James & Michelle’s story
James and I have been in a relationship for 3 years.
We would usually see each other 3 or 4 times a week, and we go on holiday and day trips together, just the two of us quite a few times through the year.
We don’t live together, so we’ve not been able to see each other since lockdown, which is hard.
I live with my parents, and James lives usually lives in a community living house. James temporarily moved back in with his Mum before lockdown because he and his Mum were worried that James might not be able to access what he needed to during lockdown.
James and I have been talking on messenger video chat a few times every day during lockdown, but it’s not the same as seeing each other. We’re managing, but I have had a little cry at times. Our routines have been disrupted but we’re managing and mostly staying positive.
We’ve been keeping busy with our local self-advocacy network, and have been helping members to stay connected through using Zoom for some group chats and meetings.
We’ve found that members who do not usually use social media to link up with us have been joining in too. It’s good that during this difficult time people with learning disabilities are trying new thigs to stay connected and are learning new skills.
It has been a bit tricky for some members who live in care homes to join in with our group meetings and chats. Some members are not allowed access to the internet as the internet is available to staff only. James and I helped to write a letter to those care homes. It’s so important for people’s mental health and wellbeing, to be able to stay connected right now. We think that having access to the internet is the only way to do that at this difficult time.
Social media is playing such a big part in in people’s lives right now, so having the choice about having access to the internet is so crucial.