How are you?
I’m struggling. I feel like I’ve been writing this in my head for the past four days, but things have changed so drastically every single day that what was in my head and my heart a few days ago is already massively outdated.
Personally, I feel miles behind the positivity and optimism that I am seeing on social media. I have nothing but admiration for the people who have already used the pain to create good, whether that be through volunteering or expressing themselves creatively online. I’m not there yet – but I want to be and I’m going to try.
My boyfriend and I were walking around in what is already a post-apocalyptic south London yesterday and thinking about what these next few weeks were going to be like before this all unfolded. We were going to spend this weekend welcoming Harry’s parents home from there trip to Barbados and celebrating Mother’s Day with his mum. Next weekend, we were going to go to Madrid to get some sun and celebrate the end of the project I’ve been working on for the past 9 months. In less than two months, we were meant to fly to America for a two week holiday to Chicago, New York, and Walt Disney World that we’d been saving for for nearly a year. By all accounts, the next few months were meant to be the beginning of what was going to be a really incredible year.
In reality, we have both been working from home for nearly a week. I’m required to work from home for at least four weeks… and whispers are saying it could be 12 or more. Our trip to Madrid is cancelled, and we can only feel fortunate. We were able to get refunded in travel vouchers, whereas so many others have not been so lucky. We have spent the entire afternoon debating whether we should stay in London or flee to Harry’s parents’ home. After 40 tube stations in London were closed this morning, it is abundantly clear that a military enforced lockdown is imminent. I spent last week stressing that our hard earned trip to Disney World would be cancelled. Now, my fantasies of taking Harry to The Happiest Place on Earth are a distant memory. All I can think about now is that I have absolutely no idea when I will see my family in America again. I am not included in the travel ban as I am a U.S. citizen, but flights are dwindling and I have even read reports that Heathrow is in danger of closing. I visited my doctor yesterday, and she told me the next time I am due for an appointment the office might be permanently closed.
My suffering is an absolute blip on the radar of humanity compared to others. One of my friends had to cancel his wedding yesterday. Another one of my friends has been in lockdown in Hong Kong for two months, only getting to leave her flat once a week for groceries. I am lucky to work for a company with paid sick leave that is able to maintain a semblance of our operations during this time. Numerous friends and family members have no source of income for the foreseeable future. I find myself in a constant state of fear. I am afraid for myself, I’m afraid for everyone else. I’m afraid of how long it will go on. I’m afraid of the mental health implications. I’m afraid of how things will continue to get worse, I’m afraid of what things will look like when this is over.
In spite of it all, I can see the good. Family members that I don’t speak to regularly have downloaded WhatsApp to check in on me. Colleagues with a historically stiff upper lip are softening and expressing concern. I’m not the beam of positive light that I’d like to be right now, but I’m taking baby steps. I start Roaccutane treatment for acne tomorrow, and if all the doomsday predictions are correct, that means by the time we are let out of the house my skin will be positively glowing!
I hope wherever you are in the world, you’re doing okay. Thank you for taking the time to read this, and if you feel like you are struggling, just know that you are not alone! I hope that with time we will all adjust to this new normal and become stronger as a result. I am inspired by the positivity and altruism of those around me (not physically around me because… social distancing), but I think we are all going to have good and bad days in this, so try not to beat yourself up if you’ve got the blues or the mean reds.
Sending love to you all…