Isolation anxiety.

Isolation anxiety.

It’s a funny thing being in isolation. As a child it is used as a form of punishment in school. Being sent outside or to a room for the day to be alone in the hope that you fall in line with the rest of the children. And now… it appears to of become a way of life. I guess in some ways it is still a form of punishment. Because the world would not listen to the powers that be it has caused the sad spreading of the corona virus (covid-19) at a catastrophic rate. The advice was simple avoid non essential travel wash your hands and keep two metres apart, It really wasn’t that much to ask of a human.But that’s the thing about our species is we seem to have this function where we can choose whether we listen or not. Of course many people listened. Many of the elderly and the vulnerable self isolated and practised social distancing. But as always, some people just can’t take no for an answer. The restaurants had to shut, then then leisure centres which then spiralled to all public places to meet up such as museums, library, play parks and shops that are non essential. Now we are forced to stay home unless your job cannot be done from home or safely (unless your a key-worker). We are however permitted to leave the house for medical reasons or to shop for essentials. Fortunately as it stands we are aloud out for one form of exercise. However there are still plenty of people who are not listening. Who are making trips to the shops to buy paint or standing on street corners treating this another bank holiday. People are loosing their jobs day by day because of this disease and the longer people ignore advice the longer it will drag on. I am still seeing people visiting family and friends or having bbqs in the garden. People are also flocking in supermarkets getting to close for comfort to buy an Easter egg and no essential items other than that much needed product. The longer people carry the virus to households the longer this goes on. You may not know you have the virus or of already had it and be a carrier and spreading it to have a quick conversation with someone. Does everyone else in the world think we are all choosing not to see out family and friends for a laugh? Like we enjoy saying i can’t see you i might make you ill or you might make me ill.

Being in isolation has been quite hard. It’s hard for everyone but being a mother it makes it just that little bit harder for me personally. My son is almost two and a half years old and i am a stay at home mum. I am used to staying in some days but not all the time. Me and my son and my whole family really have very active social lifes. When i first became a stay at home mum after returning to work for ten months i spent quite alot of time alone at home and at the time i suffered quite heavily with post natal depression. I found that what helped me was socialising often be it seeing friends of family and making an active effort to get out of the house to attend groups or see others. Now that we have to stay home and not go out or mix households it takes me back to a time where i felt so alone. Obviously i have my son and husband (When he is not at work) and they are all the company i need but at times it’s hard to not be able to go out and see and speak to other human beings. Humans are really social creatures and i think that is why i struggle so hard with not being able to go out much. Being in isolation has been quite hard for my little chap too. He is asthmatic (as am i) and we are trying to stay in as much as possible. It is quite hard having to tell him every day he cannot see his friends and his nanny and granddad. Every morning he wakes up and tells me he wants to go swimming or to the park or to soft play and i have to keep saying no he can’t right now. Hes to little to understand which in some ways is a blessing but in other ways a curse. Luckily we face time a lot of friends and family and he is happy enough on there for a few minutes and can at least see their faces. However when the call stops he wants to see them and gets quite upset. I am trying my hardest to try and come up with fun play ideas everyday to bring him some excitement and structure to our days to prevent us both going mad. I have been making my own learning tools and arranging toys in ways to make them more fun but i am now getting to that stage of burnout when i can’t think that much anymore. You can see some of these play ideas on my Instagram page under the play ideas highlight.

We are still able to go for a walk a day but i am really struggling some days now to want to go for a walk. Unless others in the house want to go for a walk i really don’t feel up for it. Of course when i am out i feel glorious my worries fade away and i am unplugged from the world for a moment or two. But it’s hard to have the energy when you have started to fear the outside world. I think today my plan will be to go for a walk. I want to get Elijah to have some exercise other than online fitness videos for kids and enjoy leaving the house for a little while. Before restrictions i would take elijah to the play park behind the house for a kick about and trip to the play equipment but now its shut he wont understand and i don’t want him getting upset and me getting stressed from a oncoming tantrum.So it looks like i will have to walk a extra 15 minutes to the local meadows to get some fresh air so that means lugging the buggy as someone will not walk too long by himself.

