Like the majority of people in the world, I am isolating and it is the second hardest thing I’ve done in my whole life. The first? Saying goodbye to my mama. It’s hard, because I live alone, meaning I’m spending 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with me, myself and I. Let me tell you, I do not always love myself….I am so incredibly lucky to have landlords who also live on the property with me, and those fleeting moments of human interaction have helped.
So, I’m finding myself in this love/hate relationship with isolation. Almost as soon as I could I went back to work after my mom died, I couldn’t stand being at home doing nothing (lord knows I needed to process my grief), so I threw myself into work. I’ve continued this trend of working a ridiculous amount in the last 18 months (ish); so when I got laid off from both of my jobs due to COVID-19, I immediately panicked. Not only because I wouldn’t be making money, but because I KNEW I was finally going to be forced to face those demons I’d been trying so hard to hide from.
Grief has once again reared it’s ugly head in the last week and a half. When you lose someone close to you, you all of a sudden have a new perspective on life as a whole. I feel like I’ve told so many people this week: “this is just another reminder that we aren’t promised tomorrow, we have to act and love our people as though it’s the last time we’ll see them, and that we have no control over any of this”..I learned this when my mom died. How precious time really is.
The number one reason for this isolation is to protect each other, yet it seems like so many people have forgotten how to even care about themselves let alone others. This isolation has given me more anxiety and sadness than ever, you see once you lose someone, so begins the fear that you’ll lose the other people in your life who mean a lot to you. It seems like there is a lot of people who don’t understand this, good for them, it probably means they haven’t lost someone close to them yet.
In the last week I’ve also found myself having trivial conversations with people, and it’s frustrated me to no end, I cannot fathom how certain people think not getting a text back, or getting a drink , or sitting in a park with a group of your friends is a life or death situation. There are people who can’t even say goodbye to their dying loved ones, people who thought they were healthy dying of a virus that they were told wasn’t going to affect them, or a small business having to close with the very real fear they may never reopen..nothing like a world crisis to show you how stupidly selfish people are. I also have started to realize who my friends really are, again nothing like a crisis to figure it out.
After my mom died, I weaned out a few and after this pandemic is over, I’ll have even less. I am 100% alone in this house, but I have amazing grandparents and my dad (all of whom are gonna be real tired of seeing my face on face time soon) but other than that I’ve limited my interactions (essential grocery store trips, landlord visits etc), in doing so, I’m helping to flatten the curve…but also struggling majorly with my anxiety and grief. I’ve shared a couple posts on my instagram (both will be put in this blog post) that sum up what its like to grieve whilst self-isolating. This writing has been more of a ramble than anything else tonight, but I will now share what it’s been like for me.
The lack of a normal routine has been killing me, because despite the fact I’ve been able to ride and do homework, I’m so used to working 12 hour days that my body can’t even sleep properly cause it isn’t actually tired enough. Couple that with the anxiety that’s pretty much flowing with the blood and water in my body, and my sleep schedule is completely upside down. Then, you have the waves of sadness, missing my mama, and wishing I could face-time her when I’m bored and lonely, and wondering what the heck she would say if she was here; but also the thankfulness (?) that we don’t have to worry about her getting the virus.
I’ve never felt more alone than I do right now (I’m fine, I have people I can call), because yes there are so many of us in this together; but being isolated in your home with family, significant others, friends, roommates etc, you still are getting that basic human interaction we all need in order to survive (well most of us anyway, I know I have some introvert peeps in my life who would probably trade places with me). But my point is, if you’re isolated with another person – or multiple- please count yourself lucky. It may be hard to get along with them sometimes, but at least you have someone. I usually manage my anxiety pretty well, but I have seen a considerable decrease in my management levels since the virus became so widespread, and to be quite frank not a lot of people outside my family and a few friends have checked in. In fact, I’ve seen more selfishness than anything else. A lot of people I see in my daily work/school life or even ones I don’t see in person but talk to on social media have become these selfish, woe is me people. But Rachel, you’re writing about your loneliness and anxiety – I’m also checking on my friends and family every day for the most part. See, the friends I thought I could count on? They want gratification, they want to be thanked for being there for me, they want to talk about their own struggles but don’t acknowledge me when I say “yes, I understand, I too am struggling.”
The reality is, we are all in this weird, upside down reality together. Most of my friends work with me at either the gym or the restaurant, or they work at a restaurant, meaning the majority of us are ALL jobless…but there’s a select few acting like they’re the only ones. This is turning into more of a rant than I planned, sorry followers! The point I’m trying to say is, being alone through all of this sucks, but being alone and not feeling like you have many friends you can talk to about how sad and anxious you actually feel, that sucks even more. So, be kind, be smart, be safe and make an effort to check in on your friends who have told you they’re struggling. There is a lot of uncertainty in the world right now, the last thing anyone wants is to feel like they have no outlet for their worries.
I’m going to finish by saying, I am okay. I am anxious and sad, but that’s a part of my own grieving process. I have 3 fur babies who have loved having me home, and I do have some wonderful friends who love me and listen to my worries and remind me I’m not alone in it, because even I forget that too. This is my outlet, and I can’t wait to work again!