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We Are Not All In This Together

May 23, 2020

I am so angry I have tears in my eyes as I write this.  I am so frustrated, upset, depressed (my clinical depression is worsening) and I do not see an end to this Covid-19 shielding position I am forced into because I had the ‘luck’ to be diagnosed with a blood cancer six years ago.

I locked down on 18th March 2020.  I have been outside three times since, each time to visit the hospital either for a blood test or my six-weekly appointment.  In October 2019 I was told that treatment was ‘imminent’ but since then I’ve been in a holding pattern.  My life consists of six weekly chunks in which I can make plans but at the moment there are no plans to be made anyway.

At first the shielding was fine; I have two chronic pain conditions which mean I’m often stuck in the flat so I have hobbies I can do from home.  With everyone in lockdown it meant at least there was a sense of social empathy, that we were as a community, as a country, coming together to beat something that is hurting and killing indiscriminately.

Not any more though.  We are not in this together.  Some of us are reliant on the choices made by the health-privileged to survive.  The decisions being made by government are for economic reasons, not health reasons.  They are choosing profit over people and the money-oriented media is encouraging this.  The science shows we are not ready yet to open schools and businesses that are not essential, yet we are being told that 1st June 2020 will be the date the petri-dishes of bacterial and viral transporters that are small children are to return to school.  Good luck socially distancing 4 and 5 year old children.

People are out in parks, on beaches, travelling 250 miles on roads to see family (I see you Demonic Cumming*), in shops, passing close by each other, risking passing all manner of infection to each other.

No, we are not in it together.

covid risk assessment

I’m in the almost certain/catastrophic category.

I see the most extremely vulnerable people in society, of which I am one, terrified about the future.  Making decisions to break shielding because what’s the point really?  No-one else is taking care, this infection is going to be around forever, and if we do what we need to do to stay healthy, to not be a terrible burden on the NHS, not to die, we will be shielding forever.  I do not see me being able to leave the flat and be in company until 2021 and possibly beyond.  I live in a city and rely on public transport.

I’ve been thinking seriously about what that might entail.  My employer can’t keep my job open forever, and my position involves meeting new clients face-to-face, which I cannot do.  I have been thinking about what it would mean to have to go on long-term sick pay.  What it would mean to be made redundant.  What it would mean to medically retire at my age (under 50-I’ve already checked and could not get the state pension until retirement age anyway).  How that would any of this affect my relationship.  How it would affect my lifestyle.  How that would affect our ability to feed, clothe and home ourselves.  I’m the main income earner (by choice and after discussion, my Sooterkin™ and I have an equal partnership) in a job I love that I have been unable to do fully since I entered lockdown.  Would he be better off without me?  At the moment, I am thinking yes.

All this because no, we are not in it together.  Some of us are in it more.  Some of us rely on you to make good choices, including the government.

Some of us know those choices mean that we are considered collateral damage, and that hurts.  I am a person people would choose to die so that they can get on with their lives, their socialising and their jobs with no further thought.

I wish I lived in New Zealand.  Sometimes I wish I wasn’t alive.  Then I would not have to deal with the loss of my hope that I have worked on forever.  I would not have to deal with the destruction of my believe in the innate goodness of the majority of people to care.

Because I don’t believe it any more.  Because we are not all in this together.  And it hurts.


*Dominic Cummings, unelected advisor to the PM and Cabinet


From → Autobiography

  1. They are choosing profit, no? over people?

    All my sympathies Tina. I for one wouldn’ choose you to die. you’ve been such a light in my life. I still quote you on legal wisdom.

    Please don’t let this get down on you. Please enjoy the coziness of not needing to venture out of your flat ..

    If your employer is a decent one, they will provide for work-from-home or proper caring facilities so that you all can preactice ‘social distance’ at work. Hopefully 😉

    I think you are worrying too much about a ‘reduncancy’ that, from what you say, hasn’t even appear to be happening yet. Let whatever papers need to come, arrive. Then worry. or tell us about it. Which I hope you do! But I very much doubt that you will be made that. Even with the ‘disadvantages’ of employing you, I do get the impression your expertise and know-how is a gem in your profession.

    All the best


    • Thank you Ana, it’s tough to be positive at the moment. I too still refer to your book Bearing Witness all the time and it guides me in my activism. Bearing witness is what we in privileged positions MUST do! X

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