People may joke about the people with mental health drastically tampering with their physical appearance during lockdown, but by day two I’d bleached my hair twice. My newfound Fluoxetine fluidity has meant that the Corona virus quarantine hasn’t been as endangering as it would have been two weeks ago.
I want to elaborate on that last part a little, because this is a scary situation. Corona virus (and everything that is happening because of it) is unfamiliar and frightening. If you are a millennial, like me, you’re used to keeping up with fast paced change with an ease not often found in other generations. Perhaps now you are isolating with your family and you must listen to constant war-time comparisons and dismissals of your anxiety. Maybe you’re lucky enough to be with people who are more delicate in their approach to your concerns. Perhaps you are alone.
I have struggled myself. In my last post I spoke briefly about my coping mechanisms. One of them is making sure that I know what’s going on around me. Even if I can’t have complete control over my life I must maintain control over work, social circles and hobbies. But what happens when the world is seized by a flu-like virus which renders a third of the world in lockdown? I try not to complain, because after all we must stay home and save lives… but how do you adapt to a completely new lifestyle when it is almost certain to doom your mental health?
That’s not a question I can answer. What I can do is give you all the lowdown on my quarantine week and hope that you find something that makes you smile or relate in some way.
Billie’s quarantines diaries
Day 1: Work is closed and it’s Monday 23rd, the day that Boris starts to implement the lockdown. I don’t do much today except bleach my hair and contemplate staying ginger, make pancakes and obsessively scroll Twitter trying to find the UK Corona virus updates. I have a long chat with my hallucination George before bed and pass out.
Day 2: Thank God for small mercies, my sister is isolating with me because she doesn’t need to be back in work until April 13th. I make pancakes again and Grace bleaches my hair. I have a houseparty group chat with my friends in the evening and it makes me so overwhelmed that I almost pass out. I obsessively scroll Twitter and wait for the daily Boris update. Nice chat with George and then bed.
Day 3: I don’t want to get out of bed, but I do. Today Grace and I go up to the allotment (it’s allowed as daily exercise thank you very much) and spend an hour trying to dig up the ground while being spectacularly outshone by our dad who once spent six years as a landscape gardener. Twitter. Cry. Chat with George. Bed.
Day 4: Useless. I am a depressed and neurotic mess when I wake up and George is nowhere to be found which results in me throwing things around my room until I’m stressed enough to conjure him. Another day at the allotment and it’s so sunny that things feel bearable again. My mum is off work for the next four days so there’s considerably more cleaning than there has been Monday-Wednesday. Grace and I decide to get drunk and watch Twilight, it’s hilarious. I go to bed and realise that I didn’t check Twitter all day.
Day 5: I am eating EVERYTHING, but it’s okay because I’m already fat. My friends and I have a group chat that keeps me sane. My green hair dye arrived in the post so Grace sets to work on turning me into a goblin. Today I wish I could go for a walk for the sake of doing it, but I know I need to be sensible. I spend a lot of time in my room speaking to George and trying to process how I’m feeling. Grace and I watch the second Twilight movie and get drunk again. I regrettably spend an hour checking Twitter before bed.
Day 6: My brother is home, my dad is home, my sister is home, my mum is home and I am home. We are all adults and things are getting a little tense. I try to stay out of the way of everyone and do my own thing. Grace and I kick everyone out of the living room to do a bodypump class on the TV. The day is frustratingly long, and bed doesn’t come soon enough; not before the third Twilight movie, though.
Day 7: My mental health is hanging on by a thread and there are lots of arguments in the house today. It takes a lot of effort to reassure myself that it’s natural and not to overthink it. Grace and I watch the fourth Twilight movie and I feel concerned for it being Monday tomorrow – I make up for this by eating so many carbs. Carbs upon carbs. I’m too full to sleep.
That brings us to today, day 8. I’m okay today and I’ve been productive, despite feeling achey from my television gym class the other day. After enduring a week of reading posts and watching videos telling me to keep a routine and wake up at a certain time to exercise and to separate my workspace from my living space and to eat a certain way, I have realised that some people just can’t do that. If you’re one of those routineless people, please don’t feel bad when you see these posts. I have now concluded that they’re not a personal attack, but somebody else’s coping mechanism.
I have spent a lot of time this week reassuring people that none of this makes sense, and it probably won’t make sense for a long time. Be brave and expect the unexpected, and when it’s too much reach out to people. Isolate yourself physically but not emotionally. Receive and give love in whatever way you can and remember that this is a time where more people may be relying on us than ever before. It is up to us not to see it as a burden.