Locked down..

I’m not ashamed to say that I’ve found the Covid-19 prompted lockdown really difficult. March feels like an awful long time ago – I’d just finished celebrating my birthday by swimming with Sharks and other marine fish in Skegness as the rumblings of a lockdown began to become reality.

It made sense to make sure I got Ella back home before it became fully reality – with no conception of how long it would be before it would be over, I guess in my head I was thinking weeks rather than months. The prospect was difficult. Working from home took some adapting, and some investment in my office at home, but it has come pretty easy since. Being estranged from my girlfriend a horrible prospect.

Early in the lockdown I tried to make the best and make sense of this ‘new normal’ as everyone kept talking about. Group video calls were reasonably frequent which have now all but dried up, I tried to measure contacting people with not wanting to be too needy, and decided to occupy myself by torturing my Facebook friends with ukulele covers, slipping a few ‘significant’ songs in there as a proxy for not being very good at articulating how I’m feeling.

Live streams from many of the awesome musicians and bands I know and love were a hugely welcome distraction in those early lockdown weeks – latterly they felt hollow and made me miss everything that goes with live music. That’s not to belittle the excellent performances, and some fantastic innovation in being able to still perform. It just began to feel flat for me.

Making my own forays into performing was fun, but of course left with too much time in your own brain I started to worry people might think I took it rather more seriously than I did. I know I’m not a very good singer, and an average-at-best ukulele player, I’m sure people know that I know that, but it niggled at me until I didn’t want to do it any more.

Nobody said anything to make me think that, it was all in my own head.

Relationships have become frayed – misunderstandings or misinterpretations run wild amidst what is a spectacularly stressful landscape, where anyone can be excused for not thinking particularly clearly, and perhaps not getting their communication plan quite right. Work has been a welcome distraction, but at times quite stressful and emotional too – and oddly working remotely can make it more difficult to get respite from that.

Last week I found myself getting frustrated and feeling down whilst trying to present a positive front on Facebook, I can’t stand the idea of being one of those people who whines on Facebook, so I deactivated my account for a while to try to protect my mind a little.

Then I realised if I did that my associated Facebook page for my now one pet parrot Frankie wouldn’t update, I overcame this with a fake profile which so far seems to still be working. That sounds patently ridiculous really, but well, maybe her updates help keep some other person going during their own locked down dystopia?

In wider familial animal news a cherished family pet made her final goodbye today, I wasn’t able to say goodbye to her because of this accursed lockdown. It was the right thing to do to prevent her suffering, and not putting people at risk, but it bites – with Frankie, my nearest thing to a housemate, needing increasing amounts of veterinary care and not getting any younger I constantly worry about her.

Spending as much time as I do now with her stuck in the house I seem to notice endless things to worry about in her behaviour or demeanour – most of which are probably lodged firmly in the ‘in my head’ category, she’s probably just more tired than normal with the extra out-of-cage time she’s been enjoying!

A week into my self-imposed Facebook exile and amazingly I find myself feeling resentful that nobody really seems to have noticed.

Maybe they have, I’ve noticed when people have gone AWOL before and not always reached out to check-in, so I certainly shouldn’t be judgemental if others have the same impulse. I’ve hovered over the reactivate button once or twice, but I’m not sure I’m ready to step back into what can be a really poisonous as well as positive environment – which is counterproductive in many ways as I’m basically further isolating myself when already feeling hopelessly isolated at times.

Amidst all these negative thoughts I’ve decided I really ought to tackle losing some weight, I’ve duly acquired scales and a calorie counting app that syncs with my watch to track exercise too. I’m half a stone down so far, which is a real plus. Or minus I guess! Still a way to go, but a solid start!

Some of the work-related pressures will abate soon, which will make life easier in that regard. Left with a vastly unwelcome amount of time by myself I’ve had ample opportunity to overthink and generate unholy amounts of worry around all manner of things – which generally generates more questions rather than answers.

One thing is for sure, whilst I fully acknowledge having your own space is great, I’m not a fan of it full time. I’m also keenly aware that – by and large – I’ve been one of the lucky ones in this whole drama. I’ve been able to continue working and earning throughout, nobody I know has been killed by this dreadful disease, and for the most part I feel incredibly lucky.

But I also feel incredibly out of sorts, foundations have been shaken and whether they prove robust enough to hold everything up remains to be seen. I’m terribly bad at reaching out when I’m struggling, but luckily enough for me I’ve got an ill-updated blog that gets barely read so it gives me a way of dipping my toe into the water, or at least attempting to put some order to what’s going on in my brain.

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