I seem to be using the term “bandwidth” frequently lately. I talk to people about how little patience I have for anything and I keep saying things like “I just don’t have the emotional bandwidth to deal with that” or “I am out of bandwidth.”
The Oxford Dictionary defines the term first in its technical sense, then as “the energy or mental capacity required to deal with a situation.”
Today I am entering the 11th week of this strange dystopian experience. I have never been a particularly patient person, and these seemingly-endless weeks have eroded what little patience I ever had. What I discovered today, however, was another level to this experience.
It’s not hard to understand why I have lost patience with obvious things like stupidity, arrogance, meanness, and judgement. What surprised me today is the fact that I seem to lack the bandwidth to deal with reading anything that remotely references anything negative. For instance, one of my friends got upset about something he read online and posted a message about it. Not anything major nor anything that remotely impacts me directly. Nevertheless, I found myself getting tremendously stressed out and upset – simply because my friend was expressing his stress.
As I thought about my overreaction, I realize that I seem to be going through a delicate period right now where I have lost my personal boundaries. Normally, I am good at shielding myself in such a way that I don’t take everything personally. Now, I seem to be internalizing everything – even things that have no direct impact on me.
This staycation should have helped me relax more, but the opposite seems to be happening. With all this time to focus on my own thoughts, I seem to have devolved somehow. Instead of getting more relaxed and less stressed, I feel like one giant exposed nerve ending.
I now realize why I have been avoiding Zoom calls this week and why I have canceled and/or rescheduled most meetings I had scheduled during this staycation. I simply don’t have the energy available to focus so intently on the screen right now. All I seem to have the energy for is to cook, clean, read, watch DVDs, and sleep.
On Monday I go “back to work” in the sense of commuting once again into my home office. Weirdly, I am almost happy about working again. Normally, a vacation takes me out of town to visit somewhere interesting. Even my prior staycations were focused on doing things outside of the house. This time, I just feel trapped – even more so than I did for the first nine weeks of this quarantine.
I hope that my bandwidth will expand again when I have more external things to take my attention. In the meantime, I think I need to keep hibernating.
It’s only Quarantine if it comes from the Quarante province of France. Otherwise, it’s just Sparkling Isolation.