Last year, liver transplant recipient Valerie shared her thoughts and feelings on shielding and lockdown. For Mental Health Awareness Week, she explains how she's feeling one year on. Thank you Valerie!
"So it is now six years since I had two liver transplants within five days. During the last year, thanks to Covid, I have been shielding when advised to do so due to being in the ‘extremely vulnerable’ group. We have all lived through such a tough time haven’t we?
"I have been very lucky to have at least one of my daughters living at home with me through all of this time. They have played a VERY big part in helping me to get through 😍
"Of course my mental health has suffered over the past year, we have all had to change the way we live so drastically. There certainly have been some down times. I’ve found it really hard to be alone a lot and I find it hard when I sometimes feel like I have ‘no use’ when everyone else is busy out doing their jobs and I am just at home.
How I coped
"The way I coped was that I tried to keep myself busy throughout all of the lockdowns, in my garden when the weather has allowed, sorting out my clothes and ‘junk’ which I donated to various charity shops. I’ve done jigsaw puzzles, knitting, cake making and of course lots of walking (which I love to do regularly anyway) with one of my daughters or various friends when we were allowed. I have had lots of nice times too.
"I know it’s tricky, but that is my advice to others living with their own liver conditions who are maybe feeling unwell or down, is to just try even the smallest thing to try and keep the mind occupied.
"I have recently gone back to my work in a local supermarket. I would say that on some days my mental health is fragile now but I hope it will improve as I gradually start to try and get a bit of normal life back. I will always try my best to look forward to the future that my two donors and their families have given me.
"Have a read of my blog www.mylovelyliver.co.uk to see more of what I have got up to during the past year 🙂."