Before COVID-19, we had a very different idea of what self isolation looked like. In fact, it's how we lived a majority of our days. Not necessarily by choice, but by being overcome by our mental illnesses. Social anxiety disorder, for one, makes any social setting seemingly unbearable. We're lucky enough to have worked hard on managing our social anxiety and had an amazing community to help us immerse ourselves in a more outgoing setting. Which, if you've ever operated a business before, you'll know is a pretty big part of the responsibility!
We often chose home instead of going out for a multitude of reasons, many including the comfortability of it and being surrounded by things that feel safe instead of unknown. It's a daily struggle we wake up and face. So while seeing everyone else experience self-isolation and social distancing has been enlightening, it's also been a stark realization into how hidden this life is that many people with mental illness silently lead. It's not a fad, or a trend. Pajamas all day or not showering for days isn't a challenge or a choice, sometimes it's all we can manage.
It doesn't offend me to see other people sharing their feelings of having to stay quarantined at home, but it has made me want to shed a different light on it. And let people know that this chaos, overwhelming sensation, and constant unknown is something people (we) live with every single day. The inability to leave the house, get out of bed, access to basic necessities. These are challenges people live through every day. I think this is a good opportunity for people to understand what their friends, loved ones, peers, community can go through on a daily basis. I don't say this to negate what people are currently going through or for any sort of pity. Simply the realization that we truly don't know the ins and outs of those around us and these uncertain times have made it abundantly clear that we have no idea what we've got until it's gone.
COVID-19 and the heightened feelings and emotions around it are even more reason to share what we're going through and be honest about our journeys. This isn't new to us - but we'll all get through this together.