Why This New Self-Isolation Feels so Comfortable to Me
There is an intensity to these days that we are finding ourselves in. There is a sense of building anxiety, fed by inactivity and a loss of routine, a feeling of helplessness to fight an invisible enemy. The corona virus has challenged us all to live alongside fear and uncertainty. And yet there is beauty to found in this time. In our international solitudes, I am seeing new communities emerge, I’m seeing judgements put aside and kindness tendrilling outward.
Within all the fear and uncertainty, I am living in a state of serenity and calm that I’ve had trouble defining. Why, when the world seems to be crumbling around me, am I feeling so peaceful?
When I hear from friends and family, the question is always, “How are you coping? How are you holding up?” and I struggle to explain that this is my normal, only enhanced.
I have fibromyalgia and chronic migraines, along with a few ‘possible comorbidities’. The last few years my life has shrunk down to essentials. A trip to the grocery store, for example, has to be carefully choreographed to happen at the right time of day with the right level of support and is generally followed by a long nap and a day of relaxation. Staying at home for long stretches of time is my normal. Not seeing people for days at a time is how I live my everyday life.
While the fear and anxiety around corona virus are all very real to me, my home has become a bubble of peace and contentment. Suddenly, there are so many people sampling the nice parts of my lifestyle and the pressure to achieve that I usually feel are no longer there. There is no one asking what I do. There is no one asking me why I don’t work. There is no one
questioning the validity of my lifestyle or the veracity of my disability. There are bountiful resources sharing ideas to fill the long inactive hours. I’ve found free watercolour and drawing classes. I see people posting photographs and ideas, poetry and thought, hope and fear online. Suddenly, I’m not lonely – a member of a small community united by illness (fabulous, inspiring, community that it is), but of a world-wide movement of people of every walk of life working to uplift and inspire each other.
With the perceived judgement of the outside world gone, I’m able to focus more on what is important to me. I’m not trying to defend myself emotionally from judgement. I’m not striving to find a way to ‘live normally’ by finding a career that will fit into my tiny reserves of energy. I’m not panicking at my inner feminist who likes to shout ‘How did you end up a fifty
year old woman with no career, staying at home, supported by your husband?!!!’. Instead, I’m seeing my value. I’m seeing the small ways that I contribute every day, the way I keep things running smoothly for my family, how I keep things calm; the way I intentionally reach out with kindness to strangers who are struggling that I have met through various forums; how I support my friends; how I partner with my spouse to keep him healthy and happy; how I keep my world beautiful with thoughts, poetry, plants, walks and conversation. These are all tiny things but together they make a beautiful and valuable life.
And every day since this started I’ve thought, how wonderful if we could just keep this sense of community, this kindness and gentleness, this lack of judgement and apply it to our lives when we return to our routines, what a wonderful world that could be.