Quarantine and Chill
I know a lot of people have been writing about this COVID-19 pandemic, mainly how selfish others have been in not adhering to social distancing policies and/or panic buying. I don’t want to do something that others are doing just for the sake of doing it.
As you may know, this blog serves mainly myself, not an audience. I have been writing on this blog as a release for my thoughts and feelings… so that’s just what I’ll do yet again. Write about my thoughts and feelings during this “lockdown” and pandemic. There may be some advice thrown in from time to time; however, this will mainly be for myself so that I may be able to see it again when I read back over my entries. (With all that being said, I’m not going to discourage anybody from heeding or criticising my advice, from sharing my entries or from following my story.)
Let’s start with the beginning of the pandemic in the UK. As you may remember, I started working in a pub and club just a few months ago. This has made a huge difference in my overall mental health, as it’s a job that I thoroughly enjoy doing. Well, that’s just sod’s law, ain’t it? To finally find a job that I love, only for a hugely contagious virus to come along and stop me from working.
Now, I’m not saying that I would be out working in a pub during this critical time, as I completely understand the seriousness of this pandemic and I’m adhering to social distancing as much as possible. I would not be somebody who is putting others at risk… but that doesn’t mean I can’t miss my job. I miss the pub, my colleagues, the regulars and the overall atmosphere in the place. We’re like a wee family in there and it’s been hard to stay away. I do hope that my colleagues are staying safe and that I’ll see them for a party when this is all over.
Being unable to go to my place of work has been hard, not only for the reasons above but also because I’m not very good at self-isolation. Before all of this, I would not have been able to stay in for longer than one night. I needed to be out, speaking to and interacting with people. Which is quite funny, considering I used to be a pretty heavy introvert. I suspect this is due, in no small part, to my depression and anxiety. When I’m alone, my anxiety has free reign over my thoughts and feelings and I’m not very good at distracting myself from this. This inability to distract myself usually leads me to the pub, where I know everybody and can be in good company. Out comes COVID-19: “NO CHANCE YOU’LL BE DOING THAT NOW, SUCKER!” Well, shit.
I’ve now been in self-isolation for 4 days. That’s 4 times as long as I’m used to being by myself… and guess what? I’m absolutely fine! I have really surprised myself with this, as I genuinely thought I would be climbing the walls, breaking quarantine and begging friends to see me. Could this be because I know that going out is not an option? Is it because I’ve come to terms with the idea of self-isolation for the good of others? Have I realised that it would be utterly selfish for me to even contemplate going out at a time like this? All of these things seem like they would have been a major factor; however, there is another thing that I didn’t consider until very recently.
Working all the time and constantly feeling like I can’t be left alone with my thoughts leaves very little time for me to work on myself and my own wellbeing, both mental and physical. Without realising it, I’ve actually turned my focus towards myself; doing things around my home, taking care of myself, making sure I have proper food (not just quick and easy rubbish) etc, etc. This has calmed me during a time which would otherwise have left me anxiety-ridden. Sure, many would argue that I make excuses for not looking after myself, such as the ones at the beginning of this paragraph; however, those people may not know what it’s like to live with anxiety (they may even be people who have conquered severe anxiety and have forgotten what it’s like).
The amazing thing about all of this is that I was convinced I would feel trapped by this quarantine. I was utterly sure that my anxiety and depression would have started a reign of terror by the second day. This hasn’t been the case. I actually feel free. I feel calm (or “chill”, if you will), collected and determined. This has been a beautiful realisation in my head, showing me that I’m stronger than I believed. Some things that I’ll definitely be taking away from all of this are these: do not underestimate yourself. Do not assume that you will fail. Have faith in your subconscious drive to survive and remember that you are a priority. Take care of yourself and other things will naturally follow.
I’m having a couple of beers to wind down my night, knowing that today has been a productive day. I do hope that you’re all staying safe during this difficult time and hope we all come through this as stronger people.
Love and Peace.