I have been thinking about this pandemic of the Coronavirus a lot since I have not left home at all. And there a few responses I have seen and have in regard to being chronically ill and higher risk during this.
It is a lot of complex emotions. Obviously, this is a hard time for everyone so that makes it difficult. And the impact will last for some time after the virus is gone. It will leave an imprint.
My empathy for people is going into overdrive. I think with many of us it is. We worry about everyone else. We empathize because we understand in ways people might not realize.
I know what it is like to:
- Have job instability
- Lose my job
- Worry about money
- Worry about bills
- Worry I am going to get sicker
- Feel isolated from the world
And I understand a lot of people do not know how to cope with this fear. I know it is leading to a lot of overstocking issues. I know they do not know what I do: We have little control over things aside from our small portion and our reaction. That life is unpredictable. That downturns happen abruptly in life and we just have to adjust. I know it is taking a toll on a lot of people and their families and I am very thankful our government, in Canada, is helping with financial resources for people who are experiencing financial issues and businesses to help them pay their workers in quarantine.
But we know worry. We know overthinking. And fear. And anxiety. And trying to cope with those emotions and survive day to day with whatever money we have. We understand what you are dealing with more than you think. I know suffering. I don’t want anyone to suffer.
I have a lot of anxiety about a lot of people that are not me. I get I am high risk and I get that I may become severely ill. But I worry about my parents, my grandmother, my family, my friends with children, my friends with chronic illnesses. Because I want everyone to be safe and well. And I want everyone to get through this. And I am terrified to lose anyone. And it is really getting to me. So I am trying my best to cope with that because, again, this is not something I have any control over.
I don’t know if others think this way or not. But 5% of people who get ill will die? I do not like that. At all. I don’t want anyone to lose anyone. I want us all to pull through.
There is some anger when I saw on social media in several places flippant remarks from younger people that ‘only older people and disabled people’ would be affected… so they could do what they wanted and what did it matter?
Like we are disposable. Like always. Like we Never Matter.
My immediate response was anger. And then just sad. Because that is beyond stigma… that is vile. You’re saying my life doesn’t matter as much as yours. That my parent’s lives do not matter as much as yours.
And the chronic illness community has responded to this by tweeting and posting ‘Hey, you mean ME’. And ME. And MY child. And YOUR parents.
And every single one of those lives matters just as much as yours. Some people are at lower risk but not immune. We are social distancing and self-isolating to flatten the curve so that when 20% of people of the ill who are severely ill will have access to the resources they need at the hospital. I should hope everyone wants those resources available for themselves and their loved ones. That is called social responsibility.
And there is the significant point to be made here as the world adapts to a whole vast amount of people working from home…. when we Never could get that accommodation. Not possible, eh? Seems pretty feasible to me when it has to be. I hope that society learns something from that.
What saves me from that anger and disappointment in people
Yeah, maybe some people think they are immortal and some segments of society are disposable. They are what I call dicks.
And yeah people are fear buying which leaves fewer supplies for those who need them and that isn’t cool.
But… Some segments of society have started groups on Facebook to help out their neighbours in need. All over the place. And that warms my heart. That is people coming together. That is people caring about their neighbourhood and the people in it.
And… some stores, starting right in my area, in fact, have started opening early for seniors and disabled people which helps them get the supplies they need before the flood of over stockers. It also helps the social distance some more which is also good.
So you see bad but there is a whole lot of good. I see all these little gleams of sunshine out there… people trying to do good. And it makes me happy to see that. Every bit counts.
Some Gallow’s Humour
With chronic illness, we cope a lot with some dark humour and sarcasm. It is just a coping mechanism.
So I have seen a lot of ‘So now you get what it is like to be isolated all the time‘
I like to think ‘Welcome to my world‘ and ‘Not such a vacation, is it?’
And other similar things. Like ‘I’ve been isolated for years. I am acing this social distancing and self-isolation!’ which is entirely accurate. We do that already. We are skilled at it. We are Master Class.
But we are just being snarky or finding our chronic illness humour in this hard situation. Mostly because of the stigma inflicted on us constantly by society all the time so it comes out in some snark… doesn’t mean we are not feeling all the things I have discussed because we are. We are a high risk for this virus though so let us have our Gallow’s humour. We are far more likely to get severely ill. We will lose people in our communities. People we know. We are trying to distract ourselves and compartmentalize with some humour. And maybe we are less afraid for ourselves than we should be because we are so very used to being ill all the time. Yet we take precautions that we must because we also know we have to do what we have to do. As much as we can. Some of us have to work. Some of us have significant others who have to work. Self-isolation only works when you can do it and if you’re a couple you both can do it… and that isn’t often feasible. Social distancing, on the other hand, is very feasible. Hell, it’s my lifestyle.
Isolated and that really hasn’t changed
A lot of us have pointed out that we already were isolated and nothing has much changed for us.
And it’s true.
I have not been well lately. I was feeling rough with these vestibular symptoms… then I got worse and now had to just do anything. So yeah not really for getting out for any damn thing because it is so damn hard and draining to do. However, I did like to get out socially once a month, at least, as it is healthy mentally and emotionally. And I like to see my friends and visit my mom or dad. Now not even that sort of sucks a lot. But in the end, would I want to anyway? I really am not feeling well. Which sucks balls. But that is just the way it is. And because I really do not feel well I do not think it is a grand idea to go out at all because I don’t think I am at my strongest at the moment to fight something off… when I have asthma and it is going to hit me in my weak spot. So I stay at home. I hope for the best and I worry more about other people than me because I am a worrier… it is in my nature to worry.
It is hard to even clean and disinfect and I know I should be doing a lot of that just because my spouse is out and about every day. But I can barely function as a person. And the severity of symptoms when I try to function is ludicrous really.
What I want
I want everyone safe. I want this over sooner rather than later. But I do not have control over this.
So I will ask:
I ask us all to keep in touch with our family, our friends, our neighbours. Stay connected with them. Make sure everyone is doing well mentally and emotionally. This is insanely stressful for everyone. The healthy. The young. The old. The chronically ill. Everyone. And we should just keep connected in any small way that we can. And help out where and when and if we can.
So let’s all cope the best we can. And keep connected with our loved ones and friends. Facetime, video chat, text, call… just stay connected. It is a good time to just give people a distraction and chat about other things. And ensure they are well.
Just be safe. Be well. Wash your hands! And social distance! And self-isolate, if you can! And just take care of yourself. We all know about our self-care and our hobbies and distractions. We are better equipped than most for long periods of isolation really. As much as that skillset sucks.
And hey if you want to read while at home check out my fantasy fiction!