Talking About My Generation was started as a campaign so people aged 50 and over from across Greater Manchester could change the record on what it means to grow older in the region.
One of the projects is the Mind Yer ‘Ed series and members of Out in The City have been interviewed. Here are a couple more of the interviews:
Norman Walsh, 65, shares his experience of the coronavirus pandemic and the serious mental challenges of lockdown. Norman, from Bury, found a place of his own to live in last year after coming out of prison in 2015, and said his friends and poetry helped him pull through depression and loneliness.
“I’ve felt very isolated during the pandemic. I have a PlayStation here but you soon get bored of just being on that and I’ve found it really difficult. I was on the maximum dosage of anti-depressants between October and November 2019 and when I moved into my new place, they started to wean me off to the minimum dosage. When the pandemic came, I went off my trolley again.”
“In September I contemplated suicide but luckily my friends got me through that. I don’t know how I survived doing what I did. One night, I took an overdose that would have been enough to kill three people but I woke up the next morning. I took that as a sign.”
“My friends have been solid rocks for me. My partner, Stuart, and nephew, Stephen, are in the same bubble and we see each other two or three times a week. Stephen is a bit like a brother to me.”
“I made my other friends during a short time as a chef at the Mustard Tree and through Manchester Street Poem. Street Poem is about creating awareness of marginalised people and offering them a chance to share their stories through art. It’s about letting you know that you might be in a low place now, but things are going to get better. We have meetings every week on Zoom and it always cheers me up to see everyone from there.”
“I love creative writing and I’ve turned my hand to poetry and making a few stories but it’s all for my own benefit, really. Sharing worries in that way feels like you’re getting a weight off your shoulders and I’ve shared my story with so many people now and it really does make you feel better.”
“September was the lowest point of my life, but I’m getting there slowly. I do feel really cheerful at the moment and I don’t feel like I miss my family as much as I normally do during the Christmas period. I always hope that my kids will come and visit me eventually. It’s been about nine years since I saw them. They could come and knock on my door right now and I’d welcome them with open arms. They’re my kids for God’s sake, but if they don’t come, they don’t come and I’m learning to live with it now.”
“I think I’ve learnt that I’m more vulnerable than I thought I was. Being in prison and being on my own for those years taught me to deal with my own company. I felt like I had no control in prison, I had to be there. I’m a free man now and what I do is up to me, but the government are telling me to stay indoors.”
“When I wasn’t free, I wasn’t bothered, but now that I am, I want to get out there. I’m back on to half dosage of the anti-depressants and I feel okay right now. I’m sleeping much better and my resilience has improved loads since September. I’m feeling very positive for the future.”
Chris Nicholson, 53, from Salford says he is finding isolation and anxiety during the coronavirus pandemic a real challenge during the winter months, but his pet rabbit, Mitzy, has helped him to get through it.
“I’ve had a few medical issues and I am in the vulnerable category. I haven’t had to shield but I’ve had to be extra careful and I’m petrified of getting too close to people.”
“After we went into the local lockdown, I started getting very lonely and I’m even more so now because I’m working from home. I really have to push myself to go to the supermarket and I don’t want to be near people because I’m so scared to death of catching anything.”
“I’m very isolated because I live on my own. I work full-time in HR at the moment and working from home is hard.”
“However, it does have its benefits, like not having to commute. Because you’re not going out of the house to the office you’ve got to try and push yourself that bit harder to have a ten-minute walk around the block.”
“Before Manchester went into local lockdown, I was having people coming round to sit in the garden and I was able to meet friends outside. I also went to the Out In The City group three or four times before everything had to stop, so I was managing to get out and see people. That period wasn’t too bad. I was getting out for walks and getting fresh air.”
“When the local lockdown did hit, I felt very anxious and cut-off. A lot of my friends had already formed bubbles with their family or partners and I felt completely cut-off.”
“I’ve got my rabbit, Mitzy, here with me. She keeps me sane and I have her hopping around the house.”
“I took her to the vets the other day and I don’t think she was too happy about it. She just sulked and wouldn’t come up to me but after about two hours she was back to her old self, begging for treats and things. She’s very entertaining.”
“She’s got a hut outside but she hasn’t used it for about four and a half years and she’s got a hutch inside but she doesn’t really use that either. She has a litter tray in the living room and she has free roam in there. She sometimes sleeps on the sofa but I don’t let her anywhere else.”
“She hops through the kitchen into the garden or escapes into the hallway and I’ll be wondering where she is and I’ll hear this scratching on the door. Rabbits are funny and having that little furry friend in Mitzy to keep me company has really helped me get through all this.”
Share YOUR Views on the NHS Covid-19 Vaccine
Carl Austin-Behan as the LGBTQ+ Advisor to the Mayor of Greater Manchester, and LGBT Foundation are carrying out a survey to better understand LGBT people’s views on the Covid-19 vaccine.
Information you choose to share may be used in policy and research documents which will be publicised. However, you will not be identified. All questions are optional. The survey should only take 5 minutes. Thank you.
If you have any questions regarding the survey or would like to provide any further feedback, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Virtual Rainbow Death Cafe
15th February 2021, online, 4.00pm – 5.00pm
A chance to talk openly about death and dying in a relaxed, LGBT-friendly online group space. Find out more about the Death Cafe movement and book free tickets to this event here.
Tickets are free and a link to access this event will be sent to you on the day. Spaces limited to 12 per session, please book early.
This event will be hosted on Zoom (video conferencing application). Please email email@example.com if you have any questions about connecting or additional access requirements for this session.
This event is presented by the Pride in Ageing programme at LGBT Foundation. Find out more about our other events here: https://lgbt.foundation/prideinageing