'Dear World, What A Strange Place You Have Become'
18-year-old student Daisy Davidson explains the thinking behind a website she set up to chronicle people’s feelings of the Coronavirus crisis around the world.
Last month, I set up a website to chronicle the Coronavirus crisis around the globe: ‘Letters to the World‘.
Feelings such as loneliness, anxiety and hopelessness are shared by many of us during these difficult times but sometimes it can be hard to open up to those around us about how we are feeling. While we are encouraged to share our feelings, often the fear of judgment from others can prevent this.
Social media lacks anonymity and sites such as Facebook can be difficult for older people to use. This gave me the idea of creating a simple website for us to share our thoughts during this isolating time anonymously.
On ‘Letters to the World’, anybody can share an open, anonymous letter for others to read. Writing our feelings down can be very therapeutic and easier for some people than having to say how they are out loud. Not only does the website provide a platform for people to open up, it also allows people to gain comfort in the fact that they are not alone.
No email addresses or other personal details are necessary to post a letter on the site – something that can often be a barrier for older people using online sites or those with privacy concerns. The website is translated into 13 languages to make it as accessible as possible.
I have received a lot of positive feedback about ‘Letters to the World’, particularly from medical professionals – a line of work I hope to go into. Healthcare workers have their own area on the website and a common theme amongst the letters posted is gratitude to them and our other key workers. I also created a support page with links to charities that provide support for NHS workers, young people and anybody else struggling with their mental health.
Although this has been a depressing time for many of us, there have been some positives. For example, pollution levels have decreased which hopefully will encourage people in the future to be more aware of the effect their everyday actions have on the environment. The COVID-19 pandemic has given us the time to reflect on the simple but enjoyable things in life which are currently prohibited – such as coffee with a friend or a visit to the beach. Neighbours are getting to know each other more and communities are uniting.
A letter uploaded to the website highlighted this: “There is a lot of light in this world. People are coming together. Reconnecting. Supporting and helping one another. Creating a stronger society.”
As a young person, it has made me more aware of the fact that life doesn’t always go as you expect, but being able to adapt to changes will make you a stronger and more resilient individual.
I hope some of you reading this will feel encouraged to share a letter on my website, however much or however little you would like to write. I would also recommend taking the time to read the letters already on the site, as they can provide comfort.