Everyday, we support young people through emotional crisis and mental chaos… young people like Joe.

21-year-old Joe lives in Young Devon’s Supported Housing, and is a member of the Youth Council team.

In the following article, Joe tells us of his distressing Coronavirus experience (in his own words) and the importance of finding the positives in dark times…

“I will never forget the positive moments I have created following my experience with Coronavirus…”

My week was going well. I had just celebrated my 21st birthday a few weeks beforehand. Life was good and enjoyable again, after spending 3 months in total lockdown with nothing to do and nowhere to go.

And then out of nowhere the symptoms started.

At first, I thought nothing of it. I thought I was having a rough day and had a bit of a cold brewing. But as the day progressed, I could tell something was not quite right… I was burning up, felt like I was going to faint any second and suddenly, I could not taste anything. The immediate fear that strikes you is Coronavirus. But why would I have it? I am a fit, young 21-year-old with minimal health issues, and the only place I have been in the last 2 weeks is shopping. I ordered a home test kit.

2 days passed and I started to feel brighter. My taste returned, but a horrible cough began. A tickly cough, but with a different feel to it… my breathing was getting faster and faster, and I couldn’t catch my breath.

“Finally, the results returned. They said ‘Positive for Coronavirus’… my heart sunk, immediately I was fearful…”

I did not know what to do, what to say or who to even turn to. I just broadcasted it. I screenshotted the email and sent it to my group chat. Everyone saw it, everyone freaked out. But I very much doubt they were as worried as me, or even could understand just how I was feeling.

Immediately my entire household was back in lockdown. Stuck in a room with 4 walls, stuck being unable to see my friends and family again, stuck with myself, with my own thoughts.

Now by this time, professionals were doing their best to try and track where I might have caught the virus. Eventually I found out. It was from a 20-minute walk around a shop. You would not believe it unless you had experienced it yourself. To hear that a brisk walk around a supermarket could result in me having to live with COVID-19 was just too hard to believe but the fact remained that it was true.

“I was told that I would have to keep myself isolated alone for 7 days from when I first felt the symptoms begin. I just knew I would be in for a tough week”

To begin with, it was extremely difficult. There was literally nothing I could do; I could not even leave my bedroom without wearing a protective mask and a pair of gloves to prevent the risk of anyone in my house catching it. Every door handle I touched, every cupboard I opened all had to be wiped down after. I was not allowed to share cutlery or crockery with anyone else. I had to cook last, I had to shower last.

“Thankfully as time moved on, I started to see the positives in being stuck alone in my bedroom. I could use this time wisely to do the things I love, and to complete some goals that I have always wanted to start up and give a go. I found an online course that I could begin immediately, so I enrolled and began studying”

I have always found it helpful with my mental health to read quotes daily to give myself motivation to push through and be positive about my day. I realised that a good way of helping myself to do this would be to print out lots of my favourite quotes and to stick them on my wall and the back of my door so if at any point I am feeling a bit down, I could just look over and read some inspiration.

Some of my favourites that I have found whilst doing this include “An arrow can only be shot by pulling it backward. So when life is dragging you back with difficulties, it means that it’s going to launch you into something great” – this quote gives me massive hope that eventually this will all be over and life will return to how it used to be. It is just the time it will take that I will have to overcome.

I realised that “The key to success is to focus on goals, not obstacles” – another quote that I find extremely helpful and motivational. It is so easy to pick out obstacles when trying to achieve something, but you will be so much more successful if you focus on the goal at the end. Things may get in your way but there will be opportunities for you to overcome them and finally get to that goal at the end. At the end of the day “It is not about perfection; it is about effort”.

“There are the days you struggle and feel that you just need to escape and run away, and it will make everything better… but the truth is that it really will not. I know that I have to push myself, bare it out and always believe that there is light at the end of the tunnel because eventually it will all be over…”

By experiencing such a difficult and puzzling thing, it really shows you just how important social distancing is. Simply by crossing somebody in a supermarket aisle for a matter of seconds or minutes could result in 7 or more days of despair, loneliness and the feeling of being trapped. It has now left me with the fear of going out, especially shopping, as you just do not know how careful other people are being.

“It shows how important it is to protect yourself; in the end it’s not just you it that is impacted, it will be everyone around you, and everyone you live with…”

My 7 days of isolation is up now, and thankfully I am now ‘Negative’.

My constant perseverance and positive attitude has got me to that light at the end of the tunnel that I was talking about earlier. I just have to wait for my household to complete their 14 days of self-isolation to ensure that we are all safe and that we can comfortably return to a better life without frustration, fear and confusion.

“I will never forget the positive moments I have created following my experience with Coronavirus…”

Author: Joe, 21

If you or a young person you know is struggling during this difficult time, please contact us. If you need support, or advice; we are only an email, phone call or text away.

Please see our Coronavirus Service Update for up-to-date details on how to contact us.