I haven’t left the house now for almost 13 weeks. It feel like the loneliness and isolation are slowly killing me!
Alison has been coming to visit me in my garden once or twice a week since the end of April. Technically not adhering to shielding guidelines, but when your sanity and life is at stake it becomes a necessity. I admitted to her how I had been feeling suicidal, she had noticed I had stopped responding to messages. Quite frankly I don’t know what I would do without her. She gets my shopping and medicines, checks in with me daily. Buys we little gifts, like a loaf of bread or strawberries and leaves them on my doorstep. Little things that I would have previously taken for granted. Things I would not have given a second thought now brighten my day and bring fleeting moments of joy.
I could not have got through this without Alison and Heidi. Although I am incredibly grateful to both of them, I actually have no words for how much they both mean to me. My real friends and family still do not have a clue, about the depths of despair that I have reached. How sad that the two people that have supported me are my counsellor and my newest friend.
As I mentioned in the Adapting to a life of isolation post no-one seems to get the shielding rules, no-one seems to understand how I feel. I get statements such as “We are all in the same boat”, except we are not, not in my mind anyway! Because they do not have to deal with the daily battles that exist in my head. They have not lost their independence. But they tell me how lucky I am that I have someone to do everything for me.
Actually, yes I am lucky, because quite frankly Alison is one of the nicest, kindest people I have ever met. She means so much to me. But out of choice, I would not be stuck indoors 24/7 for weeks and months on end. I would love to go for a daily walk and am jealous every time I open Facebook and see the photos of the friends daily outings.
What I feel is something akin to physical pain inside. I am lonely, I am sad and I cannot see an end to any of this!
An early morning seaside adventure
For several days Alison and I have been discussing the benefit of my getting out of the house. I miss going for walks, I miss country parks and most of all I miss the sea. So we decide on an early morning escape to the coast.
Alison arrived at my house at 5 am on a dark Sunday morning. How amazing it feels to walk through the front door and leave my house! I have forgotten what the world outside looks like. Sights that I took for granted everyday now have such relevance and importance.
We got into our separate cars; I have not driven for almost 4 months. I have even missed my car, the freedom, the loud music. We set of on the 20 minute drive to the coast. I’m glad it was early morning and the roads were empty, because I was drifting, so urgent was my need to see the world around me, like I never have before.
I was so relieved to see everything was the same, it all still existed as I had started to believe all that I had known had disappeared for ever.
Elation, I felt pure elation! I turned my music up and sang with such a passion, I was outside of my house, I was free and I was by the sea!
When I say the beach, not much of one really but I didn’t care. I jumped out of my car and ran around in a circle with both arms in the air, yelling yes!!! I then made sure I put my mask and sun glasses on, put the hand sanitiser in my pocket and of we set along the sea wall.
It felt so good to see the sea, to smell it, to feel the sea breeze on the parts of my face not covered by the mask. I couldn’t stop smiling. I cannot express how such a simple thing I had been doing for years now made me feel such joy. Never again will I take things for granted. The sea has always made me feel calm. I stood listening to the waves lapping and I wanted to stay there forever. After months of misery, I could not stop smiling, the sort of smile that rarely happens, the sort that shows just how amazing you feel.
It was strange to see a so many other people out so early. I was nervous about them getting too close to me. Whilst I was overjoyed to be out, I was also fearful. I walked at least 2 meters from Alison and would detour to avoid anyone else approaching us. After a couple of hours it started getting busy and I couldn’t wait to get back into my car.
The local area
As we neared home I decided to take a detour, mainly because I was not ready to return to my cell at home. But also I had things I needed to see. I drove to my counsellors – a bit stalkerish I suppose – but I needed to see where we used to meet. For some reason, I needed to know that it still existed and that she was still there. Strange really, because I speak to her 5 times a week.
I then drove all around the local area, I longed to see all the places I usually drive through. Today I wanted to see anything and everything. I needed to appreciate all the sights, to know that it was ok and that nothing had changed. Yes there is a Pandemic, but nothing had changed to the human eye. I finally and very reluctantly returned home.
Never had I felt such joy at a couple of hours of driving and seeing the sea. It made me feel human again, it gave me an element of hope.