Week eleven – them and us.
A lot has happened this week, both outside of my home and in it. Inside the house both my eighteen year old and my eleven year old fell down the stairs, which warranted another necessary trip out for the house, this time to the local minor injuries unit. Thankfully the eighteen year old just had a few bruises (she stayed home) and it would appear there were no broken bones in the eleven year old’s foot (swelling can hide this though so not 100%) but definitely lots of torn muscles and ligaments, which means he’s hobbling round instead of running. But once again the NHS were amazing – we went straight in when I told them he was extremely vulnerable and shielding, the x-ray department was cleared, and the staff were kind and compassionate even in full, uncomfortable, sweaty PPE. I like to think that as a family we are doing the public a service and testing out all of the different NHS settings for you in case you need to know what they are like in the middle of a pandemic (gotta laugh really.) Newsflash, they are ALL great.
This morning I drove the eighteen year old to Cheltenham to collect all of her stuff from university halls. The motorway was busier than I expected, but we saw only the maintenance man at the campus and no one else. Getting there for 8am was a good idea! But it made me sad that her first year at university has ended this way. She was having the time of her life and although it was hard for me not having her here anymore, knowing she was the happiest I have ever known her helped. It’s sad it’s been cut short and that she didn’t get to spend the summer term there having a blast, but like she said, she has two more years to make up for it. Let’s hope that happens!
So what have I learnt this week, amidst all of the ups and downs of life at home and externally thanks to the crazy news? (No, I am not going to mention it, I’ve decided not to talk politics on here, too divisive.) Well, I wouldn’t say I’d learnt so much as come to some conclusions…
- Even though we are allowed to go out for one hour of exercise, we don’t want to, and that’s okay. We have all been out for a walk in the last week, not together, but one at a time everyone has come out with me for a stroll near our home. Trouble is, our home is near a beauty spot (although it’s fast becoming a spot full of rubbish, scorched grass and empty nitrous oxide canisters) and that means people from far and wide all come to party here. Crossing the main road whilst maintaining social distancing is impossible. Cars are racing to get to the river near us, down a narrow road, and it’s dangerous, not to mention scary when drivers stop to call my lovely neighbours who ask them to please slow down, ‘fucking slags.’ People are picnicking where they never have before and leaving a whole load of crap behind. And it makes me angry. They BBQ on the grass and leave large black smouldering spots behind. They are littering and f*ck only knows where they are going to the toilet because the public ones aren’t open. And to be honest it makes my anxiety rocket. It’s horrible to be out walking near people who think it’s okay to not social distance at all. I hate it. I get that they don’t know we’re at the far end of the spectrum for shielding, or that we’ve only just started going out again, but there seems little regard for staying safe round here at times and it makes going for a walk not worth it. I don’t care if people want to come to the river, but I do care if they shit in bushes, take drugs and brush past me whilst they are on their way there after having called my neighbours fucking slags. Just no. They can f*ck off. I’d rather stay at home.
- Following on from the above – I think some people think this is over. And I’m not going to elaborate on this musing for fear of sounding like a judgy cow or wading into talking about politics territory. But like I said above, I appreciate we are at the far end of the spectrum of how closely we have to follow the rules, but I think that even if we didn’t have to shield we’d still be respectful of them. All I will say is, I’ve learnt that I cannot change what other people are doing or thinking, I can only change my reaction to it, and as long as I know we are doing everything we can to keep our children safe then that’s enough for now.
- Social fatigue. You heard it here first (although, maybe I need to Google it before being so bold as to claim I thought of it?!) I reckon this is going to be a thing. (well, not for all the teens ignoring the rules down by the river that I can hear right now, but for the rest of us maybe) It was my middle one’s eighth birthday yesterday and he was blessed to have so many of his amazing friends pop by and chat to him through the lounge window. But my goodness he was exhausted by the end of the day. It was as if seeing so many people and having to make conversation was almost too much. By the time his last ‘guest’ turned up he was almost close to tears at having to lean out the window and shout ‘thank you,’ again. It got me thinking – when we return to normal, will all of our senses be so over-stimulated by touch and speech and smell that for a while we become super knackered by it all? When I think about the difference between how many people I used to communicate with on a daily basis before this all happened to now, then the drop is huge. The mums on the school run, the cashier at the supermarket, the strangers in the street (yes, I’m thinking of the flirting thing again.) There were so many people, even if just for one word or sentence, that I spoke to daily and now it’s pretty much just my children. And maybe my husband when he emerges from his ‘office,’ as well as the odd Facetime, which let’s be fair isn’t the same and is tiring in a very different way. I worry we’ll either have nothing to talk about or will be so pleased to be social and see people that we can’t shut up. Maybe some of you are ahead of the game on this now you’re allowed to be socially distant with one other person? Is it exhausting? Oh, and I’ve just Googled social fatigue, turns out it is indeed a thing…
Social Fatigue occurs when a person is overwhelmed by being put into far too many socialsituations for their comfort, often resulting in boredom or annoyance at those around them.
…maybe I should call it social exhaustion instead…
- I’ve just asked my eighteen year old what she thinks I’ve learnt this week and she’s made a good point… she says I’ve relaxed (believe it or not) since being in A&E and having to take the eleven year old to the minor injuries unit. And she’s right. Most people have been able to leave the house for an hour to exercise and more recently for longer, and I imagine have got used to being around other people and being more confident as the weeks go on and they don’t become unwell. I’m still very much in the early stages of that process and thinking that everyone I pass has Covid-19 and will give it to me just by looking at me. But the more I go out, the more it becomes normal and the less anxious I am. Don’t get me wrong, I am still anxious and I am in no rush to go out for a walk this afternoon for the reasons I mentioned above, but the anxiety around it all is easing a bit. She also noted (she is a wise one) that I’ve spent a lot of my life living with anxiety and so this is somewhere where I am ahead of the game, I’m used to having to calm myself down and know exactly what techniques work. I’m actually sleeping like a baby and haven’t had a panic attack in a while. Is it weird that I’m grateful for this? Grateful that I have been in so many shitty situations that I know how best to handle this one? And know that because I’ve survived worse before then I will do again? I was wondering if the universe was trying to teach me something by sending me so many challenges in lockdown, and maybe this is it? That I’ve got this.
Anyway, I think that’s it for this week, but just to reassure you the news has made me fume. And with the bizarre approach to track and trace starting today I don’t see that frustration disappearing any time soon.
One rule for them, another for us… (dammit I went there after all, sorry.)
Take care x