It was unnerving to realise that I feel at home in these times of Corona because it’s pretty much how I’ve spent the majority of my life, under someone’s control, surviving from one day to the next. I have obsessive compulsive disorder or I did until I got a grip on it but it’s serving me well right now. Sure, my hands are a little bit cracked from all the washing but I learnt to counteract the negative effects with some mindfulness and self care. I remember to moisturise and I use mild handwash. I never forget to wash my hands if I’ve been outside or touch my dog and I rarely touch my face unless I’m settled for the night and there’s no chance I could touch something riddled with germs. This could very easily spin out of control but I’ve got to hand it to my first therapist, she really fixed me. Or rather, I did with her help, and my controls are working.
Isolation isn’t out of the norm for me. Surely the last wave of solitude was brought on by nazis and the state, if you can tell the difference, but it’s not the exception rather my default position. Like a mouse I scurried out at points in my life determined to get away from who I was but I always retreated to the safety of my biblical/Platonic cave. Perhaps this is why I don’t seem to have aged very much, I’m not doing and seeing all the things you’d need to for a lived in birthday suit.
As a small child I wasn’t permitted a life, I never had sleepovers or holidays with my pals (or even my family), the first time I left the country I was legally an adult and had run away from home. All the way through my schooling, I left the house at 8am and returned by 4pm at the latest, effectively under lockdown. After school clubs were out, but I pushed against this and became the captain for the quiz team and various sports and only barely managed to get permission after I made the teachers impress upon my father that it would look good on my long term record. Everything was a battle, I couldn’t even get my hair cut though I would later chop off an inch a week and wear it up so granddad wouldn’t notice, but he eventually did and I, predictably, got a beating. I had reasoned in the end I was going to get abuse whatever I did so would make it worth my while. This is how it mostly went until I ran away aged 15 and spent more time in isolation, off school at a critical time, my entire future hanging in the balance, travelling to and from Birmingham daily from London to do my GCSEs. I passed and even got 4 As though might have done a lot better if I’d had any stability. I survived then like I’m surviving now.
Weirdly it feels like the world is on my level for the first time in my life. People understand what it feels like to be so disconnected from everything and grieving for a future we can’t say for certain exists anymore. People are feeling the pain of separation, from their friends and way of life. The sheer mind-numbing drudgery of staring at the same 4 walls day in day out with no escape. Let there never be any judgment of people who are forced to claim disability benefits with the reasoning they CHOOSE to sit at home and do nothing all day. Would you choose this? Oddly I’m having a better time now than I was before Corona, there are people at home and everyone is free to talk, no excuses like work or extracurricular activities to fall back on. It’s brought me closer to my family; I can spend 5 hours just calling each relative in turn and hearing about how bored they are. It’s great.
I, like many of the nations cats and dogs, am grateful for the extra attention and the way it has stripped away the labels we apply to ourselves. Some people (the government) haven’t quite caught on to this yet but as Jeremy Corbyn pointed out the other day, they’ve already proved we have the money and will to make things better for all of us.
It was always doable and now we must insist it is moving forward. No one should be expected to carry on as normal with their financial obligations when their income has been cut off in the best interests of society. Society must step in. People literally cannot afford to sit at home and risk their homes and businesses and if the government doesn’t rescue every last one there should be hell. It is madness that rents and mortgages haven’t been suspended as other countries have done. I can’t blame people for taking the risk if it means they’ll be left homeless or hungry as a result if they do nothing. If more people die it will not be the fault of workers but the government who failed to provide adequate measures.