So we are in day eleventy Wednesday of lockdown and I’m at the stage where I need someone to text me each morning to tell me what day it is. Also I need a brass band to parade through my house to wake up the teenagers. Although in these days of social distancing I suppose an impromptu performance in the garden would be more appropriate. Can’t say I’d be popular with the neighbours though. In an outstanding feat of achievement the cat managed to get the boy teenager out of bed to open the back door for her morning patrol. She had tried and failed with me as it was one of those mornings where I couldn’t move my arms or legs. Getting out of bed wasn’t happening.
Along with other folks who are familiar with living mostly indoors, I thought I’d adjust to this new normality pretty easily. In this catchment group I’m including the disabled, the already-working-from-homers, actors, writers etc. Which reminds me of a joke I heard from Richard E Grant. Why don’t actors open their curtains in the morning? Because it gives them something to do in the afternoon…badum tish.
I’ve been self-isolating since 16th March when I became ill with a virus. I have no idea if it was our arch nemesis, but it was WEIRD. Felt really ill for a couple of days and then I felt better for a few days and then bam there it was back again. I had a new cough and a slightly raised temperature. Thankfully I have recovered, but it has taken almost all that time just to get back to my regular level of feeling rubbish.
While my life indoors is much the same, it’s also very different. I used to be able to escape by going on social media or turning on the telly or the radio, but not now. At the start of lockdown we were bombarded with ideas on how we could all use this extra time to meditate, learn a new language, write a book, bake, craft, redecorate, on and on and on the drone of self-improvement was shoved down our collective throats. Don’t get me wrong, props to anyone who has found a new hobby or skill to enjoy. Go for it and have fun! Also take a bow if you are homeschooling. Thoughts and prayers are with you. What is refreshing is that a lot of people have been surprised by how unproductive they have been when at home and how they just don’t have time to tick off their to do list. Sometimes it’s just enough to have made it through each day.
Life has slowed down, if you’ve read my other posts you’ll know that I am housebound due to disability. One of the changes that I found most difficult to adjust to when I became ill was that life was now slow. I can put the day in rightly now. If that’s a superpower then that’s mine.
Even with all my stay at home experience I have times where I’m feeling stressed and frustrated at our collective situation. The issue of when or how lockdown will end isn’t a priority for me. I can’t wait to be able to go to my favourite cafés and see friends and family again. But the constant questions from journalists about the timescale for the lift of lockdown reminds me of kids in the back seat of the car asking “are we there yet?”
I feel for all those who have lost their jobs, who are struggling financially and for everyone who needs lockdown to end. Something about the acceptance that living with a disability gives you can help with this. All we really know is how things are today. I’ve seen the graphs, I’ve seen the stats. I’m neither an epidemiologist nor a statistician, I leave it all to the experts and the decision makers. I await the lift of lockdown as eagerly as the next person, but I know it will happen in its own sweet time.
I may be presenting myself as a reasonable person, if so then here’s something frankly ridiculous which should provide a counterbalance. I am quietly and irrationally furious at the veritable plethora of the social events now being held online. Where the hell was all of this accessibility before now? The disabled community have been crying out for this for years. Now it’s the norm. I hope that some form of this will continue post-lockdown. I have to admit to joining in on a virtual pub quiz and to listening to a folk music festival on recommendation of a good friend, I grudgingly admit to maybe enjoying it. Maybe.
I see from social media that many people are experiencing tiredness, difficulties with concentration and waking up exhausted after a restless night of nightmares. If that’s also you then know that you’re not alone. Find a way of relaxing, alleviating some of the stress in a way that is good for you. Connect with your friends and family, reach out to others, snuggle up in a good blanket. Dare I say it have a think of all the things you are grateful for. Sometimes it’s enough to sit with a cup of something and watch nonsense on the telly, or look out the sky through your window.
Be good to yourself. This isn’t easy for anyone, not even for me.
Lisa Wells is a disabled single parent living in a rural village in Co Down, the name of which hardly anyone can pronounce and only the residents know how to find. She has been writing a blog on life indoors for a few years.