Being a hermit is supposed to be a bad thing, but it’s made it a whole lot easier to adjust to COVID-19 and the social distancing restrictions.
Over the last year, I’ve really struggled with psychomotor retardation (slowing of movement) with my depression, and that made it hard to get out and do anything. So far this year it’s been particularly bad, so I’ve gotten out for grocery shopping, doctor’s visits, and pharmacy visits, and that’s it. So really, March 2020 in my daily activities has looked a lot like January and February.
It helps a lot that I’m very introverted. I’ve always been very comfortable with my own company. I know that’s not the case for everyone, and while I understand that on a cognitive level, I’ve never been entirely able to wrap my head around it.
I think locus of control matters in situations like this. Isolation due to the pandemic is totally externally controlled; none of us have the slightest degree of control over that. As a longer-term hermit, the control is far more internal. Sure, my illness is only somewhat under my control, but it’s a permanent resident of Ashley-ville, not some outside intruder.
If I were inclined to beat myself up, I might feel guilty about having it so easy during this time that’s so hard for many people. However, I’m generally not inclined that way, so I frame it as something to be thankful for. Sure, going grocery shopping is more of a production and I can’t see my doctor, but I’m very grateful that it’s not disrupting more of my routine and activities.
I get a lot of support virtually, so that hasn’t changed. However, the blogosphere doesn’t feel like quite the same place. Totally aside from the fact that a lot of posts are related to the pandemic, something feels different. Kacha of Food.for.thoughts and I were talking about this the other day; it’s there, but it’s hard to put a finger on exactly what it is.
Something I’m curious about is whether this is likely to get easier or harder, not just for me, but for everyone. And also, if it does eventually get easier, when will peak difficulty levels be? Will this start to become a new normal?
What I am confident of, though, is that we will continue to support one another as best we can, and I’m glad we have this online space to do so.
The COVID-19/Mental Health Coping Toolkit page has a wide range of resources to support better mental health and wellbeing.