do miss my family, but I know this absence, regardless of its length, will allow us to be together longer. I don’t miss physical contact though as I have affection shown in eye contact and tone of voice. 

I am not afraid of the future now. Neither war nor famine could scare me as I know that humanity can adjust to and survive anything.