As part of our Mind Yer ‘Ed series, Ed Seager from Tameside tells us he has a new-found appreciation for the people around him since the coronavirus outbreak. Here he shares his experience of the pandemic and how he re-ignited his passion for wildlife and writing to cope.
“I’ve always been very self-contained but the virus was been a wake-up call. It made me realise people are a lot more precious than we think and it feels strange when you can’t meet those people. You felt like Robinson Crusoe.
“The social isolation I felt has been quite profound. I live on my own and before the lockdown, I didn’t realise how lucky I was to have a strong network of friends. Now I realise, they’re part of my wellbeing.
“It’s vital to stay connected and occupied, so I am keeping in touch with those friends from the Out In The City group, which is a lifeline. I had a terrible time coming out, it was a nightmare, but as I have got to know the group over the past two years, I’ve felt considerably more comfortable in myself and realised there are people out there like me who have had a bit of a rough ride.
“Going for a walk and being outside has been incredibly therapeutic. I’ve always been an outdoors person and psychologically, it’s always helped. I’ve always been interested in nature, and I guess I’m quite lucky I can go to Daisy Nook Country Park and see lots of different wildlife. That deep connection with nature I’ve had since I was a kid is a real treasure right now.
“I have also been coping with writing, I have always enjoyed it, and I am doing more now than I’ve ever done before, including on a Facebook group I set up last year, called The Mental Health Recovery Fund. It aims to address the impact of poverty and mental distress, both of which have affected me. I’m really passionate about the project.
“I used to be a social worker before retiring at the age of 41 due to medical reasons. But I think once you’re a social worker, you never stop being one. I’ve never liked injustice and suffering, I’ve been like that since I was a child.”
For more information on how you can keep well in both body and mind, get advice from Independent Age here.