Ever since this whole quarantine situation began, so many around me have been struggling. For many, it’s a financial thing. So many people have outright lost their jobs or have been laid off with an unknown return date. Even my husband is now facing a possible layoff situation. When you struggle just to provide the necessities for your family and there’s nothing you can do to change the situation, you find yourself freaking out. How can I feed my family?? How can I make sure that we will survive this???
For others, it’s struggling to deal with a lack of social interaction. Many thrive on being around others. Some, like me, can only handle so much isolation. Sometimes, one handles their mental health illnesses by going out and surrounding themselves among friends and family. Whether it’s going to bars to dance, sing, play pool, shoot darts, play bags, or just chat with friends, scouting out places to experience new things, going to concerts, checking out the newest movies, bowling league or just because, or often planning and hosting events for family/friends, it’s an escape from one’s own mind. Now that we are stuck at home, we can’t help but retreat into our own heads and that is a scary reality we can’t run away from.
Because of the ban on gatherings, many have had to cancel or postpone their weddings, kid’s birthday parties, baby showers, and more. After all of that time spent planning and preparing and money spent, it ends up being for naught. Flights canceled, deposits not returned, being left with a bunch of décor and such that can’t be used, and plans being canceled have left many heartbroken. Many are even unable to attend funerals for people they love and want to say goodbye to. While many of these things can be rescheduled, this means more money spent and competing with many others for venues and other vendors as many will have to reschedule at once.
There are some who still have to work and while in some ways, that is a good thing, it’s also a stressful too. They’re among others who could get them sick and if you have a weakened immune system, that is even riskier. Some who are immunocompromised are working from home, but not all. Think about the long hours too. There are professions that don’t get sent home to work or get told they’re laid off. Many are needed to make sure we don’t completely fall apart during this time.
Truckers are still on the road, as we need them to deliver goods so that our families can survive. The military still is out there looking after country. Cops and firefighters are out protecting us from harm. The electric companies, water companies, cable companies, phone companies, etc are up and running. Grocery stores still need to stay open. Many restaurants have closed, but some are still open for delivery and take out options. The postal workers are still bringing us our mail. Medical professionals are needed to treat the sick and injured, transport those unable to get help on their own, greet the patients, do x-rays, and more. The list goes on. To keep this country running, there are a lot of people out working their tails off, subjecting themselves to countless germs.
The kids being off school has forced many to stay home from work. That goes with the first paragraph, creating financial issues. We may be getting assistance, but it’ll take time for that to go through and arrive. Now, add in you’re stuck at home with your kids, trying to home school them and many don’t have experience in this. The social interaction for your kids has ended. They can’t spend time with their friends. While it is easier for many adults to grasp the situation, many kids don’t understand and that is hard. Watching your kids struggle with this hurts. We would love to let them go play with their friends, but we can’t. Now many families are secluded with one another day in and day out, creating tension and more stress.
No matter what one’s situation is, I don’t think anyone has it easy. These points and more, we’re all struggling somehow and some are struggling on several fronts. Some are coming together to help where they can and that is great to see. It’s nice to know that some are looking out for their families, friends, and neighbors. It is also saddening to see that others have revealed their selfish and cruel natures as people are getting into fights over supplies. The need to provide for their families while we’re shut in has driven people to desperate measures. Some are simply trying to get through the week and others are hoarding enough to last for months. This whole mess has created mass hysteria. Panic buying is making it hard for others. Stores are trying to keep up with our needs, which has the truckers making more runs. I can only kind of fathom what stress this whole thing is causing others.
For me personally, I am struggling in ways I am trying to find words for. Writing has been an outlet for me since grade school. I need to put these thoughts into words which strung together, shall become sentences that hopefully convey how I feel. On one hand, my soul aches for everyone around me, especially those I am closest to that I know are struggling. I loathe that people I love are hurting. From being laid off at work to losing everything in a fire on top of everything else going on, many I love are in tough situations that I can’t fix. Anyone who knows me knows that other’s pain isn’t something I handle well within myself. Sometimes I take that pain and use it to help them, but even when I find ways to help the people I love, that pain and heartache still haunts me. Add in that I am struggling personally, I am a mess. So much pain, sorrow, grief, heartache, confusion, anger, stress…..
I run a small photography business. Due to a situation out of my control, my business account has over drafted. We don’t have the money within our personal finances to fix that. So, the longer I am without business, the worse shape my account gets in. I am so stressed right now. I had a couple that was going to sign me for their wedding, but due to the bride being laid off, they have to put planning their wedding on hold. Being me, I am dealing with conflicting emotions about it. On one hand, I feel so bad for them. My hubby and I talked about how I would handle it if I was the bride in this situation. Knowing me, I would be a wreck. I can imagine how she feels and I don’t like it one bit. I wish I could make it better for her. On the flip side, I am stressed because I needed that money to set things right with my account. I have never been in this position in all the time I have been running my business. I am, as Peg from Peg & Cat says, TOTALLY FREAKING OUT!!!
