Tuesday 24 March 2020 11:10 am
It feels strange to be so deeply grateful that the free country I’ve called home all my life is in almost complete lockdown. But I am. It won’t stop all of the stupid selfish people, but it will stop some, and that means that those I love – and I – stand a slightly better chance of surviving than we did yesterday.
I’ve wondered, over the most recent days, if having ADHD at this time is a real curse. I’ve felt so alone in seeing ‘the big picture’, all the gathering storm in pin sharp detail approaching from all around us, while others seemed able to cling on to the certainty that everything would be fine (or maybe a bit of a nuisance now, but all cleared up by June). I felt like the child playing musical chairs who had no seat when the music stopped.
Everyone else’s focus seemed to be on ‘knowing’, or thinking they did, exactly where they were, while outside their narrow field of vision, the chairs were bolted to the floor, the seats were smeared with super glue, and the fire alarm was about to sound…
They had no idea how lucky they were, all those people who were spared the anxiety of seeing the approaching storm. I can’t though, help but wonder, if only more of those in charge had ADHD wired brains, we might have been safer, sooner.
It’s academic now. I’m shutting all the websites with stats and forecasts – keeping those with real verified scientific facts and advice that I may need to check from time to time in a list of links that I visit only when it’s absolutely necessary to do so.
I’ve let myself become exhausted with caring about the world. Now I have to care for myself.
Keeping the world out now is my priority.
I know I’m lucky, and being ‘home alone’ in itself doesn’t feel like a hardship at all (only knowing I must not see the person I love most of all – that tears at my heart, but I do it because it helps keep us both safe). Somebody told me the other day to imagine myself in my favourite place, and seemed a little taken aback when I immediately laughed and replied, “I’m in it.”.
It’s what’s outside that scares me.
I wish I had a garden that wasn’t so vulnerable to other people. Today for the first time I’m keeping Jessie indoors, and will be doing so for days ahead. Until the child who lives opposite stops kicking her football in the street and across to my garden, and until any remaining danger from it and her being there has passed. Jessie hates being in, and so do I, but the threat is too great, and the risk that the child is unknowingly carrying the virus is too real.
So we are indoors, looking out on the sunshine, and I’m starting to plan our new life. I’ve begun what will become, I’m sure, a huge colourful sanity saving project of thinking of all the people and things I love, and have loved, in my life, and all the things that I’m grateful for. I’m writing each on a post-it note and sticking it wherever it will stick and be constantly in my line of sight. At the moment that’s on mirrors, and the now forever dark screen of the lounge tv that stopped working last week. I’m aiming to include walls but need to find a better non-permanent glue; luckily I have a lot of mirrors, the small space dweller’s best friend.
I have hundreds, maybe thousands, of books – and, I just realised, the time to count them – and cupboards full of art supplies. The tiny old tv from the bedroom now sits very cutely in the corner of the lounge, and of course tv and so many other options for entertainment are available online. I have cupboards that need turning out, at least two years’ worth of filing, and a LOT of tidying to do. With literally no spare space anywhere indoors or outside, it will be hard to de-clutter because there’s nowhere to de-clutter to (and not even space outside for a tiny incinerator, let alone a bonfire), but while we still have bin collections, I will see if i can do at least some throwing out.
And though the friends I am blessed with are far away, they come and visit through the magic of the internet and video calling and virtual meeting rooms, so I’m not really alone.
I would really like to survive, and am desperate for those I hold closest to my heart to survive. Nothing else matters right now. If I only have sardines to eat and have to drink tea without milk, I care not. I can even jiggle and air dry to save toilet paper!
Losing what I hold dearest to me is the only thing that makes this so hard to bear, and the child in me just wants to cry and grieve from morning to night. So just as all the parents worldwide are doing, I have to distract that child, give her fun things to do, let her be silly, let her dance and sing very loudly, tire her out so she will get the sleep she needs to stay strong, and feed her as well as I can with what I can find.
I have to be my own parent now. And fight fiercely for my own safety and survival, just as I would for my child’s (and do for Jessie’s), while ensuring that the child who survives is even happier, even stronger, even more knowledgeable and skilled, and never, ever, this scared again.