Editor’s note for this series: Times are weird right now. Confusion. Anxiety. Panic. It’s been a rollercoaster of emotions these past few days. There’s a lot to observe when we’ve been forced to take a long collective pause. For our writers, they are working on their classic vulnerable OOM stories, and they are also bringing the funny, the reflective, and the weird bits we’ve all been experiencing during isolation. This new series, “Isolation Observation,” is meant to bring you into the very real worlds of our writers. Some go deep, some very light, and some in between. We’re all here in this together. xo Alex
I don’t want to do anything. I don’t want sex, at all. Not right now. I don’t want to even be touched. I want to lay still, in a puddle of dirty-water-emotions, and allow myself to feel like I’m sinking to the bottom.
I don’t want to eat, really. But what else is there to do? I’ve learned most things that taste good with peanut butter also taste good with Grey Poupon. Except bananas. I don’t want to clean, but apparently it could save my life. I don’t want to drink, or smoke, but after my sober anxiety becomes too frantic and alive, I need something to dull it down—not to make me forget, but to make me wonder at least, even a little, about something even slightly beyond my current state.
A few days ago, in one of these non-completely-sober afternoons, I saw a butterfly flitting around our bougainvillea. Spring has sprung and brought the creatures out in the yard, especially the ants and lizards, who are throat puffing to find a mate. I thought to myself, Do they know the world is suffering? Does that green lizard feel my anxiety? Do the ants note any change?
I started to think about the birds too, and the seemingly new owl who hoots in the mid-morning hours (or maybe I’m just now noticing him due to my containment). I welcomed the owl to our sweet little neighborhood, nodding my head towards the hooting as if to say, hello neighbor. I thought owls were only active at night and wondered, Is he unable to sleep too? Has his REM cycle been interrupted by panic?
I feel anxious, like I’m starting a new job or school. What’s wrong with me? I feel desolate, upset, unsure, guarded. Maybe even a little crazy, I mean I’m seriously talking to animals and wondering what they’re thinking.
On Sunday, when my husband tried to hug me in the kitchen, I walked around the island, putting it as a barrier between us. Without really realizing I needed to, I felt myself admit that the touching felt…off. “It’s almost like it hurts,” I squeaked. “I feel like I really need to protect myself right now.” In a world where we are being told not to touch, even my husband’s gentle and sweet embrace felt dangerous and unexpected.
Maybe it’s old trauma resurfacing, maybe a bit of depression, maybe my general anxiety disorder perking up. But as hard as I fought these feelings last week, I am trying to give in; to allow myself to acknowledge my discomfort and not shame it away. Maybe I’m experiencing my lowest of lows, at least so far. Maybe my first #coronacry is on its way.
Ugh. I’m in a funk—an at times miserable and yet hilarious state, of feeling like I could explode, implode, and yet slowly shrivel into dust.
When I awoke this morning at what seems to be my new waking time, 3 a.m, without thinking, I rolled over and gave my husband a hug. For a few minutes, he gave me all the comfort I needed. And while my funk is still funky, today feels a little lighter.