It is now 6 weeks since I went further from home than just outside my front gate to place and collect my dustbins. This is having a number of impacts on my mental health and thoughts, many of which I am sure I do not fully realise or understand, and some of which I suspect I may not notice for some time.
As I have said before, I like being at home. I am happy here and I have plenty to keep me busy. Other than going to work and to do the occasional errand like shopping, I did not go out much even before lockdown. Ironically, we had booked to go to a concert in April as an effort to start going out and enjoying ourselves a bit more. Hopefully the rescheduled date in September will be possible, but who knows!
There is, however, a big psychological difference between choosing to stay at home and having to stay at home. As an anxiety sufferer, I generally like to have plans B, C and D at least in place for all eventualities. In many cases, or so it seems at present, these would involve popping out to buy something! I know that I can still order pretty much anything online, but that comes with a delay, sometimes a significant one.
Another issue is people coming into the house. When we had to have an engineer visit to fix the boiler, I was extremely anxious until I had completely cleaned everywhere he had been, and did npt fully relax until a week had passed after his visit with no Covid symptoms showing. We now find ourselves with no working oven. It is insured and I could have somebody fix it easily, but is preferable to me at least to improvise around it rather than deal with the stress of someone coming into the house again at the moment. It’s amazing what you can cook in a slow cooker when you have to!
A more philosophical question takes me into the realm of Schrodinger’s cat. I can see that in the view from my window the world looks much as it always has, with a few less people moving around. But I find myself in the same position as the NASA scientists looking tat the photos from early probes to other planets with no capacity to move once they had landed. You are forever wondering what is just out of sight that you have no way of seeing.
So is the next street still there? Are the shops around the corner still open? Indeed, does the rest of the world really exist or is everything on the TV news a clever simulation? Of course, the rational part of my brain has a very good and simple answer to this, but my head is also very good at doubting myself and just about everything else really, and the rational part of my brain is becoming an increasingly ridiculed minority.
I have never been in the position where I could not go and check things out for myself, and I have never stayed in the same very small area for anything like 6 weeks. Many others are in the same position I know, and I suspect that, not for the first time, I am thinking too much about the wrong things. But if I had only a modicum of control over where my thoughts go I would be a very different person….
So my conclusion really is that I cannot draw ay conclusions beyond the fact that I am weird and I have absolutely no control over my crazy head. I guess we never know how we will respond to a new situation until we are in it, and this is the mother of all new situations. In the future we will look back at this period in a new light, but for now it can only continue to be one day at a time. Who knows where my head will take me next?