The thing about social distancing i’m not enjoying is the worry that anything or anyone could carry the virus and that when i am visiting a shop for essentials that i am going to pick it up from a trolley, or the food i but or someone standing that bit too close to me. I went shopping for the first time in weeks the other day and i felt a panic attack coming on in the que to buy my shopping. The shops have changed and have lines on where to stand and que (not everyone listens) people wear masks and gloves and everything’s a little bit more stressful. I felt overwhelmed buying things as i was doing a big shop to avoid trips to my local little shop because i felt like i was being judged even though i brought everything i normally buy and less than that. I felt i was judged for everything i put in my trolley and wondered if someone would judge the gingerbread men kit i put in my trolley to entertain my son one day. The reduced tills meant i had to rush loading and unloading my shopping with others looking at me. I felt my heart beating faster, my hands getting sweaty and my eyes filling up and feeling hot. i spent every minute of my shop apologising to others and feeling really overwhelmed. When i got home i felt safe and like a weight was lifted off my shoulder. I’m starting to get anxious about leaving the house and passing people in the street and worrying in case i needed medical care for my pre-existing conditions and have to be around other sick individuals.

There is also a lot of mum shaming at the moment. Mums are telling parents to not teach their children whose schools have been closed and sent home with learning resources and expected to learn from.There are also parents shaming people for not doing enough. Who the hell cares what other parents do to get through this crisis. So long as your child is happy and perhaps learning something it is better than nothing. We have enough on our plates without others telling us how to raise our kids and the anxiety from posting a photo on Instagram of something that may upset someone because your either watching cbeebies or doing a puzzle with your kid.Like get over it. Mind your own damn business while your self isolating because hate is just going to make it worse.

I’m starting to realise my depression is creeping back. This may be because i am left with a lot of my thoughts recently or due to the under stimulation of being stuck in everyday without face to face socialisation. I’m becoming more tired and not wanting to do as much again. This may be due to the fact i had james home for a week and had help parenting and now i’m back to being alone monday to friday 6-5. Single mothers out there i salute you and take my hat off to you because it isn’t bloody east having nobody there to help. I am due to try a new high dose relaxant that helps with anxiety from pain management at the hospital and he said it works as a anti depressant so hopefully i’ll feel a bit better when taking it because the loss of sleep with this experience isn’t doing me any favours either.

So today i don’t have any tips really on how to get through isolation anxiety because really i don’t know myself how to get through any of this either. I don’t think anyone does. I think what is important is that we use this time to strengthen family links within the home and outside. Drop a few texts, make a few face time calls and even send letters. Ask others how they are doing and also take notice of who doesn’t ask how you are back. You will soon realise who really does have your best interests in heart and cares about you as much as you care about them and in some ways this is therapeutic too. Try is you can to enjoy your house, rearrange things and tidy things and organise your living space. Try and take in every part of your home remember what each bit of furniture brings to you in memories. For example i remember sofa shopping with my friend and how we laughed trying every sofa in the shop. I remember buying too many pillows to fit in the shopping trolleys with james and elijah looking like he was in a pillow fort, I remember buying every bit of my furniture and its memories that will last forever if i choose not to forget them. Stop seeing yourself locked inside but instead safe inside your home (if you feel safe) you are safe from the virus if you stay home. Remember that this will one day be over it will have to be the world won’t stay closed for ever and shops and restaurants will need to open again. One day soon you will step onto the front step shut the door breathe deeply and smile because the world once again is your oyster. You will no longer take a coffee with friends for granted, you will enjoy a trip to the theatre feeling each bit of emotion that little bit more understanding all these actors sacrifice to bring you that show.You will never again think of any trip outside of your house as a wasted day and see the world as more beautiful then it ever was before.