Amy’s story: Living in a high-risk household

Amy, 22, a Jigsaw volunteer from Limerick shares her experience of the pandemic.

My experience of the Covid-19 pandemic has been somewhat different to that of my peers, as I am living in a high-risk household. A member of my family is currently undergoing chemotherapy which compromises their health immensely. Because of this, myself and the other members of my family are not only responsible for our own health, but for their health too.

The feeling of responsibility for someone else’s health is a difficult feeling to put into words. I did not feel much pressure and frustration during the first lockdown as everyone was in the same boat. I oddly felt safer and more relaxed knowing that everyone was undertaking the necessary precautions.

Studying at home

Uncertainty around exams and missing out on experiences has left many young people feeling frustrated. Many students can find themselves procrastinating or losing sight of their end goals.

Take comfort in knowing that learning how to self-direct your study is a skill for life.

Below, find a helpful conversation between Evelyn O’Rourke from RTÉ Radio 1 Drive Time’s Study Hub and Jen Trzeciak, eMental Health Manager at Jigsaw, about ways for students to stay motivated to study in a time of uncertainty around exams and school.

Here are some more strategies to help you stay motivated when studying from home:

Starting college in 2021

There’s a big emphasis placed on starting college. It’s a chance to make new friends, pursue your own interests, and increase your independence.

But as with many things in the last 18 months, that experience could be quite different now. The pandemic has changed a lot of ways of life, with one of the biggest impacts being on education.

Colleges are due to open for on-site education in the academic year 2021-2022. Though while some restrictions remain in place, college might still present challenges.

Ask Jigsaw: Lockdown affecting eating habits

I think the lockdown is damaging my eating habits and the way I view myself. I’ve been isolated to my house for weeks now. I’ve felt an extreme hatred towards myself, and it just seems to worsen everyday.

But I feel so awful for upsetting my family, especially my mam, who I know is being really hard on herself because of how I’m behaving.

I really do try to eat and not think about the disordered thoughts, but because I can’t distract myself, I feel sort of trapped with them.

I feel extremely guilty and horrible for adding more stress to my family, but I just can’t do what they’re asking me. I can’t see myself getting better and I feel like such a burden on everyone. I really do wish I could snap my fingers and make everything right, but I can’t. I don’t know what to do, it’s too difficult.


Hi Anna,

I’m sorry to hear that you are going through such an intense experience during an already difficult time. Thoughts about body image can be all consuming, and can have a strong negative effect on our mental health, as you have described.

Ask Jigsaw: Not sure if I am depressed

Hi there.

I am wondering what to do about my current mental health. I am not sure if I’m depressed or overthinking – I no longer enjoy hobbies I used to love, I want to spend all my time alone and find it so hard to get out of bed, because I can’t look forward to anything. I feel guilty for being less involved and kind to my family, and also guilty that if I am not actually depressed I am undermining those who are actually struggling, wasting time of others and opening up to family only to find out I don’t need help.

I cannot remember the last time I was happy. I can’t concentrate at school and keep zoning out, even though I usually do well. I keep feeling like a burden and feel down even when my closest friends text me because I have to put effort into replying. I keep people pleasing but avoiding social interaction when I can.

I can’t really remember when all this started but I don’t know if this is normal for young people, if I should wait to see if it continues, tell my family or go see a doctor. I was hoping this could help me figure out what to do next.



Hi giantflowercat,

Thanks for getting in touch. I’m sorry to hear you are going through a tough time. You sound like a considerate person for not wanting to waste people’s time or undermine people who are struggling, but that’s not the case at all. Life can be hard and you deserve to get support just as much as anyone else. We do hear from a lot of young people who describe feeling this way, so know that you’re not alone.

Self-care during Covid-19

We talk about self-care a lot. But what does it mean?

We’ve had to learn to try and live alongside Covid in the last while. So let’s remind ourselves that these are unusual and challenging times.

As lockdown restrictions continue to be lifted, it’s important to incorporate self-care into our daily routine.

Linda, Jigsaw clinician runs through some ways we can look out for ourselves.

Ask Jigsaw: I’m having trouble communicating

Hello, I’m having trouble communicating and having general conversations with people I know and don’t. Mostly I think it’s the fact that I don’t have anything to share with people that they will find interesting and that makes me feel like I am a boring and plain person. Do you have any advice? 


Hi Alex,

Thank you for your question. A lot of us have experienced difficulties with communication, and the current Covid-19 restrictions don’t help matters! We’re not doing much so we have less news to share, and we’re also a bit out of practice when it comes to socialising.