After the Prime Minister announced the UK would implement an enforced lock-down on Monday the 23rd March, a World Health Organisation study found that that the number of people experiencing anxiety and depression had doubled to around a third of us. I was one of these people.
I live in a house in Leeds shared by four students from four very different backgrounds, with different political views and our own set of unique fundamental concerns and personal issues. To some, this would sound like a nightmare but until recently this was a dynamic that worked well for all of us.
Like many households, the lock-down has forced us all into a position of spending a lot more time together under a very new routine, and the uncertainty of the situation surrounding the Coronavirus pandemic has meant that everyone had their own personal concerns.
Existing personal issues had compounded to a point where it was no longer a healthy environment for half of my household to stay, and I was the second housemate to leave the Big Brother house.
My decision to leave Leeds for somewhere quieter to isolate was made when a broad daylight stabbing occurred on the street next to mine, hours after the enforced lock-down and increased police presence were announced.
Because of the same family dynamics that prevented me from travelling home to North Wales during this crisis, the SOS call I made was not to my parents, but the family of a childhood friend. A family with whom I have spent Christmas and holidays for the last five years, and am blessed to be considered a part of.
This is not a decision I made lightly. With a round-trip of nearly 800 miles and eleven hours of driving, this was a huge ask. But Tash and Paul have seen me through many-a-low-point during my adult life and have learnt to see the signs of when I need to be at home with my family. At around 5:30 pm on Tuesday evening I got the call telling me to pack a bag, and that they would be with me in the early hours of the next morning.
The situation in both my old and new hometowns in North Wales and Cornwall is that they have seen an influx of tourists and holiday-home owners fleeing the cities and putting an immense pressure on the small, rural shops, pharmacies and hospitals. So much so, that police have set up a checkpoint on the bridge to the island were I was born and raised and are turning families around to travel back over the border.
This was why my family decided to travel overnight, with the hopes of avoiding as much of the police presence as possible. Living in rural area, where the 1.65 million population is policed by around 3,000 Devon & Cornwall police officers, the prospect of heading to a heavily policed city during an enforced lock-down was daunting to Tash & Paul.
As a family of seasoned bikers and festival travellers, we have clocked a strong mileage on UK roads between us. However, none of us had ever experienced the roads this free of traffic. Over three hundred and eighty miles, I counted sixty-eight lorries and twenty-seven cars, 6 of which were police vehicles.