I’m feeling this quarantine hard today. It’s like someone I love died a few months ago, and I’m just now grieving. I can’t stop crying. I want to curl up in the fetal position and sob.
Most days I feel normal or I’m really good at faking that I’m okay. I even have myself convinced that I’m okay. I wake up when my baby cries or starts babbling at 6am, I feed him, play with him, then pass him to my husband so I can start my day. I do yoga, meditate with an app, take a shower, get dressed and open my laptop to start working. Some days I’m super focused and complete a lot of work.
Other days I feel lost. I lack motivation. I want to stay in my pjs all day and play with my baby. Sometimes I feel happy and grateful for all that we have. We are so damn lucky to have each other (me, my husband, and baby). We have our health, our house, our jobs, and all our family are doing okay. I’m well aware that we have no reason for complaining. Most days I feel fine and accept that quarantine is the best thing for everyone right now.
Then the night comes and the anxiety sets in. I have vivid nightmares. I wake up in a sweat. I talk negatively to myself in these late hours of the night, when my baby used to be awake nursing, but now sleeps mostly through the night. I tell myself ugly things like “you’re a horrible mother or wife.” I panic about something happening to people I love. I worry that my son will be impacted by this lack of socialization. I stress that this situation will never end. I rarely get a good night’s sleep.
I wake up exhausted, drained. I am starting to get irritable with my husband over everything and nothing at all. I want to claw my way out of this prison that is my home. I can’t stand my own baby boy when he fusses. I’m impatient with him. I feel like the world’s worst mother. How can I get upset with him for crying or whining at his age? He doesn’t understand.
I plaster on a smile when I hop on Zoom meetings and “happy hours” with friends. I go through the motions of life. I pretend I’m fine. We are all checking in with one another and sharing what we miss most and can’t wait to get back to. I feel guilty that I miss simple things like going to brunch with my girlfriends, dancing at live concerts, hugging people I love. I feel angry that all my summer plans got canceled. I’m one of those horrible people who want the bans lifted, so I can go hiking on the weekends and sit on patios sipping cocktails at a real happy hour.
I’m not an introvert. This isn’t my normal. Before having a baby, I would get so mad if we didn’t do something fun every single weekend. I felt like a Saturday or Sunday was wasted if I didn’t see at least one friend and have at least one fun adventure. I loved my current job, because it meant going to coffee or lunch with strangers each week. Now, I sit at my laptop sending emails all day.
All this being said, I haven’t cried over the past two months until this morning. I felt like I was about to cry several times or scream, but I buried that feeling out of guilt. What do I have to cry about? I’m not laid off of work, I’m not a healthcare worker or grocery store clerk working on the front lines. My family isn’t starving. We don’t have to homeschool our kid. We are the lucky ones. We aren’t sick we are just bored.
Today we missed our neighborhood coffee circle, and I lost it. I fought with my infant son, who refused to latch after five attempts to anxiously feed him. I screamed at my husband for making us miss the meetup. Then I buried my head in a pillow and cried. Obviously it had nothing to do with that, but it’s the straw that broke this camels back.
I’m broken. I’m defeated. I needed to finally cry and grieve the loss of my old friend: the outside world, my previous life. I’m scared that this will never end. People keep saying this is the new normal. I thought the end of the world would happen generations from now, but it feels like the beginning of the end is happening right now. This will never feel normal for me.
Don’t hate me for being one of those people with nothing to complain about and yet I’m complaining. I think the hardest part about this is feeling like we aren’t allowed to grieve or be sad right now. If we have the means to be okay then we are supposed to suck it up and just live with it. I’m asking for your permission right now. Can I cry? Can I be upset and anxious, even if my world is still in tact? Am I a selfish asshole for wanting to go back to the old normal?
I promise I will stay inside and not protest or cause an issue, but can I grieve the loss of my happiness?