Isolation, fear, and community

This post is going to get personal.

I came across the below tweet from an old acquaintance and it resonated quite deeply with me.

That daily existential terror? Yes, that’s my baseline too.  And then there’s the agoraphobia. A lot of people think this means a fear of open spaces or being outside. Actually it’s where the person perceives the environment to be unsafe with no easy way to escape. (As always, you can read Wikipedia for more detail https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agoraphobia).

I’m seeing a lot of folks struggling right now, unsure how to handle the fear, the panic, the concern, and as someone who’s managed those feelings for a long time all I can say is just remember to breathe. Be kind to yourself. It’s not a bad thing to have those feelings, and sometime you just need to stop and let yourself sit with them for a moment.

I’m leaning towards a low risk approach and have already begun limiting my social interactions. Myself and one of my housemates have what we’re fairly sure are just horrible colds, but we’re keeping at home and to ourselves just to be sure. Our third housemate already has chronic pain and we’re feeling protective of her too. All three of us live far away from family. Mine are in Australia. Both my mother and father are in high risk categories, and my youngest sister is due to give a complicated birth in April and we already know the infant will require hospital time. Sometimes the fear is real and justified. Sit with it. Breathe.

I’m in a long distance relationship. My partner lives in London. We were due a visit at the end of this month but are aware this is not likely to happen. Sit with those feelings. Let them be.

I’m making hand cut and drawn cards and care packages to post to my loved ones and friends. My sisters and I have been making more of an effort to overcome the time differences and chat online. A friend and I have been chatting on Discord while co-playing games on Steam. My housemates and I are connecting with our neighbours to offer support and supply runs. Yes it is difficult right now. Yes we are all experiencing a bundle of emotions. This means that taking time to care for ourselves and to provide acts of care for others is all the more important. Even if that act of care is just staying at home. Chatting online with a friend. Or sharing a lighthearted video or gif with your online community.

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