Updated: Jun 7
The Isolation Of The Pandemic is my personal experience. Lessons learned and a bittersweet outcome.
*First published 17th December 2021
Have you been watching mainstream media lately? I’m assuming you have not lived in a cave these past two years either. You may or may not be aware that a few states of Australia have been in lockdown. It has been for as long as the pandemic has been going. It has changed how we live as a society and a country. It leaves me feeling bittersweet. A mix of feelings and emotions. Honestly, I feel numb and to a small degree, traumatised. Everyone has felt some degree of trauma during the pandemic and the lockdowns. Whether they have experienced it through their own experience or someone they know.
About me: I am an introvert and an empath. I also have social anxiety. I do not like being in crowds, busy places, or loud venues. I am intuitive and energy-sensitive. Meaning; If I am around other people, I can feel what they are feeling. Had I wanted to go outside, I had to be ready and in a good mindset. Grounded too. Not allowing myself to get swept away by other people and their emotions was daunting enough. It feels like I am standing still in a jumping castle while kids jump and play all around me. Feelings of fatigue. Heightened experience more so by the emotions of others and world events.
Everyone asked how I was doing? at the beginning, and I was happy about it. Few people were out and about, no crowds. I wish it were always like this. The introvert that I am keeps me at home with my dog anyway. No biggie, my life is going along just like it has always been. The best part was that I could work from home, full time. Happy Days! Except I was in denial, this was not normal. I had been bottling up a lot of emotions. Saying to myself “I am an introvert” “This is all fine. Everything is okay”
It was a lie.
What was happening here? I started to tell myself lies now. It was already a red flag that something was not right. I was not alright. I did not see it yet. I felt a lot of emotions. Keeping them contained took more effort than I would like. I was getting angry over silly things. I was in shock at my new way of life. The direction of the world was drifting. It would not change its course anytime soon. It was only to get worse. For the sake of my mental health, I had to stop watching the news. Limit my time on social media. There were already so many rabbit holes. There was no way I was going to go anywhere near them. I was already feeling lost. It was a new kind of trauma. The pattern was not a new one. I slipped into my standard response when I faced trauma… I shut down. On the outside, I acted as if I was okay. I was anything but okay.
Before my eyes, my country, the country I had lived in all my life, became a great divide. A turbulent mix of isolation and lockdowns. A collective of emotions that we never experienced before. No holidays or short trips. No visits to friends and family. No travel outside of the restricted area. No friends or family to visit me. That was pretty much everyone I knew. You could only go out for essential items. Pop-up and drive-through testing stations appeared overnight. No visits to parents. No visit to retirement homes, no funerals, weddings, or christenings. We had never experienced a state lockdown before. We had never experienced this scale of the pandemic before.
How would we even know what to expect? Many of us were not emotionally ready to handle the isolation. Are we all going to sweep our feelings away and act like they don’t matter? No acknowledgment? I started getting a mild case of PTSD. Nights are disturbed by overhead police helicopters. Going for walks and exercising, is allowed to a degree. I made sure that I went outside every day to get some sun and fresh air. On edge all the time. Anxiety is at an all-time high. My parents moved out to Australia almost 50 years ago for a better life. It did not feel like it was a lucky country. It felt like a long-term stay hotel on a remote island, in the middle of an ocean in the middle of winter with nowhere to go. Australia is already far from everything. I live about an hour from my family. My parents and three siblings. Eight nieces and nephews. The distance between us was a personal choice I made when I moved to where I am living now, three years ago. If you have grown up in an ethnic family, you will understand how overwhelming it can be. Also, somewhat smothering. It can be uncomfortable for someone in their forties and single. This did not help the isolation.
The walls I had built to protect my emotions and mental state were starting to crack, like walls in an old house. The paint had begun to peel away from the walls and surfaces. The plaster was ready to break off and crumble.
My depression reappeared. The isolation was becoming too much.
I felt fed up. We began to accept a new way of life. It rolled in like the mist over a river in winter. A new normal had emerged. I stopped grocery shopping and had it delivered. Tasks and activities I took for granted were now different from what I had done them before. I only left the house to get petrol, take my dog for walks, and to the park. Even the daycare that my dog went to had to stop.
The friends I did have, I spoke to less and less. When I did go out and happened to pass someone by while I was walking, I could feel something different in the air. The energy was not the same. There was a sense of sadness and hopelessness that we started to carry.
