Quarantine is a word that I never would have thought would define my life, but the more I think of the word the more I realize this is the perfect word to define my entire life. I have always been isolated to my own mind despite my best efforts. I always wanted to be one of those care free people who seem so unaffected by the world around them but that is the opposite of who I am. I don't share more than I have to of myself and as I get older I find myself holding tighter to pieces of who I am for fear of losing them completely. If someone were to look at me from the outside I think they would see someone who has friends and family and a smile on their face and would never think I was someone who is anxious and depressed. That has been by design and I have worked hard to appear ok, when in reality, I am not ok most days. I have worked hard to not draw attention to myself and to blur into the ordinary. The pandemic has only made me painfully aware of this self inflicted isolation. My daily routine consists of all of the things I did before COVID 19 stole our comfort, freedom and lives as we knew them. I still go to work, although I did lose my job right before the world shut down and was unemployed for almost a year, I still see friends and family and I still give my son the best care I know how. What has changed (aside from the obvious masking and awaiting what new rules the world will have each day) is my ability to be ok with my isolation. That is all quarantine is, after all, it is just isolation. You would think that I have been preparing for this my whole life based on the little information I have given you but it is not so. I have somehow lost my ability to cope with my anxiety and hide my depression all together. My new routine has become some form of dragging myself out of bed to do the bare minimum when all I want to do is sit in bed and sleep and cry and sleep some more. I now feel as if I cannot focus on anything where I used to thrive on having a task to do. Work has become unbearable and I have always loved working. Inadequate is probably the best way I would be able to describe how I view myself now. Ironically I have never suffered from terribly low self esteem, despite not being very confident, I have always been confident in who I am. Not anymore. You see, this quarantine life that we are all living has flipped our world upside down. I did not know how fragile it was until 2020 shoved that fact down my throat and it was an inconvenient pill to swallow to say the very least. Life is fragile and society is fragile and no matter how regular your routine may be there is no hiding from that fact. It scares me. I can only guess this has contributed to my lack of control over my emotions. I now live in my head always. I cannot find my words when I am in a group of people because I am trapped in the quarantine of my mind. I tend to be an optimist and I know things will get better, even if only mildly so, but I now struggle to see how or if it will be too little too late. Will my son remember my smile or my tears? Will he remember that I played on the floor with him or that I didn't have the energy to get up? I am fortunate to have a child who is not yet old enough to remember most things but there is no way that my pain of being trapped in a mind that is dark and sad and anxious most days is not going to effect him somehow. I have to make a change. Being physically quarantined to my own home is not so bad because it is still beautiful outside and I can walk in that fresh air. I have a loving man who never lets me talk bad about the woman he loves and my house is often filled with laughter. I only wish that I could sleep without dreaming because it is exhausting always being trapped in that brain when I am awake, and instead of resting in my sleep, I am dragged deeper into my own quarantine routine. My own anxiety causes me to worry all the time and my depression sucks every ounce of me away until I feel like a walking shell of a girl who used to hide on purpose. If I get nothing else from this pandemic I would be happy if I can just take away the knowledge of who I do not want to be and that is who I am now. I will write and I will get this ugliness out one way or another so I can enjoy the beautiful life I have right in front of me. My new routine will be to escape the quarantine of my mind by writing as I used to when I was young. This new routine will free me from myself and free my family from getting a lesser version of me. I know there are many who have it worse than I do and I cannot let myself worry for them, rather I will acknowledge them and hope for brighter days and strength to come their way. I believe we are all feeling alone together and I am going to start closing that gap where I can in my own life. My new routine will be to smile until it is real and eventually the world will settle and my restless mind with it.
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