I have been holed up in my bedroom since Tuesday, the day I was diagnosed with COVID. Actually, it’s our bedroom, S & I, but for ten days, it is mine alone. It’s unsure where I contracted the virus, and it doesn’t really matter; I have it and have to isolate. Fortunately, it seems I have a mild case, with each day bringing a new symptom, so far none of them debilitating. But the one thing I think most everyone can agree on, is that no one really knows enough about anything to know for sure whether this pattern will remain, or if by having it once, I will be immune from here on out.
For me, however, with this required isolation has returned the darkness. The loneliness bears down on me, each day a bit more than the one before. It reminds me of the earliest days after losing A, when I would spend every moment at home intentionally locking out the world. So I’m not sure if it’s actually the seclusion that’s causing this loneliness, or if it is my body and mind remembering the last time I spent this much time alone, and harkening back to those emotions.
S has been wonderful during all this, despite being ousted from the bedroom, and having me commandeer his laptop so I can at least continue the coursework for my Master’s degree. He dragged in an armchair and ottoman so I would have a place to perch besides the bed, and a TV tray upon which he periodically (and quickly) places food or drink for me. He stands at the end of the hallway to talk to me, or brings his office chair for lengthier conversations. He has been trying to keep my spirits up, but they are flagging anyway. How can I explain that my mood goes deeper than simply coronavirus quarantine, when I barely understand it myself?
There have been moments of lightness – phone calls, an Amazon-delivered book sent from a friend, several group texts with various social circles, and messages from S in the other room asking if I need something – but I’ve been surprised at how difficult this has been. I’m not generally one to shun solitude, believing alone is not the same as lonely. Perhaps it is the forced aspect of this isolation that troubles me. And the lack of human touch. The pets have surrounded me all week, and for that, I’m grateful. But it doesn’t measure up to a giant hug from someone who loves you.
I’m certain this is merely a blip from which I will soon recover, and I’m trying to make the best of it in the meantime. But until I can hold S’s hand or snuggle up next to him watching old episodes of The Mentalist, I’ll be fighting back the gloom so it doesn’t take hold again.