It doesn’t feel like another month has passed, and I can’t tell if this month has sped past or crawled along.
This entire year so far has been insane. I can’t even compare it to anything because it defies explanation. If this was a story, people would’ve abandoned it for being too unrealistic, yet here we are, living through whatever weird nightmare we’ve all stumbled into.
I hope you’re all staying safe and sticking to the lockdown guidelines.
I was debating when to post this since I’ll still have five days left of April after this is posted, but simultaneously, if I waited until next Friday, we’d officially be into May. I made the decision to post it today, and if anything needs updating, I’ll do it.
We’ve officially been in quarantine for over a month, although not by much. I wrote my personal account of it as a documented account for future historians in case they want it. I might write more, depending what happens, although I suspect nothing much is gonna happen.
We’re now a month into the official quarantine due to a pandemic that has swept the globe and forced us into lockdown for the sake of humanity.
A tweet suggested we should write down our accounts of the coronavirus for future historians, so take this as mine.
In mid March, we were advised to start social distancing if we could, but it’d take a further week for the quarantine to be imposed. Even still, people ignored the lockdown and flocked to the parks or the beaches for one last time, which could’ve infected plenty of people, or hung out in social places in large groups, which also didn’t help. But at least now people seem to be abiding by the rules and staying inside, as they’re supposed to. Partially because all the social places are now closed and the public spaces are being monitored, but not heavily.
I will admit, during the advisory stage, I did still pop out for a few short hours to see a friend, but town was basically dead, shops already closing in preparation, and I did visit a friend at his house because I thought that might not be so bad. I know my mistake now, even though neither of us got it. I also took a bit of a risk with my mum and my brother by going to Zizzi’s two nights before the official quarantine began, especially since we could’ve gotten the coronavirus ourselves, but we all had a craving, and knowing what was to come, I can’t deny it was good to have a last dinner out.
Personally, the quarantine started out as a gift. I was unemployed and had no reason to go searching for a job now, so I could just live in the moment and do as I pleased without feeling the guilt and anxiety gnawing away at me. I could live day by day, as I had been doing, in peace and allow life to go on as it needed to. I could do writing all day everyday, uninterrupted. Hallelujah!
However, I began to struggle within a few days. Popping to the supermarkets filled me with a genuine despair and full blown hyperventilation (side effect of anxiety/panic attacks) as I saw empty shelf upon empty shelf. I began to freak out that there wouldn’t be enough food for us to survive, but thankfully mum had stocked up on what she could. I ended up going to three different supermarkets on one occasion to grab as much meat for myself as I could, and any other essentials I needed, but I never bulk bought anything, except chocolate, which nobody was going for. You’d think a sweet treat is exactly what people would want right now, but I guess if you’re panic buying, chocolate won’t be near the top of your priority list.
Whenever I returned home from the supermarkets, I needed to recharge. I’d get so stressed and irritated by people getting in my way, especially when we were supposed to be keeping our distance, and all my energy would be drained thanks to my anxiety and borderline depression I felt. I’d meditate to calm myself back down, or else find something to distract me that would also relax me. I dreaded going back to the supermarket because I was filled with dread every single time, knowing exactly how I’d feel once I got inside and saw the empty shelves.
I realised quite quickly how dependent I had become on going to concerts/musical theatre shows and socialising with other humans, which was a very subconscious coping mechanism. They acted as a nice distraction from my lack of a life, and they helped stop my mental health from spiralling into negative self-talk, which would inevitably lead to depression. Also, whenever my mental health gets that bad, I feel the urge to escape for a while, whether to a local park, or a museum, or wishing I could just hop on a train and start somewhere new. But in this circumstance, I’m literally not allowed to do so.
I’m very hit and miss with socialising anyway, and I’ve purposefully spent the past couple of months making an effort to actually see people because being unemployed can make you very isolated and lonely. Once the lockdown began, I immediately messaged my friends, almost begging to chat to them, because I needed socialisation. I needed to be distracted, which I really shouldn’t rely on other people for, and to alleviate my crushing loneliness, which on a number of occasions has nearly brought me to tears. Usually then followed by depression. My mum and my brother are both busy, as they have been for months, so socialising with them just hasn’t really happened, and nothing has changed. Mum does worry I’m not socialising enough, which is why I’d made such an effort before. Who knew that’d come to slap me in the face?
By the third week, the supermarkets had implemented measures to prevent bulk buying. They restricted certain items to only three per customer, and a set number of people are allowed in the shop at any given time. The tills have glass panels to separate the server from the customer, and there are footprints stuck to the floor on where to stand while queuing to pay. Toilet paper is starting to stay on the shelves and the shelves don’t look so bare anymore, so going to the supermarket feels like it always has done: a mindless chore you just get on with, except now you’ve gotta remember the restrictions too.
