It’s December 2nd, 2020 and Melbourne has been out of lockdown for 36 days, having been in strict lockdown for 188 days (the harshest of those being 112 days). And I’m still reeling from it. Politics aside, I’m struggling. I feel like I’m jamming what should have been spread across those 188 days into 60 days. And I suspect I’m not alone.
The little things
For me, it’s no one big thing but rather all the little things adding up. It probably doesn’t help that it is Christmas time that is also generally busy or the end of my university year that would always have been challenging. It’s finally catching up with a long list of people, buying things we could’t buy in lockdown, getting tradies in, catching the toddler up on what a farm and/or African animal is in the flesh and oh yeah, some self care wouldn’t go astray either.
Being a well-being practitioner, I am well aware that I do not wish to live in fear. And I guess to an extent I’m not. I’m not fearful of COVID-19 or fearful of loved ones suffering with it. But what I am actively trying to not be ‘fearful’ of is the fact my next interstate holiday isn’t guaranteed. Or that catching up with my family in regional Victoria isn’t guaranteed. Or indeed seeing my in-laws 10 minutes away isn’t guaranteed. Heck, I’m wondering if I’ll be able to get a hair cut in a few weeks. It’s probably not fear, per se, but if I’m honest, there’s panic in there. Which is perhaps driving the need to get everything done yesterday – just in case I can’t… again.
It’s easy enough to discount what we went through because it’s ‘over’ now. But for many of us, it’s far from over. We’re only now suffering the after shocks. Even the busy-ness isn’t distracting us from the trauma we endured. Unless you’ve been through it, it’s difficult to understand just how traumatising it was. And for me, it was more traumatising afterwards than during. Despite somedays during lockdown being unable to get out of bed, feeling like there was nothing to look forward to, it wasn’t until the playgrounds opened and my son went back to school that it hit me just how hard it was. It wasn’t until some relief came that I could appreciate just how much easier life became instantly.
Sometimes I just cry
And sometimes, it hits me, I just start crying. I cry for all the people who are still suffering financially. The ones the ‘system’ didn’t catch. I cry for all the people who needed help but couldn’t get it. I cry for all the people that wanted to help but couldn’t. I cry for all the people who suffered alone. I cry for all the parents going through remote learning and seeing sides of ourselves that we didn’t like. I cry for all the people who couldn’t attend the funerals of their loved ones. I cry for all the loved ones who couldn’t be supported after losing a loved one. I cry for all the families kept apart. I cry for all the people that did whatever it took to survive.
The trauma is real. I hear it when talking to my family and friends. When talking to strangers. We might have all gone through this together, but we have to all heal in our own way. Writing this is part of my healing and I hope you can find a way, too.