I’ve been trying to put it to the back of my mind a lot, but this evening, whilst on a video call with my Mum she bought up the fact I was on my own. She asked how long I’d been on my own now, who the last person was I saw and about how long it’s going to be before I see anyone again. I had to end the call, tell her I couldn’t talk about it anymore and that I’d talk to her tomorrow. Of course, she hadn’t done this to hurt me, she’d just been looking for things to talk about and during this time of social distancing, everyone is slowly running out of things to talk about.
So here’s the deal. I have now been social distancing for 2 weeks, with the only exception being teaching my final drama class last week. Looking forward for the next three months all I can see is me in this flat, still a tiny studio apartment, though overwhelmingly home. I will have no physical contact with anyone during that time as I live alone. Me and my partner split up after 2 and a half years last summer and even if we were together I doubt he would stay here during the outbreak. So, I sit, I sleep, I try to craft as much as possible, I’ve found if I do something crafty and creative, I’m more likely to be able to go about my day as usual. But the hard cold fact still remains, I’m alone, again. A common thread to my irony filled life.
I can’t let myself think about it too much, I’ll collapse, my anxiety will fill me, I can’t let that happen. Right now, we should all be allowed a day when we’re just not able to get up, where the comfort of our own duvets is overwhelming. The trauma that is present in all of our lives right now is compelling. The mental health provision that is going to have to be provided to the western world going forward could be on a large scale.
Everyone is being told to keep to a schedule right now, to keep your body doing things in a certain order to feel like it’s all ok. I tried this. It made me worse. I’m not someone to do things to schedule, I’m spontaneous and creative and I do things when the wind takes me. So my schedule tends to look something like: Wake up at 8am, eat, shower if you have the energy, think about working, don’t work, do a creative activity, think about work again, actually do something small (a single task), eat, eat some more, be guilty you ate all the snacks you have when there is a quarantine. Stress nap (aka a nap bought on by the state of the current world that blocks out all the craziness and allows you to just escape for a little bit, if not too long). Then eat, talk to friends on video call, become the person who checks in on people whilst simultaneously just wanting someone to talk to ANYONE. Try to get to bed by 10pm, play games on my tablet, sleep or stay awake until 2am because my anxiety often stops me sleeping. – All can be done in an unspecified order throughout the day.
It’s not going to be easy and by all accounts this is probably going to last another 2 and a half months, but the important thing is to just keep going. Do the next day and work hard to make shit happen when all of this has blown over.
Alone is advantageous in a pandemic.