On top of that, I feel for my hubby. He is our main provider and if he gets laid off, even on a rotating schedule, it will hurt us significantly. He’s feeling the stress big time. We were already struggling, but now we’re hurting even more. He was driving Uber on the side, but now he’s stopped that so as not to be at more risk for getting sick. Part of that is, he knows if I get it, I will be in bad shape due to my weakened immune system and also because we have kids to consider. They are already stuck at home, don’t want them to get sick on top of this isolation business. Speaking of, this isolation business is not good for me at all. I am one who thrives on being able to see friends and family. I love hosting play dates, going to parks and the zoo with my daughter, making plans with friends, spending time with family, and just having the freedom to be out and about without worrying about ending up in the hospital.
I used to go out a lot when I was younger. It was one way I managed my bi-polar, though I didn’t realize that’s what I was doing until much later. I went out to escape my thoughts, to not be alone, and to fight my inner demons. The going out phase lessened over the years, especially to bars and clubs. Part of that was due to life changing and part of that was just me changing along with it. But even when you couldn’t find me out and about nearly every weekend and even on some weeknights, singing karaoke, dancing, and talking it up with friends, I still went out on occasion. When I got together with my now husband, we did go out a lot at first. Over time, that started to change. At least as far as bars went anyway, we didn’t go out much after a couple of years.
We do like to go out on date nights still, but not so frequently and when we do go out, it’s not been to bars. We go out to dinner, bowling, challenge our minds at an escape room, get some ice cream, go see a movie, check out a band we like, etc. (we haven’t been to bars in a quite awhile. I won’t say we’ll never go to one again, but it will remain a rare occurrence. It’s just not our scene anymore.) Sometimes we’ll get away for a weekend to go camping, explore a city, see family, etc. I also like to go see friends sometimes. There’s me trying to host bonfires, cookouts, game nights, and dinner parties too. All of that is now put on hold. I loathe it, deeply. Being confined is harder for me than I can properly explain.
Last night, my daughter looked me with her big brown eyes and said, “Friends come over to play???” My heart cracked and broke. I tried explaining to my three year old why that isn’t possible and she didn’t understand. That is one of the hardest parts about all of this. She doesn’t get why we can’t have people over, why we can’t go to the zoo or the park, etc. I try to make things fun for her, but it only does so much. She wants to play with her friends. Oh sweet girl, I know, I feel that way too. We may have to cancel her birthday party for next month and that hurts me more than I can say. In time, she will likely forget all of that, but I won’t. I wanted to make her day special. I hope this is over by then. If not, we will still do what we can to make it special for her. (a party of four and maybe see about creating a video chat for people to attend or ask people to record birthday messages.) I want her to enjoy turning four. We will do what we can no matter what the situation is.
I hope this is all over soon. I hope that this isolation ends up being worth it, keeping many safe and lessening the spread of it for those who do get it, so that the hospitals and clinics can keep up with this. I also hope that when it’s time to get back to normal, whatever normal even is really, that we’ll be able to recover and have an easy transition into our lives as they were before this hit.
I also hope that during this seclusion that we will find ways to get closer to our families. May we use this time to get to know one another in new ways, find out things we didn’t know and learn to appreciate one another more. Since we can’t change the situation at hand, we should make the best of it. That is much easier said than done. Personally, I am struggling with that, but I am trying and that’s all any of us can do. I will use this time to do what I don’t usually have time for, like this. I used to write a lot. That’s slowed down the last few years. Singing, writing, taking pictures just for me, scrapbooking, cooking new recipes, and much more are on my list of things to do or do more of. It seems like a good time to let my creativity blossom once more.
I am praying for the world, our nation, the state of Wisconsin, Washington County, our community here in West Bend, my family and friends, my kiddos and hubby, and even myself. I pray that we will, overall, come together and see that the best way to face and get through this is to stick together. Even when we can’t see one another in person, there are still ways to stay connected and ways to help one another out. I am working on getting care coolers together to give to truckers who are struggling with getting something to eat and have gathered things together from people in my awesome community to help my friends that lost stuff in a fire. Porch drop offs, being diligent about hygiene, etc all go a long way and make it so we can help others still. The world has shut down a lot, but we’re still finding ways to keep going. I hope you’re doing well and if not, I pray that things get better for you soon. Don’t forget to take care of you, you matter and please remember to also look after those around you however you can. Together, I am hoping we will make it through this!!