Experiences of 2020

Raissa - Creative Designer

"Hello, I’m Raissa.

I’ve lived in Scotland for two years and I’m a creative designer. I run my own studio, something that can be very difficult during times like this. The most awkward part of my job is dealing with design projects and constantly feeding my clients with creative solutions. Some clients are more understanding than others, but some seem to only see their own side of this crisis, which has left me with lots of anxiety.

What I find hard is how quickly people have changed towards me, how much they expect from me, how much quicker they want the same job done, how demanding and very un-polite some of them have become towards me. Not everyone feels productive and not everyone will react to this crisis in the same way. No judgment should come from our community, but strength and understanding to make us better day by day.

I’m lucky because I’m still working, I have worked night and day in the past two years and I have savings in the bank that allow me to not panic. My family is in Italy and has been in lockdown for more than a month now. I have been living far from home for ten years. It’s always easy to be away from our families when everything is doing fine, but now it feels like the most difficult thing for me. I can’t stay focussed when I’m feeling so uncertain about when I’ll be seeing them again and when I can finally go visit them in person.

After a few weeks of struggling, I had a couple of bad events. I realised my mental health was hitting harder than I thought. I struggled to even walk outside without panicking. I felt guilty calling the NHS and asking for help, knowing they are working tirelessly to give the virus patients a bed and care. I called my GP and they prescribed me medication that has helped me in the last week.

Motivation comes in really small doses right now which is very frustrating, knowing I’m creative by nature and rely on this for work on a daily basis. There isn’t much I can do other than keep myself fit and try eating the right food. I feel like both women and men are being affected massively by their mental health. Some will be open about it, some will recognise the problem and some others will be quiet, thinking that it will go away. It’s important that we all acknowledge what’s going on and we ask for help, now more than ever.

There are going to be a lot of ups and downs from now on, since we got over the first couple of weeks and we now enter into a darker stage of isolation. The only thing that will keep us going will be reaching out to others, let them know we love them. Treat yourself without judgement, take a little time every day to learn something you’ve wanted to for a long time. But also allow yourself to do absolutely nothing, if that’s what your body is telling you to do. Let’s be kind to each other - now we need to see some humanity and believe that all of us have something good in our hearts."