Did you know the effect that isolation can have on humans? As someone who has been pretty isolated… googling this at 3 am was probably a bad choice. I wanted to know if it was just me going insane or if there was proof… it turns out there are a ton of studies, even before the pandemic. (also briefly touched upon in Paris Hilton Documentary) If you are still very much isolated, I wont list them… but if you want to learn more .. heres an article and ofc there is my favorite thing of all time.. GOOGLE.
I honestly wrote this post for 3 days and somehow accidentally deleted it.. so forgive the lack of eloquence. But we are 8 months into this pandemic, and I really would like to see everybody stop being such Pandemd*cks. BUT while life has changed for (almost) everyone, everyone is in a unique experience and has a unique perspective. Everyone copes differently. This is coming from my perspective, and there are very few people I know in the same boat who share the same sentiment. I am not writing this for sympathy. But as someone who always tries really hard to understand where others are coming from… I also know sometimes you can’t truly get it until you go through it. OR it is really laid out for you… if anyone reads this, I hope it can change their perspective or help them be there for someone who is struggling. (or hi maybe we can be friends) We all have so much to deal with… but lemme take you through the mind of someone who has been alone… and what it feels like (I promise the conclusion is less ME)
(background) I live alone, and I work(ed?) in music. The day ultra was cancelled I knew life was never going to be the same. And – as someone who works with crowds and artists, and who has also watched every medical show (there is always a new coronavirus plot), I thought who better qualified to help than people who work with artists. Everything is impossible, and emergency, yet you always find a solution. And in the beginning I hit the ground running, with hope that we could do better than the countries hit before us. I was communicating with the FDA, the CDC, the red cross, heads of ERS, and as a result, knew way too much about the virus. My anxiety (though valid) was definitely higher than others I knew. I was in a place of realism, and with everyone I know, love, and care about (my circle mostly exists in the live touring space) having their lives flipped upside down, I couldn’t take this lightly. In the beginning we were “all in this together”. Everyone was on facetime, checking in. As reality set in that this was going to be more than 2 weeks, people started to expand their bubbles slightly. I didn’t have one. At first, it was okay. I had more than enough stress with extra work and less pay, and really, I just saw so much help that was needed.
(TW- briefly mentions the protests)
Then the protests broke out… and my eyes were opened even further. While I have struggled with capitalism for a while (another day)… I didnt realize how much of this was rooted in racial opression. (and I straight up pulled up old school assignments, re-took AP tests – our education system is an abomination but so is everything…anyways… back to the topic… ) As those calmed down. our original charitable outreach had to shift as programs opened up and it was no longer as controlled to bring supplies to the streets..(and we could mail to shelters). I started to strictly quarantine. My dad is sick and I knew that I would never forgive myself if I was not able to get back home. AND I wanted to be in a place where someone could trust me to meet up. BUT every concrete plan I had fell through (understandable). Logistics kept changing with my family – out of my control – and there was a point where I did not leave my house for 60 days. If I didn’t reach out to people, I didn’t hear from people. And everyone who said they would call didn’t. (totally understandable) but it gets to a point where it feels healthier to not reach out, to endure that rejection. (While its not intentional, when you are alone with your thoughts in one space for 7 months… everything has a warped perspective). Eventually I drove across the country and back…after the hardest 6 months of my life… all I wanted to do was be with humans. And I asked for help. I am completely understanding that everyone is going through stuff. And knowing that someone has been through it is alot to “handle.” But to be there for someone who has been alone does not mean you need to take on their problems…
Those of us who have been in this alone (there are a very few people I know in this spot, though geographically it is not logistically possible for us to meet up), and we have shared similar sentiments.
We have spent 7 months following the rules. But at a certain point of course, it is no longer sustainable to live like this. We are scared that everyone has created this “new normal” bubble of peace. We don’t want to disrupt it, and the last thing that we want to do is be the factor that brings covid or stress around. But we have not seen people. We have not done things and gotten adjusted to the fact that certain activities are very low risk. We want to be able to go and do things normally but – human contact is now something foreign to us. I have had very limited contact with people. a few one hour meet ups – and to be honest – I AM WEIRD. I AM TOO MUCH. AND BEING AROUND PEOPLE NOW ADDS AN EXTRA LAYER OF ANXIETY. AND THATS WEIRD AF FOR SOMEONE WHO IS USED TO BEING SURROUNDED BY PEOPLE AT ALL TIMES… ITS A STRANGE “CULTURE SHOCK,” TO BE AROUND HUMANS. IN A OMG I NEEDED THIS OVERDRIVE AH IM SAYING TOO MUCH BUT IDK SOS And while we don’t expect anyone to adopt us for two weeks. The one hour omg I totally fucked up everything and was annoying + the 14 days of anxiety (incubation period) + the craving to be with humans again that isn’t possible… is alot to handle.
For those of us who are alone, We have not had a roommate go to work, or go to the grocery store, or go to dinners, and gotten past the fact that those essential activities are okay, this is safe. Yes we see people doing it but we also see people getting sick. We see the numbers going up, so are hesitant to go out now. I have not to the grocery store in case I can see someone. I don’t want to accidentally expose someone. Half the internet is living with no worries. Yet I have a panic attack at the post office (and hear someone else say omg this is the most people i’ve been around im freaking out… which is so reassuring shoutout stranger im sorry you felt that way)
We know this Isn’t completely rational… but at the same time… if we have been alone this long…and we have to beg to be included… and then go back to days of no contact –> is it worth our life?
We know we will be on our own if we are sick. Part of us doesn’t care, but the other part of anxiety is … will this really be worth something that can impact me or WORSE THEM for the rest of (our) lifes? To be with, and know that you matter to the people you are seeing… you no longer care about your personal safety.
But when you feel as if you have to remind someone you exist, you give up on trying.
Also – if you have never been depressed – the last thing anyone who is depressed wants to do is go for a hike
Ways to be there for your friends that are Isolated — that do not Involve adopting them for 14 days
- Let them know your plans for essential errands and include them
- set a goal together –> send updates (an art project, cooking, writing, really anything…)
- spend a day on FT even if it is on mute while working – just being with someone can make a huge diff
- send a daily meme or a text, send a letter
- check in regularly – checking in can be a note that you are thinking of someone – a memory – it doesn’t need to be “how are you” because honestly we probably don’t even want to talk about it. We
- Let them know your group plans, your precautions, and what you expect them to do if they join.
- GET THEM OUT OF THEIR HOUSE/ HEAD IF YOU CAN. yes it seems silly but literally walking out the door can be the hardest part
ALSO – We have cancelled “How are you?” But we haven’t replaced it. On work calls, and a few social calls, I have had this conversation many times. Everyone talks about the 2020 bingo card. BUT the amount of times I have said (half to avoid the question, and half bc its true) “we all need a card that explains all of our trauma so we don’t have to repeat it 1000 times and also everyone knows where we are at and what is triggering. So F it. I made it. If you don’t need it thats great. But if you want to support someone you are not close with, don’t know how to reach out after a long time. Here’s your hall pass and your wildcard. I know I am not the person who can normalize these but I hope someone who is does.
Also – please listen to people when they are struggling. If they dont want to talk about it – dont push them. Lead a convo with a topic that isnt about the news or culture. If someone has been alone in their thoughts, even with all the therapy, methods, etc in the world, its really hard to think about anything else. simply bc there isnt “random exposure”
Anyways this was written WAY better but I hope this helps someone… and also not trying to harp on all this again. Note to self- copy and paste before trying to format images