When I left the house the Sunday before last it was the first time I’d been out properly in over a week. I went for a short walk with P and Arwen, the dog, on an isolated rural road where social distancing was easy to do. I tweeted afterwards that my mood improved immediately.
These are strange times for everyone and the longer this situation lasts the more I worry about the impact it will have on our collective mental health.
The medication I take to treat my arthritis means that I am immunocompromised, so I was staying indoors as much as possible. I’m lucky because I spend a lot of time at home anyway, so the adjustment to self-quarantine hasn’t been as steep as it might be for other people. Yet my stress induced insomnia returned.
When the lockdown that we’re not calling a lockdown was announced, I moved in with my parents-in-law. We’re all in cocooning mode and P’s job means he is around too many people for me to safely do that at home.
The furthest I’ll be going for the next however many weeks—probably months—is the back garden, so it helps that the view of the river, surrounding farmland and distant mountains isn’t a bad one.
I’m craving routine, which isn’t surprising, but given that I’m not great at sticking to routines at the best of times is wishful thinking. Instead I turn to things that comfort me; rolling out my yoga mat and doing some light stretches, rewatching the Joan Didion documentary on Netflix for the twentieth time, the Bon Appétit Youtube channel, reading, trying and failing to write more than a dozen words at a time, long baths, coffee, chocolate, and Tarot. I’m getting better at checking in with friends and family. I hope.
I’ve heard a few people describe the weirdness a lot, if not all, of us are feeling as being similar to the time between Christmas and New Year when no one knows what day it is. I get that. This past year has felt a lot like that, for me. You learn to adjust. Not because you necessarily want to, but because you’ve got no other option.
It’s easy to say we’re all in this together. And we are. But we’re also not. Not really. Our experiences of dealing with this pandemic and how it impacts our individual and familial lives are personal and, yes, sometimes communal but it is OK if you are not reacting the same way as everyone else.
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