We began to disassociate from everything. I sought comfort in food and Netflix and online shopping. We bypassed our feelings with our vices to help us cope. Arguments between families/couples in my apartment block were becoming more frequent. Domestic violence increased. Suicide levels had become the highest they had ever been during the pandemic in our country.
People’s mental and emotional state was a tightrope. One wrong step and, you could fall. We witnessed a large number of fallouts starting to occur. People began losing their jobs. Companies are directed to enforce mandates. Small businesses suffered and continue to do so.
Rich companies became richer. We evolved into a click-and-collect nation. I saw a divide spread across all social media, impossible to miss it. Underground platforms like telegram gained popularity.
Is this how we are towards each other?
Divide the nation and the world with prejudice and hatred for differences of opinion in everything to do with the pandemic. We were losing ourselves.
Weeks out from Christmas, I find myself facing new challenges and a new wave of trauma on the horizon. In the space of a week, I had a very big falling out with my family. Besides, the news was that my full-time job was no longer secure due to the pandemic.
I felt lost. I have a mortgage and financially a lot at stake. Isolated was more than enough to handle, now this? I’m a believer in signs from the universe. My life falling apart, was this a sign? Could it be, areas of my life things needed to change?
Did I need to change?
The world was never going to be the same, and neither would I. How long would I keep fighting this? Was I ready to evolve and change? Go with the flow rather than wasting energy fighting the inner conflict I had been ignoring.
Was I going to continue feeding my energy into external channels that I had no control of and had nothing to do with me?
The universe was asking: Are you ready to create your reality?
I have worked a lot on my personal development. The two biggest lessons I have learned about myself are that I need to:
Move on from situations that no longer serve me.
Yet, I was falling back into those old patterns. I didn’t want to undo all the great work I had done.
Deep down, I knew this was the universe’s way to get me up and to step up. It was time for me to create a new future more in alignment and more fulfilling.
I will admit, I am scared to leave my job and my old life behind. I will deal with the family fallout later down the line. That will require a lot of me mentally. I want to be in a good place when that happens. One thing at a time, I tell myself.
The pandemic gave each of us challenges. Ones we never thought we would have to face. The separation from my family was unexpected. It became collateral damage to the pandemic. Because of the change, I didn’t think I wasn’t good enough to get another job with great pay, as I have now. I adapt well. It is the initial change that I struggle to get through.
I won’t lie. It has been a big blow from both of these recent events. Similar to the movie with Rocky Balboa. You see him in the ring. Round after round, he fights with Apollo Creed. Almost done and out but not quite yet.
I felt as if my life had become the same way. My soul was tired and needed a rest. That is what makes me catch my breath and makes my heart stop. The anxiety and the fear keep me trapped in the same place.
I became comfortable in my job and my life. I didn’t want to rock my already precarious lifeboat. The ego attempts to take over again and keep me trapped in fear. Even though I had been unhappy in my job for some time, I yearned for more challenges and to do something different. I didn’t know what. All I knew, was that I wanted a new direction.
Lessons Learned from the Isolation of the Pandemic
To trust my judgment.
Making a decision is better than no decision.
To place faith in myself and the universe. I have an inner knowing that will guide me and not leave me deserted.
But I have to meet the universe halfway. I can`t wait for the universe to drop my new life in my lap.
Where I clung to codependency in my personal and professional life for the sake of not growing.
When to walk away and the value of boundaries with family and friends. When to stand firm in those boundaries. Know my self-worth and be true to my values and beliefs.
There is a lot more to discover about myself. I was playing small and holding myself back because of my fear of the unknown.
It is up to me to change my outlook and perception. Just because the world sees it one way, means I have to.
Final thoughts I know there is a bigger purpose waiting for me. At the very least, I know I want to do more with my life. Yes, I am scared, honestly terrified. I have a new sense of excitement about my future I have not felt in a long while. I bring myself back to that feeling of excitement when the fear and the ego get too loud. How it will work out is anyone's guess. The life I had been living. The job I held had served its purpose. I could not deny it any longer. The universe knows its time. Trying to fight it would not get me anywhere. I remind myself of a saying — This is happening for me, not to me. Without this drastic rebirth, I would have not seen the lessons. Lessons are vital for me to become a better version of who I am right now. Ready or not.
As humans, we cling to old stories. There is a rainbow of opportunities for us once we get to the other side. It is easy to lose faith and get off track. We can walk a new path. Does it have to be the same track it has always been? No. We can choose to create a new reality, a life we never dreamed is possible.
We are all more than worthy of receiving it.
May your mind and heart be open to the possibilities the universe has to offer you.