• Bella Hickman

Today in Quarantine...

If you've been on social media in the last several weeks, you too have witnessed the wide array of emotional reactions that people all around the world are having in response to the pandemic spread of the Corona-virus. Some are anxious, some are relieved to have time off of work/school, some are job-less and afraid of going hungry, some are angry with the sudden changes they've had to make to their plans, and some are even starting to feel bitterly inconvenienced by the government's stay at home orders.

I've been feeling mostly tired. Exhausted is a better word, actually.

I remember that in February, this was mostly a problem for Chinese citizens. I remember feeling sad about the loss of life, but I also remember thinking that it was just another illness, much like the flu. I remember feeling safe as a 24 year old, mostly healthy American citizen.

I remember the first week or so in March, when the virus killing thousands in Italy. That was when I started to see warnings about the Corona-virus becoming a worldwide problem. Around that time, people started stock-piling supplies like hand sanitizer, toilet paper, meats, breads, canned goods, and cleaning products. Still, it was a worry that I compartmentalized away into the back of my mind. Maybe it would come to America, maybe it wouldn't. Did it matter? 24. Mostly Healthy. I'd be okay.

I remember the seemingly overnight shift in my perspective on the virus after it made itself at home in America. I doubt I will ever forget how scared I was to realize that this virus was something that I would inevitably see close to home. I began to notice that the virus didn't really care how old or healthy you were. I learned that because I have Asthma and have had Pneumonia within the last 6 months, that I was considered "at risk." I suddenly began to fear for my sister, a Type 1 Diabetic. I was afraid for all of my loved ones over the age of 60. I was afraid for my friends who have newborn children.

I began to hurt deeply for people I had never met. I thought about all of the students out there who could no longer go to school, even if it was their only safe place to go. I have had a few of them over the years in my classes, and I know there are so many more out there. I started to ache for the adults who had been furloughed, or would be without a job in the next several weeks. The sad truth of it all is that a staggering number of Americans live paycheck to paycheck, just trying to make ends meet. Someone living like that financially is always one small bump in the road away from losing everything, and the Corona-virus is one beast of a hill.

Today, thousands of lives have been lost in the United States. This disease has even made its way to my small town in North Carolina, and it has changed almost everything about my daily life. That being said, I'm one of the lucky ones, for now. I am an Editor/Personal Assistant, which for me means that I work from home, and I am employed without being considered "essential."

That being said, I still have my worries. I have suffered for years with Depression and Anxiety. Right now, I can no longer go to therapy in person, online therapy is just very expensive, and a lot of my coping mechanisms were built around my ability to leave my house and experience a change of scenery. Plus, I have more to be worried about now than before. I worry for my family, I worry for your families, I worry that people aren't staying home and that this will drag on forever, I'm worried that when this all finally does end, people won't be buying books or art as much anymore, and I'll lose my job. I'm worried about my fiance, who is considered essential, bringing home the virus. My heart hurts thinking about everyone in the world that is hurting worse than I am, and then it hurts even worse to feel like I can't really do much to help. Thus, I am exhausted mentally. I'm finding it harder than normal, even given my struggles with Depression, to focus or motivate myself to do things that are good for me.

So today, I decided that I wanted to make this blog post to tell you that you're not alone! The entire world is experiencing the same tragedy all at once, and it is terrifying. It is okay if you are experiencing everything and processing everything going on around you differently than others. It is okay if you feel sad, angry, depressed, exhausted, unmotivated, bitter, or even hopeless from time to time. It is okay not to hold yourself to an unrealistic standard, given the current state of the world. It is more than okay for you to reach out and talk about what's going on and where your head is.

Each day that I can, I will make a blog post about where my head is, and what I've been up to during quarantine. My hope is that maybe I can make at least one person feel less alone, and maybe, if I can share different things that I'm doing to cope and to keep my family happy and healthy during this time of crisis, one person who really needs the idea will see it.

I hope that all of you are staying safe and healthy out there, and that if you can, you're staying home to help flatten the curve! For now, here is a picture of my dogs to help you through your day:

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