Welp, if you’re reading this, you probably know that we are in the midst of a pandemic. The coronavirus is ravaging countries all around the world, and people are dying at an alarming rate. Everything I watch and read talks about two things: social distancing & the timeline for how long isolation and quarantine will last.
I’ll admit that at the beginning of March, I really didn’t know much about the virus. I knew it was a “thing”, but it hadn’t really hit me how detrimental it was. But, OHHHH, what a difference a week made. Within a week, I had heard how Italy– the entire country– was/is locked down. Italian reporters and residents wrote firsthand accounts of how overrun the hospitals were with sick patients. One woman even warned U.S. citizens that we would be in Italy’s position before the month was over, and for the most part, she was right.
Government officials from all over the United States employed state mandated lockdowns and shelter-in-place tactics to help stop the spread of the virus to anyone else, especially elderly and immuno-compromised folk (although the virus does not discriminate either way). For the vast majority of us, shelter-in-place/social distancing hasn’t been that difficult, but due to the recklessness of others, recreational parks, golf courses, and beach sites have been shut down because people still think they are invincible, or that this is “just the flu” (which, by the way, it’s not. There’s a vaccine for the flu, while the coronavirus has no such aid).
When I first decided to practice social distancing, I actually had an easy time of it. I am an introvert, by nature, so it was easy to work-from-home and create a routine that benefited me because, well, I already did it before this. I was able to write more, create more, and focus on my growth during this period– however long it lasts– and I felt like a dream. Then, today, I woke up feeling odd.
Monday: wake up, check email, check calendar, peruse Twitter, respond to texts. Normal day. That is, until I realized that today was supposed to be a “social day” for me. I have days in my calendar designated for socializing with friends, whether that be meeting up for drinks or dinner, or Disneyland. I immediately felt the strong pang of sadness when I realized I wouldn’t have much “social days” for the foreseeable future (I thought it was until April 19th, but I’ve heard rumblings of a May 1st date) and as a disabled person and as a human being with fluctuating mental health, I started freeaaakinngg out at the thought of such a lengthy period of time. Even though I love being alone, I hate feeling lonely, and in the last week or so, texts/FaceTime/Skype haven’t been the same. I find myself craving my best friends’ hugs and selfies, and to be able to have face-to-face interactions with the people who are important to me
The catch is, I never actually talked about how I felt until I messaged my friend, Whitney (who actually inspired me to write this blog). I am a person who internalizes stress and anxiety, so this conversation was the first time I admitted to myself (and her) how I was starting to feel the struggle, and although I know that y’all are also struggling with this, it was the first I felt like someone truly understood. I felt less alone.
I guess I decided to write this to say that if any of you are also feeling this way, you aren’t alone in that– as I learned today. I don’t know if things will ever go back to “normal” completely after this is over, whenever that may be. However, this time has taught me how important the people in my life are to me, how excited I’ll be when my mom and dad will be able to hug me instead of standing six feet away, and how much I’ll be squealing with excitement when I can sit in Chipotle at my favorite table with my best friend. I hope this makes us appreciate the world more, the little things, life.
Hang in there, y’all. Stay safe, stay healthy, and for God sake, stay home as much as you can.