Like many extroverts out there, this outbreak is taking a toll on me in more ways than one. There is the constant low level and sometimes not so low level, worrying about my family’s health and financial future. And, not being able to leave your home and have a face to face conversation with a real life person–especially another mother–isn’t easy.
It’s one of those little luxuries we didn’t know we had. As someone who works from home and needs to be alone and have quiet in order to do a quality job, I’ve always been able to get my work done and then go out into the real world. It made me a better mother, and a better person.
I valued the interactions I had with people outside my house
I value my lunches with my girlfriends but if my friends were busy I would go out to eat by myself. And I would make small talk with the people in line at the coffee shop. Chatting it up with my hairdresser and the other women getting their locks done has often been exactly the medicine I need to make it through the week. I just never realized how important those casual off-the-cuff conversations were to my mental health.
Being social, even just seeing other people out and about, especially now that my kids have more of a life of their own, is something that keeps me going.
I’m struggling to connect with others
I’m not sure what’s happened to me during this global pandemic. I struggle to answer the phone and return texts. I’ve turned down several virtual happy hours and Zoom meetings. When I do force myself to attend one, I feel like I have to pull the words out of myself. It’s hard to smile. I struggle with knowing what to say. I can’t pull myself out of this state of mind and it feels foreign to me.
I love hosting girls’ nights at my house. I’ve had a everything from an essential oil party to a sex toy celebration. There’s nothing I love more than going out with a bunch of people on a Saturday for dinner. When I talk to my best friend on the phone, we usually clock three hours, minimum.
When I married my ex-husband he said one of the things he loved about me was how social I was and that I ‘worked the room’ whether I knew anyone or not. There have been so many times at family gatherings I can’t wait for the person who’s talking to be done so I can chime in with my thoughts. My mother has always told me I have a lot to say.
But now, I don’t know what is going on. I don’t recognize this version of me. I have nothing to say in a world where there is so much going on and so much to talk about.
The first week this really hit. As my kids were home from school and businesses started shutting down I was overcome with a tired, heavy feeling. I went back and forth between thinking I’d gotten sick to knowing I was just run down and feeling anxious.
That was a month ago and that heavy feeling hasn’t gone away.
The less I speak to people, the less I want to
The less I talk to my family and friends, the less I want to. The longer I’m quiet the less I have to say. And, I wonder if social isolation is making me less social. There are times I tell myself if I just put more effort into picking up the phone or scheduling FaceTime with a friend, I’ll start to come out of it. But for some reason, I’m struggling to do it. And I wonder and worry whether the “old me” will ever come back.
Or perhaps I’m just need every ounce of my energy to get through this and as soon as there’s more light at the end of the tunnel, my desire to reach out to others will return. I certainly can’t be the only one who is isolating themselves more than they have to without knowing why.
An article in Scientific American reminds us
The coronavirus pandemic has reminded us that human connection can spread illness. But human connection also promotes wellness. Let’s take this opportunity to recognize the importance of relationships for our health and to practice leveraging technology for social well-being.
“Connection promotes wellness,” Yes, I think we know more than ever how true that statement is even if we are struggling to connect right now.
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