Voices from the UK's pulmonary hypertension community

I couldn’t switch off from work because it was in the house

Lou Chadburn, 42, lives in Mansfield and was diagnosed with chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension (CTEPH) in 2012. She was working full time in customer service support when the pandemic began.

“I’d say the last couple of years have been very difficult mental health-wise. I had to start working from home before anyone else, and that was a big change and a big challenge. 

My employers were very understanding and knew that I was vulnerable so they were the first ones to highlight that I should work from home for my own safety.

I also felt isolated, because my parents (who live with us) are retired and my husband was furloughed, so they would all be sitting in the garden while I was sitting at my computer working.

I had some counselling to help me with the work stress. I was getting emails constantly and I couldn’t cope with answering them all, and I couldn’t switch off from work because it was in the house all the time. 

The counselling helped me recognise that I can’t do everything for everybody and to just take it one step at a time. And although it was hard, I did learn eventually to switch off. 

I initially wasn’t too worried about covid because I didn’t know much about it, but the more I watched the news, the more scared I became. I would say that at one point I was obsessed with the news, and so I stopped watching it and noticed a difference in my wellbeing. 

My parents had lived with us for about five years before the pandemic began and being all together in the house for so long did mean there were some difficult days, with some tensions, but we didn’t have any major fallouts.

And in some ways, it brought us all closer together. We appreciated each other’s values, and when we needed our own space.

During the lockdowns we did jigsaws, puzzles, played games, and even did hopscotch once in the backyard. We tried to entertain ourselves as much as we could. When I was allowed, I did quite a lot of walking too. 

My husband Tony was very good and understanding. He took on the role of going out to get the food shopping, and anything else we needed. When he went back to work as a painter and decorator, he did worry about coming home to us because he had been in people’s houses. 

None of us questioned whether or not to have the vaccines when the breakthrough came, and we’ve had everything we can. Although we still don’t go out as much as before, I’m partly back in the office but do work from home on a few days and we are happy as we are at the moment.”

~Lou told her story to the PHA UK in the summer of 2022~


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