I chatted a bit in my previous post about how much everything had changed in a very short time since COVID-19 hit South Africa. I also spoke about the things I miss. But I didn’t really talk much about my feelings.
When this all started, there was a bit of an adrenalin fuelled buzz about going into lockdown. Nervous energy, I guess. Not knowing if the shops would be fully stocked, but trying not to panic buy. Trying to anticipate our needs for things that we might not get in lockdown. A sense of fear as well, as we saw images in the media of army vehicles rolling into town.
Then the proverbial gates were shut. We were in lockdown. It was strangely anti-climactic. There was an eery quiet outside, but our homes felt safe, and we got busy with doing homey things. We baked. We cleaned. We ate. We zoom called and we house partied. We baked some more and we ate some more and we drank the alcohol we had stocked up on.
Sometimes my thoughts go to the surrealness of our situation, but generally, I feel okay when I am at home. Trips out the house are weird though. I feel incredibly anxious when I am confronted with the realities of the COVID-19 world. Seeing people in masks, wearing one myself, queuing to enter the stores. Standing on the red taped lines 1,5 m apart.
A trip to the doctor’s rooms to obtain a repeat script for meds was particularly upsetting. Seeing the medical staff in their protective gear, the drive thru testing station and talking to my friendly GP about what they were experiencing on the “front line”. I couldn’t wait to get back to the safety of my home.
We’ve found a new normal. Nick and I get up and go downstairs to our home offices. The kids wake up and do their school work from their desks in their bedrooms. Its not a bad routine – especially the later start in the mornings as winter arrives. But every so often, something catches me off guard and I break down and shed some tears. Sometimes it is hearing the headmaster or headmistress at the kids’ schools talking via video message to the kids.
Tonight it was email from Claire’s school to say that when they are ready to reopen, the girls will be issued with navy blue masks and the teachers will receive face shields. The thought of all the girls in masks being taught by teachers wearing face shields breaks my heart. It is moments like these when I feel profoundly sad for old world that we have lost, possibly forever.
I’m not particularly scared about contracting COVID-19 myself but I hope that if I do, I will be one of the lucky ones with few symptoms. I am worried about the virus getting into a place like the care home that my mom is currently locked down in. It is scary to imagine what disaster will follow if someone there falls ill.
I am also scared of the long term economic fallout that this lockdown will cause. We are ok for now. Our jobs have carried on. I am acutely aware that we are the lucky ones and many are in a very difficult situation.
I worry that the business I run on behalf of my late dad will not recover from months of little income. The financial repercussions for my mom and the families that their business supports if we don’t survive will be devastating.
I guess it is safe to say that my head has not been a happy place in recent weeks and I know I am not alone. Meditation helps me, as does journaling. Art is amazing, if I can get being myself to pick up a paintbrush. And when I have been really desperate, I have walked laps around my house. Bring on Level 4, where we can actually go for a proper run on the roads!
How have you been feeling? And what has helped you cope?