When the gorgeous sunny weather arrived, I struggled again. I’d go outside, feel the sun on my face, and long to go on a relaxing holiday to the beach, then feel depressed that it’s not likely to happen, and even when the restrictions are lifted, everyone’s gonna have the same idea. Additionally, when my anxiety becomes too overwhelming, I get restless and the best remedy I’ve found is to go for a long walk, but I have to be cautious nowadays about when and where. Most people go out during the day, but the night time? Only a few people actually want to. I’m one of them, preferring the peace and quiet of wandering the streets alone, not having to worry about how I’m gonna avoid people.
At one stage, my anxiety spiked whenever I went outside because I was terrified I’d get coronavirus and spread it to my mum or my brother, or worse still, the elderly people living in our flat complex. Thanks to this, I didn’t feel the need to go outside. I felt perfectly content to be inside because it was safer and way less stressful, and I have nearly everything I need inside. As Sheldon Cooper once said, ‘if outside is so good, why has mankind spent thousands of years trying to perfect inside?’
Nowadays, I’m settling into quarantine life. I’ve actually still been getting dressed everyday, although whether I wear a bra or not is decided day by day (usually I don’t bother), and I’ve found enough to keep me preoccupied. I’m still reading, socialising with others, and occasionally watching a TV episode or so. I’ve somehow only managed to play The Sims 4 once this entire month, which is a good thing because I get way too obsessed with it otherwise. Currently, I’m doing a daily poetry challenge, and considering poetry isn’t my forte, it’s been a struggle, but people actually seem to like my poems. I’ve given up on my writing project, and once this poetry challenge is over, I’ll focus on writing little snippets again and hopefully find one I want to flesh out into a full story.
However, I notice when my mental health fluctuates, I struggle very badly. When I spiral downwards, I tend to go for long walks, ranging between an hour to an hour and a half. Anymore than that and I feel guilty. Additionally, I’m trying to take this time to face my mental health head on, which has been a struggle, but it’s been good to identify issues I’m having and trying to find healthy coping mechanisms. I’m trying to stay in the present moment and allow life to go as it needs to, which is helping by not freaking out over whether my Publishing MA will still go ahead in September. I’m also trying to keep my self esteem at a healthy level by feeling what I need to, then releasing the feelings and carry on living.
I’ll be honest, at this moment in time, I have no idea what’s gonna happen next, or even when. My mum seems to think we’ll start lifting the restrictions by the end of May, but realistically, I think it’ll be the end of June. Any longer than that, we’ll face massive financial difficulties, alongside a myriad of other problems.
Well, this month certainly took an unexpected turn!
Coronavirus. Need I say more? With the world shutting down and going into lockdown, it really does make you see how the world functioned before, and it’s eye opening. It makes you realise how much we rely upon other people daily for interaction, and despite what society says, how important ‘low paid workers’ are. We’ve been relying on nurses, doctors, teachers, supermarket staff and delivery drivers to function during this social distancing, so when this is all over, be more appreciative of these people. Because lord knows, the nurses and doctors need all the praise they can get.
This month has been an emotional rollercoaster, to use an accurate cliché. Ironic, considering I went to see the Jonas Brothers live this month and one of their new songs is called Rollercoaster, so consider that the unofficial theme song of this month.
I’ve had enough plans this month to keep me distracted by socialising with people or escaping from reality for a short while. I only wish I had a holiday booked sometime soon, because I’m still feeling that desperate need to escape to somewhere new for a while. Guess I’ll have to wait a while longer…
Anyway, onto what delights (and downfalls) February had for me.
Every year, I make it a goal to keep this blog going, and every year, it falls to the wayside at some point. Usually because the blog is too specific to begin with. However, I’ve decided to drop the burden somewhat by doing at least a monthly update post. This way, I can write about what I’m currently working on, what I’ve read and/or I’m currently reading, and I can mention my personal interests, such as going to theatre shows, concerts, on my travels (abroad), or any other personal thoughts/feelings.
As with every new year, I look back over my blog and question whether to keep it going the way it is or do yet another fresh start. The biggest problem is trying to keep this blog only about writing hasn’t lasted long. A few months, at most. Additionally, trying to think of a weekly blog post is a struggle, especially when life becomes too overwhelming.
Usually, I have a direction to follow with my life, but if last year was an indication of anything, it’s that life rarely ever goes to plan. My general direction this year is to apply to do a publishing MA at my university, which I should get into with little trouble. But for the nine months in between? I haven’t a clue what I’m gonna do. Hopefully find a job 🤞🏻
Writing Year Goals:
Finish my WIP (and potentially post to Wattpad)
Write daily (or at least weekly)
Read a book monthly
Write a monthly blog post
These goals should be achievable, but should life get in the way, as it so often does, this blog and reading will fall to the wayside. Hopefully not for too long. I also wanna try and read a non fiction book monthly, but again, we’ll see what happens.
I don’t have any personal goals this year. I’ve been too focused on what vague direction I want this decade to go in that thinking only about this year has slipped my mind. Even now, as I sit here trying to think of yearlong goals, they feel too vague and with no discernible time limit. Goals such as learning how to drive or moving out and finding my own place. Those goals could happen any year, not necessarily this year.
Instead, I’ll put vague aspirations I have:
Learn how to drive/cook
Find my own place
Go out of my comfort zone – singing & dancing outside of my bedroom