Facing the Challenges Together!
The theme for Scottish Learning Disability Week (10th May to 16th May) this year is Relationships and the focus of Wednesday’s discussions is about the challenges we can face when we are in a relationship.
During one of the biggest challenges we have all had to face in the past year, staff in our Badenoch & Strathspey Outreach Service have been supporting Debbie to maintain her relationship with Adam by helping them to keep in touch digitally and see each other when restrictions eased. Their long distance relationship was already a challenge for them but as they both lived in different local authority areas, lockdown was particularly hard to understand and cope with.
Below Debbie and Adam tell us, in their own words, what the past year has been like for them.
"Hi, my name is Debbie and I have been in a relationship with Adam for just over a year and a half. Adam lives in Inverurie in Aberdeenshire and I live in Aviemore, Inverness-shire.
Having a happy long-distance relationship has been difficult. We had lots of struggles being able to see each other before Covid as Adam only has every second weekend off from his job as a bakery manager and I have recently started a new job which makes it even more difficult.
Adam has a car and before lockdown he would visit every two weeks for the weekend. We both enjoyed going to bingo, shopping, going for a drive in the car, going out for meals and cooking meals in the house.
Since Covid started we have only been able to see each other a couple of times when restrictions lifted last year. We were not able to see each other between November and April. We did hope to see each other at Christmas but lockdown happened again, and we were unable to do this. I felt really upset and disappointed that I was unable to see Adam as I miss him very much.
As I am subject to a Guardianship Order this has been even more difficult because I do not feel I have been supported enough by my Guardian to form a bubble to see Adam when it might have been possible?
My support workers have helped me see him recently since the lockdown rules changed again and we do manage to speak to each other 3 or 4 times a day which is good, but we would love to be able to spend more time together and be able to plan things to do when he visits.
We have planned to hopefully go away in May for my birthday if restrictions will allow us to".
"We had only been going out for a few months when news of the first lockdown came about, being in a long distance relationship this was not the news I wanted to hear as it bought about a lot of questions. When will we get to see each other again?
Being in lockdown meant we have found different ways of spending time together - cooking over facetime and playing couples quizzes. Lockdown has meant that communication has been a key part of the relationship, understanding how each other is feeling, how much we are missing each other and how our day has been.
Being in a long distance relationship has been really tough as you miss all the usual things you take for granted - a hug, a cuddle, spending time together and walking the dog together.
Seeing other people flouting / breaking lockdown rules has been one of the things that has really annoyed me as all through the pandemic. As a fulltime Key Worker I have had to leave the house every day. I have stuck to all the rules to ensure we can get back to normal and see each other quicker and seeing others break them is extremely frustrating as this has meant multiple times we have been kept apart now. In 18 months of being together we have been kept apart for 8 months, missing both our 30th Birthdays together, Valentines, Christmas and New Year".
Debbie and Adam are delighted that restrictions have eased. This meant that Adam was able to visit Debbie last week and spend the week with her. They had a great time with a couple of nice days out at the beach with Debbie’s dog ‘Gizmo’. Support staff kept in touch and popped in to visit them to see that they were doing well!