Sparkling Isolation – Day 3

Not so sparkling today.

Day three is coming to a close. Today, as a Friday on the spring break schedule of the college where I work, is technically a holiday. So I didn’t commute into my home office today. I thought of it as I would a normal holiday and tried to focus on personal things. Of course, at this point, everything seems to just blur together for me. Without clear delineation between work and home, it all feels like a big blob of ‘things to do.’

I did manage to make up the bed and get dressed instead of lounging around in my bathrobe all day. Like a normal day off, I made coffee and checked email and social media. After a few hours, I found myself feeling a little crazy and housebound, so I bundled up and decided to take a walk a few blocks to the local CVS Pharmacy.

The weather is dreary today – cold and cloudy and damp. Honestly, my mood was already there but the walk to and from the drugstore only reinforced my feelings of depression today. Traffic was light, only a few people were wandering the sidewalks. The store was eerily quiet and – of course – the shelves were stripped of toilet paper. Everything else was in fairly ample supply, but just that view of the empty toilet paper aisle set me spiraling down a rabbit hole of depression again.

I have not been able to focus at all today. Every time I try to do something, I find myself getting distracted and either giving up or forgetting and walking away, only to come back later and think, “Oh, crap. I forgot to finish that.” 

One bright spot – my favorite local restaurant is offering a fantastic meal deal for takeout and I ordered it partly to support them and partly because I honestly haven’t felt like cooking today. Strangely, I keep forgetting to eat. I had a bowl of cereal for breakfast, then a few hours later realized that I was hungry so I made a sandwich. But my normal routine of times to eat is completely messed up and it’s almost like some part of me is thinking, “Why bother? There’s no reason to take care of yourself right now, is there?”

I am also assiduously avoiding exercise. I know I need to move. I know that there are now tons of online options for yoga and Pilates and other exercise programs – mostly free at this point. I have friends who have volunteered to reach out and exercise with me. I just find myself today feeling too depressed to even care.

The final straw was seeing that the governor of Illinois has issued a ‘stay at home’ order which means that it will become even harder to get outside and do anything at all. People will rush to the stores, despite his urging that they don’t do it, and they will hoard things so that the rest of us have nothing and they have enough for a six-month apocalypse. I think I am growing cynical about my fellow human beings today.

So today my isolation doesn’t feel remotely “sparkling.” It feels dull and lifeless and enervating.

I have to take a deep breath and remind myself over and over what my mother used to say, “This, too, shall pass.”

Also, I have to remind myself that this is not about me. Everyone is going through their own versions of this hellish dystopian nightmare right now. Maybe that old saying is true, “Misery loves company.” Not that I want anyone to be miserable, but at least in my own funk I know that I am not alone in feeling helpless and out of control.

So today, I just need to enjoy my lovely takeout meal, have a nice glass of wine (or three), and let myself be sad. I know I will be better tomorrow and I am making a promise to myself that I will not allow this situation to spiral me into darkness again. When I feel the edges of that happening, I am going to make a concerted effort to reach out to someone – to hear a human voice – to remind myself that I am never truly alone. We are all in this together.

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