Today is the day! I have almost made it. I can’t wait to step outside and see people. Or just to drive, walk around, text my friends—anything!
Today, probably knowing that I was going to be able to leave my house eventually, put on makeup and a real outfit. I also did some yoga and tried to work out as best I could. I’m feeling less lethargic knowing I have an out.
But I can’t help but think, what if this wasn’t the end? What if this went on for another week, a month, a year? I would be so irritable, so despairing. I would run out of food for sure. I would have to really force myself to do things like get out of bed or clean.
And maybe this is how homebound people feel when they know someone is coming over to socialize. Maybe they do get a wave of motivation or a feeling of anticipation. All I’m doing is going to work, but I can’t wait to chat with coworkers.
It doesn’t help that despite the cold, it looks like a beautiful day outside, and I won’t be able to really bask in the sun.
Loneliness is real. I did have a flip phone. I called my mom, my grandparents and my best friend from home (these are the only numbers I know by heart). My grandparents were so excited I called, and I was just as excited to talk to someone. I try to call them often, but I’m normally so busy that I don’t talk long. But this time we talked for a while.
It’s also really refreshing to call a friend instead of text. I feel calling will become a lost art. But talking to a friend on the phone is so uplifting. It makes you feel happier.
I realized how attached I am to internet and technology. Part of it is for my job, and the other part is just pure social dependence. It’s a bit crazy. I look back 10 years ago and know that we weren’t like this. It’s crazy how much can change and what our definition of “feeling connected” means. I think people experience loneliness even when they do see people often. It’s not just a physical thing.
My main takeaways are that loneliness is real. It’s real, raw, depressing and difficult. It affects your mental state and your physical state. I experienced some effects, and there’s no telling how those would have progressed if I had been isolated longer.
That means we really need to reach out and spend time with people who are homebound, alone and lonely. It’s the very least we can do. Humans live for social interaction. And when that’s limited, we become depressed. Human interaction invigorates us, more so that interaction through technology. IT’s talking and interacting with people I crave, not my phone!
Isolation Week: Stephanie Haines' handwritten blog for the final day in total isolation.