the dangers of social isolation and burnout
Updated: Sep 15
Lockdown left me feeling winded. Maybe I wasn't paying enough attention, too sure my youth and health (physically at least) would somehow grant me immunity?
Too used to being unaffected.
But it happened, and I'm a house that isn't my home, with the cold arms of panic and illness wrapping around me. Even if you are in a good home space, I imagine this can still seem overwhelming. It must be.
Died from a disease we knew was coming, we had time to prepare for. It seems so utterly pitiful.
I'm getting off topic. You probably already know all of this. My point is, there's reason for all of us to be struggling. And we can't be there with each other. No option to meet up, nothing to look forward to.
That's why social media has been great! Online hangs, I wrote an entire post about the beauty of a shared meme. But still...
I've noticed the people around me getting social media burnout lately. People I know to be resilient and mentally grounded, showing signs of weariness.
Maybe it's the discordance between feeling connected and disconnected at the same time. For me at least, a phone or video call is nice, but it's not the same as being there. After a while, it does little but intensity that feeling of things not being okay.
And in cases where people are isolating alone, or isolating in a space that is not so good, I think the danger really lies.
A friend has given herself a few days offline, being constantly logged in was draining, she said.
So she said she would have a homemade retreat into the self.
But, it's been a while since we last spoke. I could feel her sadness though the screen, a bone-weariness I recognised all too well, and I felt suddenly worried. Not glaringly worried, just a..they call it hyper-awareness I think.
She's probably okay. I know that. But, I can't go and see her. Can't help, not in the real physical way. I don't really have any other option but hope and trust I'll hear from her in a few days and everything will be okay. I have to trust she will take care of herself. But I know that tired look in her face, and know that when you're hurting too much for too long, feeling nothing seems utterly preferable.
There's a bad mix of feeling burnt out, leading people to feel down, worried, stressed, and being isolated going around.
Maybe I'm projecting.
But still, there's a tick in my own brain, reminding me how fragile people really are, alarm bells only I can hear cause experience has shown me how easily things (people) can crumble, if you're not careful.
So, here's some things that help me. If it's feeling a bit too much for you. I hope you'll find comfort in the fact that you're not the only one feeling like this.
I've stopped reading the news so much. I try to focus a little more on being patient. I try to remember the big picture, but sometimes nothing will help.
I think that's just what being clinically depressed teaches you though. That sometimes, you have to accepting the down periods. Let them wash over you, just feel it. It sucks, riding them out, hoping they cause as little damage as possible. Accepting that damage will be done
other things I like to think about:
the car-parks in front of everyone's houses look much too filled. Like a badly played game of Tetris. Like no-one ever expected to have to share the space at the same time
people walking on the street give each other as wide a berth as is safely possible. I felt inclined to do the same, repelled by some unseen force. I felt as though we were all suspicious of each other. Though I know we do it out of a place of mutual care..how long will this feeling of mistrust take to fade away?
there's a ton more wildlife out? I saw the prettiest dove-looking pigeons, and was transfixed. Is it cause I've been starved of organic movement for so long? Or is the wildlife flourishing in this new, quieter city
shop workers are being regarded with awed respect. by everyone. it's cool
there's a ton more chalk doodles on the street. a kid wrote 'thank you NHS' on the sidewalk in chalk. Letters in different sizes, slanting upwards and then down again. But they tried, decorated it with a wonky love heart around the outside. there's going to be entire generations of kids growing up in love with the NHS
I pick up items in the store by my fingertips. I bite my nails way too much. Was my nose always this itchy? I never thought about how many hands touch a supermarket trolley handle before.
The sun is setting a little later every day. It's getting too warm. Time is passing by unmarked by physical milestones, and it's dizzying. I feel like it's easy to be locked away inside in the colder months. But spring is here, and summer is pressing closer. I want this to be over, but I know we aren't ready. Not yet
The best we can do is ride it out. Try to make something of this time, but don't worry if you can't.
Another Art Club was set up by an art teacher. They post daily, with a new arty activity to do at home that require simple materials that can be found around the home.
There was this post on Anther Art Club, suggested by photographer Lianne Harris , that spoke to me. I feel bewildered most of the time. I get you, paper bag.
I don't really know how to end this one. I'm glad the site is here. It's something good, something to work on, to feel proud of. I still feel warm every time I read an email submission from a stranger, every time I see one of the other writers on the site make a post.
So thank you.
The Creative Pandemic now has an IG account cause I want the site to keep growing, but also hate spamming my FB with promo. So you can follow the account, if you'd like to be notified when we make a post.
This has been another rambling one from me. But that's just where my head is right now.
If you're spending this time with people you love, take a moment to appreciate them. Breathe them in. Hold them like the gift they are
(this is utterly unrelated, but that is a quote from my favourite spoken word poet, Sarah Kay. the line is "i hold your body like the gift it is, and safely sink back into dreams" and I hear that line resonate in my head every time I think of love. they are a gift...you can watch this poem here if you wanna)
If this time isn't great for you, I hope you are staying positive. I hope you know it's okay to not feel okay.
stay alive. this will pass