I haven’t written much in my blog about what I have been experiencing in lockdown and in all honesty, I have no idea why. When I think about it, I keep thinking that my Twitter feed is enough to tell you how frustrating it has been because it hasn’t been consistent.
In the first lockdown, when the whole world was going through this together, once I passed the initial anxiety of what this new life was going to be like, I took it upon the chin and decided to use the time to learn some new things and take joy in some moments. Over time, my sleep came back to me and I settled upon a routine and all seemed well.
The second lockdown, although I agreed that as a state we needed to do something drastic to reduce the increase in numbers of community transmission, took me by surprise. Where I thought I had gotten used to being in lockdown, this one was far stricter. We couldn’t travel more than 5kms outside our homes, only one hour outside for exercise and only one person to do the shopping. The only places open were supermarkets, post offices and medical clinics. Mandatory face masks. Cafes and restaurants were for delivery only. There was also a curfew after 8pm – I don’t think Australia has ever had a curfew – even during war years. Added to that, state closures and a realisation that it was going to be a long 6 weeks ahead. (Maybe more).
This time around, this second lockdown did affect me.
It didn’t help me that across social media and the news it seemed the rest of Australia was continuing life as per normal. The bickering and politicking between federal and state governments pointing fingers and laying the blame and all critical eyes towards Victoria was also annoying me.
We were the leper colony in the eyes of everyone.
Add to the mix the minority who made it difficult by pushing their conspiracy agendas, it was enough to get me down and disheartened. At a time when everyone should be rallying together and working towards some solutions – they reverted to blame, finger pointing and criticisms.
It’s hard not to get affected by this when you see that empathy is missing in our system – everywhere from our politicians through to our relationships with others states and down through our communities.
I read an article recently called Acedia: The Lost Name For the Emotion We Are All Feeling Right Now that exemplified the feelings I was going through. One of the surprising things I learned about myself at this time is that even though I THINK I’m okay, I have feelings of very high highs demonstrated by feelings of action – action to learn French, go for my 5K run, set some goal for myself; to very low lows where I would stay in bed for the entire weekend where I would sleep, eat, read, surf social media for hours on end. A lethargic feeling unable to do anything and yet feel a tinge of guilt over splurging this time.
I wasn’t feeling sorry for myself – no, it was more like, there was really no need to do anything else. I kept thinking, “what’s the point of this? Let me just sit here in bed for another hour and then maybe, consider what I’ll do next.”
Initially, I started documenting my days on Instagram stories but soon that gave over to the thought, “what’s the point?”
I haven’t seen my parents in months and chatting to them every week for our check-ins I’m mindful that they too have been feeling the same way. Each day is the same. I worry sometimes more about the effect of this lockdown to many people’s state of mental health and wellbeing. How much of it is hidden, unacknowledged or discounted?
For me, one of the things that has helped immensely is journalling every morning. The physical act of writing something on paper to get my thoughts down on paper and out of my head. It’s also helped speaking to my friends online and realising that we’re all going through the same thing – biding our time. Waiting for this to be over.
What do I miss?
- I miss talking to other people IN PERSON and seeing their faces.
- I miss being in a gathering of people with noise, laughter and chatter around me.
- I miss the spontaneity of planning a catch up with friends without considering physical distance, location and safety.
- I miss being able to travel freely on public transport.
- I miss leaving home without a face mask.
- I miss being able to take a drive somewhere for the sake of it.
- I miss the freedom of having thoughts unbounded by fear or anxiety.
- I miss the feeling of being tired because I did something mentally or physically exerting as opposed to feeling tired because of no reason at all.
- I miss being able to ‘feel something’ when something horrible comes on the news.
- Another mass shooting in the USA? Another black death in police custody? An explosion that rips apart an entire city in Lebanon? State based infiltrator attempting to cyberattack a country? The list goes on. I’ve become numb to the worst news we are hearing and experiencing daily – and that’s what is disconcerting. Whereas in the past, I would have been in horror, talked about it, angry about it and vocal about it, now it’s “what’s the point?” ….and this is one of the worse feelings I could ever experience. Is my empathy disappearing? Have I ceased to care?
I don’ know where I’m going with this post. In truth, I’m just tapping things away on the keyboard suffice to say that I simply feel tired.