Social isolation, social distancing and Loneliness
It will most likely not come as a surprise to you all that I am what folks like to refer to as "an introvert" - this doesn't mean that I dislike social situations, on the contrary, I actually really appreciate being around people I love, and I highly value interesting and stimulating conversations. Often though, I will not be involved, I will sit and listen, and only if I feel extremely comfortable and safe will I put my two-cents worth in. I love conventions and markets, I love the buzz of going to a shopping mall (without the shopping, gahhhhh shopping) and despite the fact that I used to have a great fear for crowds, I have come to actually enjoy the sea of Humanity when I'm in it. If I could afford to attend the Adelaide Show - well - I'd attend every year just to wander around and soak in the vibe.
Yes, I am shy. Not a big reveal.
I enjoy my own company, to an extent. I don't mind being alone, to a degree. I don't get bored easily. Due to my chronic pain, I'm constantly trying to find something for my mind and my body to do so it doesn't slow down to feel the creaks and aches.
I often joke with my parents that I would have been that quintessential author of the oldie days, who rented out a loft in some old manor and every so often poked her head down to wander the beautiful gardens or head into town only to vanish back into her loft like a ghost.
In this sweet little story I would love to say I'd meet a gentleman on one of those little wanderings and get married and finally escape that loft, but, alas, I do not know how my tale goes.
You see, it's been interesting watching and reading as people I know talk about self-isolation and social distancing, about how being an introvert is fantastic because we're totally prepared for this...whatever this is.... And yet a part of me is sad in a way. I often sit on the floor of my office, staring at the pink walls, feeling very lonely. It's a strange type of loneliness, because on one hand, I love being alone - I love the silence, the tranquility - but on the other hand, that silence can be an echo of realisation that I have not said a word to another human all day.
I'm not saying that in such terrible times of a crisis such as COVID-19 that social distancing and self isolation is at all bad because of course we had to flatten the curve. Overloading the medical system would be terrible, and I think doing everything we can to prevent that is obviously what we want to do.
I guess that today I walked into a medical waiting room (for my migraine check up) and the reality of our changed world confronted me. They'd set up a "barrier" at the front desk we could not go over. The waiting rooms chairs were all spaced out one meter apart. The receptionist came in to wash down all the doors and told us that they were no longer allowing for magazines.
It isn't just the fact that before my sister dropped in some toilet paper for me, before my mother took me shopping today, I was beginning to run very, very low on the basics...
Sure, the shops being as they are is very confronting - but actually being forced apart from people in such a manner was very strange and alarming. It made it a reality.
I'm grateful I have my family around me. I got a little scared on Sunday night and did call my parents - being alone can make me feel vulnerable at times (okay, a lot of the time). They reassured me that even if I got sick, I wouldn't just be abandoned. ^_^;
Loneliness is an odd beast. It strikes at the strangest of times and makes you feel the strangest things.
If you do know someone who is alone - maybe just give them a call or a message and let them know you'll still be there to drop the important stuff around to them if they're ever in need of it. Even when all this passes.