This year has been a bit of a cluster-fuck all around, if I have to be honest. 2019 did not end well as it was, and 2020 was supposed to bring hope and renewal. Instead it has brought pain, heartache, anxiety, fear and … horror?
I think those who know me well will say that I am generally a positive person. I’m definitely an optimist. It’s not that I deal with adversity particularly well (I don’t), but I try to move on, move forward as quickly as I can. I don’t wallow. There is no time for grudges or resentments. The horizon awaits.
But, when faced with a crisis of unfathomable proportions, as we are facing now, I can’t just “move on”. There is nowhere to go, both mentally and physically. To avoid the matters at hand would be foolish and dangerous. To not try and plan and prepare for the future is irresponsible. But it’s all a bit too much for me.
I cannot talk my way out of this. I cannot tell myself that as long as I just focus on myself, and my kids, and our attitude, that we will be fine. It’s just not true. The three of us are in self-isolation, and really that is the best that we can do for ourselves right now, given that I am tremendously immuno-compromised. I worry what would happen if I got sick. I worry about Craig in the UK, while also being incredibly angry at him for leaving me to deal with all this crap and not even checking in. I worry for my entrepreneur and freelance friends who are not losing jobs, but are losing income. I worry for my mom, and other elderly friends. I see no way for how we are going to prevent financial ruin at mass scale, and I am petrified I am going to get caught up in it. As a single, not particularly healthy mom, that is terrifying. And I still have so much privilege to draw on. What about those who don’t?
But mostly, I am overwhelmed by the stats. We are projecting 60% infection, with 20% of those as “serious”. 5% will need ICUs. That’s about 7m in a serious condition. About 700k in need of ICUs. Those numbers are INSANE. Usually, I find great comfort in numbers. I like the logic and the clarity that models, formulas and math provides. But not this time. This time, it is literally unfathomable to me…kind of like the dimensions of space, such as distance between stars. Can never get my head around that. But (and this is my glimmer of hope) I know what happens when exponential curves get “broken” or interrupted…or flattened. So please…do everything to flatten the curve!
There were 7000-odd new cases in Italy yesterday. About 500 deaths. I was shattered to think of the doctors, the families, the patients. Patients die alone. There are videos, interviews, personal accounts written and shot from the ground. They are harrowing. They take my breath away. And I am supposed to accept that those numbers will be dwarfed when it really hits our country? No. Just no.
And the casual attitude of SO many people …like my complex neighbours who had a party today…drives me insane. I have no tolerance for stupidity right now, and I see any act that unnecessarily places others in danger as criminal. I’m looking at half of the USA when I say this.
And so I recognise that I am feeling overwhelmed. Maybe not all the time, but often enough. When I was sick, I drew support from my family and friends, who were strong and supportive when I could not be. But there are no “strong” people around us now…we are ALL in this together. We have to draw strength from each other, and ironically that makes us more alone than I am willing to admit or accept. It’s like those oxygen masks in depressurised plane cabins…put them on yourself first, before you help others. But the plane is still crashing.
Like I said, I am usually an optimist. Right now, that’s almost impossible. But I still have a glimmer of hope that someone, somewhere will find and approve a quick fix that will at least halt the symptoms, if not prevent the spread. Just halt the trauma, buy us some time for a vaccine.
(May 2020 update: I am not going to update on this yet, it’s too early. But I do want to say that Craig is checking in now. I’m trying to figure out the new acceptable “normal” for us. It sucks. So there’s that. )