Another marker is reached today, 5 weeks locked inside an apartment!, 5 weeks of grey dull weather and 5 weeks of being constantly bombarded with information or worries around this virus. Today I hear the elevator more active with neighbours in and out, some with family members living close by visiting, patience is wearing off.
I have talked about different realities before but now these differences are starting to be seen in behaviour, patience and mostly negative emotions. Although I live on the outskirts of a town we still have a high chance of being caught breaking any rules of this lock down, many dog walkers have been stopped and checked by police and all over town checks have been ramped up this week. My son working in the centre tells of many tales, he himself was stopped yesterday whilst walking the 1 minute from work to his car checking for a certificate which allows him to work. A supermarket across the street from him has police constantly checking peoples purchases to ensure they are essential items and of quantity, not just a bag of crisps! A co worker was stopped 3 times in his 5 minute walk to his car upon leaving.
What is going on? We think that it is just people are trying to go out a little more as patience is wearing thin. Spain has taken a tough measure with no outside exercise and the weather is getting a little milder and although we still have overcast days and rain we can feel the sun intermittently. This is normally a beautiful time of year before the heat of the summer, perfect time to go for walks or wander around without the need to be in the shade. People with balconies have a short time span when the sun appears for them, like happened to myself yesterday the sun came out a little in the afternoon long after it passed over my balcony. I was frustrated, watching it later in the day and not risking going out, even taking the rubbish out I am becoming increasingly frustrated coming back, I long to just hide and sit somewhere without being spotted.
In another reality friends joke they are happy and not looking forward to going back to normal, too many cars on the roads not getting parked etc. In urbanisations which don’t seem to be checked they can go out when they want, catching any rays of sunshine, walk their dogs longer avoiding the roads outside, talk to neighbours etc. etc. Another reality is also that some have been leaving home and working daily since this started, the only difference to them is no socialising after work, I know some of these people feel left out and would love to spend more time at home with family and do things they need or want to do. The towns and Cities are becoming palpable with frustration! Like I said neighbours today have relatives visiting who live close by, people are starting to take more risks, which is why we are seeing a heavy police presence. Even so I have to say that the police have been truly amazing during this whole time, they look tired now and you can see their own frustrations of having to do this policing of non criminals. They have taken a non authoritarian approach, rallied around with sirens for the nightly applause, tried to stay friendly with gentle warnings, showing compassion for many.
For myself, I am finding that it is a daily long practice to keep an awareness and check on my emotions. I miss my children like never before, like all parents this love is like no other, and the loneliness that ensues is like no other when we dont see them. Even in my case where I have one at home, the loneliness that I feel whilst missing the others is intense, its starting to feel once more like the empty nest syndrome felt years ago. My daughter is in the UK, she was due to visit the week we went into lock down but cancelled last minute for fear of spreading any virus to me, especially flying. This I can half cope with not emotionally but psychologically, I know she is abroad so not an option with no flights, even though I long to see and hold her. I have a son that lives 20 minutes away, this frustration is different, knowing he is so close. He is actually not a good communicator via technology and never has been, strange for his generation but he has always been this way. I get these urges to jump in a car and risk being caught, thinking of the excuses I could make! I am now yearning daily to see him or have a real conversations with him. The psychological reasons for not doing so are wearing off! This virus is going to be around for a while longer maybe even years, but that imminent threat we all experienced in the beginning has worn thin and no longer holding any rational reasoning to not see him.
Maybe this deep loneliness and longing felt when we dont see our loved ones, is happening to the rest of the town and city folk who are now edging on taking risks. I am not sure how much longer people can be locked down like this without it being behind bars in a prison cell. Loneliness is a strong emotion and weakens the immune system, lack of exercise has negative effects on health too. Is it becoming time to think again about this situation in towns and Cities and the long term effects this total lock down is having? I am sure many decicion makers and people outside the towns cannot understand our reality, they are safer and are able to stay healthier through more outdoor time and more social contact even if at a safe distance. I fear that when restrictions start to ease then town and city folk will stick less to restrictions on social contact, purely from being starved of it!
Well sitting here the weather is brightening, so I will leave to take some fresh air and hazy sun on my balcony. Remember that Loneliness and Frustration can weaken the immune system, it is important to take care of these emotions daily and bring yourself back into balance, not letting them eat away at you. Right now I am going to take some time to sit alone, listen to the birds and count the blessings that I do have, reminding myself that this current situation will pass too. I am blessed to have a pet, Crystal my cat is a great connection for my family, we all love her dearly and each carry our own special memories of her. She may not be the most loving of cats but she does sense when I need comfort, sharing her love with a cuddle even if for a short period, unless she is cold of course, then uses me as a hot water bottle!
I will try to fill my heart with joy, imagine the moment I do get to hug and see my children again and think of all the things I would like to do when this is over, but mainly just be truly thankful that non of my loved ones are suffering with this virus. Stay safe and take precautions to protect yourself and loved ones including taking care of your mental health 💜