Adapting to a life of isolation

I’ve been shielding for 4 weeks (haven’t left the house for 8 weeks) and COVID-19 is seriously affecting my mental health!

Saying that I am riding an emotional rollercoaster that never ends is an understatement, but it is the closest description I have.

I can’t stop watching the news, the daily cases and death counts have become an obsession. COVID-19 has taken over the world and it has stolen my independence! At breaking point with the shielding rules I gave my husband an ultimatum, stay home or move out. I work in the spare bedroom all day, then go to my bedroom to read, watch TV and mostly just sit and sob.

Work is the only thing keeping my sane! Luckily I‘m able to carryout my usual workload remotely.

My husband is going to be furloughed, so we only have to continue to social distance in the home for another two weeks. I literally cannot wait until we can live “normally”.

Unable to get food shopping

We had’t been inconsiderate panic buyers and had virtually no supplies in. When we had tried to go shopping most of the shelves were empty. If we were both going to shield neither of us would be able to leave the house, how would we survive? It was impossible to get a delivery slot and I could not get the large supermarkets to recognise my shielding status, they were awaiting details from the government. A no win situation that was incredibly frustrating. The supermarket website allow you to register if you are over 70, yet despite being even more at risk than the older generation group, I am unable to get access to delivery slots and I feel despair.

Amazing acts of kindness

I made contact with someone who lives close by (Alison). We are in contact via social media however we haven’t actually spoken or met in over 30 years! I find it hard to ask anyone for help, yet here I am asking someone I hardly know, to help me with shopping. But she replied yes of course and sent me her phone number. She arrived at my door later that day with potatoes, tinned food and pasta. I have no words as to how grateful I felt.

She is just such a lovely and kind person.

No-one gets the shielding rules

I am finding it hard to communicate with anyone at the minute. Facebook is full of people complaining they can only leave their homes to exercise once a day or to get essential supplies, I am not even able to do this! I have gone from being an independent woman to overnight being totally dependent on others for anything and everything I need.

Friends and family who have messaged insist I have misunderstood the social distancing rules and I am allowed out. They cannot grasp the shielding rules, they haven’t read the guidelines and why would they?

The hardest conversations are with family, who not only insist I do not need to shield, they are adamant only older people are at risk. How did I get a letter and their dad didn’t? Why do I think I am at risk? I feel hurt, sad and alone, it feels like no one understands how I feel. The loneliness and the isolation are suffocating me and no one cares. Everyone has their own struggles with getting through the lockdown.

And so I kind of retreat further into my world of isolation. I received a message from my counsellor to say she was still feeling poorly and will be unable to speak to me for the third week running. She suggested a ten minute catch up, I wanted that so much but I felt bad so declined the offer. I want her to recover and I felt her need was greater than mine – despite feeling so isolated and lonely.

The loneliness is killing me

Day after day I finish work and feel lost, not much you can do when you are living in your bedroom.

I feel intense sadness that most friends have not been in touch and those that have insisted we are all the same boat – which isn’t how I am seeing it. I am torturing myself with all the posts and pictures on Facebook, people out enjoying their daily walks. The whole Country it appears are taking to walking. I love walking especially a coastal walk or a lovely country park, but now my only view is from the inside of my home. I started to feel angry, resentful at the loss of my freedom.

Every day feels so long, I miss seeing people, and I realise I am not the loner I always thought I was. I crave talking to someone, anyone. The sadness is the worst I have ever felt. The only person I can speak to is my husband, and every time we speak it rapidly descends into an argument. He is  quite happy, no work, sat around in our front room watching TV. I haven’t sat on our sofa for almost 4 weeks, there are so many little things that I have taken for granted and now I miss them terribly.

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