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Sophie blogs about her experiences in these uncertain times.

Sophie Tennison

Hi there, long time no see....

As you know I was at Graeae theatre company as part of the Ensemble. We had just started the 8th week. I think it was going well, I was learning so much. We are on hold for the time being but we are having regular zoom meetings to keep in touch and keep our creativity going because we are eventually going to come out of lockdown.

So, I wanted to do a blog now that everyone's lives have drastically changed. To talk about how, as someone with CVIs, the isolation and lockdown have affected me. I wanted to write something along these lines since the lockdown started and I also got inspiration from my fellow ensemble member Jamie Hale, who did a blog post about how the lockdown has made things accessible for a lot of deaf and disabled people but also not accessible at the same time!

I find zoom, and any types of video calling difficult. The act of multitasking, I guess. Seeing, thinking and hearing. Then having a conversation. If you have met me, for example at the CVI Society Convention you may know I do not really talk to many people, in big groups, in loud places, in busy places. When I'm tired my brain I guess tunes out. For me, video calling is all of that and because I only see a small amount at a time, I cannot see everyone on the screen.
I know you can do the function that you only see the person talking, I know it's weird but I like the aspect of having everyone's faces on the screen otherwise you might only see a couple of faces. It is a bit silly, but it almost makes you feel like everyone is there with you.

Then having a conversation. Knowing when to talk, trying not to interrupt people speaking. It is hard enough when you are in front of people, let alone factoring in internet speeds and delays and people in the house. I have heard the phrase 'zoom fatigue', or 'concentration fatigue'. Very much the case for me. Then and now. Only now I have a nap after the catch ups. :)

Its not all doom and gloom though as I have found that being in the same group helps. You get used to everyone, and things like putting hands up to speak is something I have benefited from. The more times I do it, the more I am able to know what works for me and what does not. Making sure things are accessible. I am working on being brave enough to say it though!

Another thing I wanted to mention is social distancing. Like everything I have said above. I understand why these measures are in place. Why we need social distancing, but I think there could be more consideration for people who might struggle with it. I struggle with judging spacing and not bumping into people in regular times. I think that is partly why I have avoided going out at all, even for the daily exercise.

I must admit I have a lot of nerves and anxiety about what happens after lockdown eases. When we go back to some sort of regularity. I am going to talk about that in a separate blog because I think it's an important issue that will need to be broached in the next steps.

I am really interested to hear how everyone has coped with the lockdown, how they have coped with things like zoom and social distancing. Until next time.

Sophie

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