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Related: Lockdown Learning, discuss home schooling during lockdown.

Covid

Coronavirus won’t kill me but social isolation may instead

61 replies

Notopel · 15/03/2020 18:25

Does everyone calling for greater social isolation have any idea what real isolation feels like? Or are you planning to hunker down with your husband, partner and children to some well deserved family time?

I’m a single parent without any family, so I spend a lot of time at home with a six year old by myself. We live rurally so have about five immediate neighbours spread around a large village green. My social interaction tends to be limited to work and the clubs that my son attends. I’m very lonely as it is. I spent two weeks alone at Christmas as my son was with my ex husband and my work was shut. Distractions like cinema, shops, cafe, gym etc were intermittently open. I cried a lot because I was so lonely.

From Monday I’ll be working from home. Clubs and activities are starting to be cancelled. I’m forseeing the schools having an extended Easter Break and that the remaining non essential public places will be closed.

I’m not afraid of getting ill or dying. I am very afraid of months of enforced isolation.

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OhCaptain · 15/03/2020 18:27

That sounds tough but it really is necessary.

Lots of people, particularly elderly people will be alone.

But the alternative of thousands of deaths is just not an option.

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ItsAHardKn0ckLife1 · 15/03/2020 18:28

Ditto what PP says ^

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Rhubarbpeony · 15/03/2020 18:40

God, I’m so sorry. You’re right, it’s so easy to say ‘two weeks of Netflix with my husband sounds great’ but the reality of it for so, so many people is that it will be a terrible and awful experience.

Is there anyone you can arrange regular Skype chats with, or anything like that?

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GiveHerHellFromUs · 15/03/2020 18:45

I have worried about this. Peoples mental health is really going to suffer if we're forced to be isolated for weeks.

Hopefully we don't get to that stage and we can carry on as we are now, but do try and reach out to local people in a similar situation that you can keep in contact with if at all possible.

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Namethecat · 15/03/2020 18:50

Could you stay in phone contact with anyone ?
Are there any organisations near you that could help by staying in touch ?

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Unescorted · 15/03/2020 18:51

That is hard... I am not sure I could do that.

We have some single friends and live rurally - so we are setting up virtual gatherings via video links. We agree a time & a menu, there is a shared play list, wine and we are going to put our guests on the TV / laptops.

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Fallsballs · 15/03/2020 18:51

Similar position to you OP. I am planning projects in the house and garden, upping the exercise, cooking and baking more (depends on supply obvs) and remembering it will not be forever.
No doubt my mental health will suffer and I’m twitching like fuck.
So, no solution but I hear you.

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user1353245678533567 · 15/03/2020 18:56

I live alone, already struggling with mental illness and social isolation. I'm losing the tiny bits of human contact and connection I had because of this. I was clinging on to them to keep going. It's terrifying suddenly having had it taken away indefinitely.

At a certain point you have to question whether "saving" a life is in that person's best interests given the cost to them.

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CathyandHeathcliff · 15/03/2020 18:57

I’m not in exactly the same position as you as I do have a partner as well as my one year old, but I rely heavily on groups and social meet ups in the community. I attend a mental health group regularly, which is a face to face peer support group. Also all the playgroups I attend with my DS make the days a bit easier.

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leafyygreens · 15/03/2020 18:58

Spare a thought for all the people trapped in flatshares with people they aren’t friendly with 😐

I’m 29, living with a 40 year old woman, we have very different lifestyles and haven’t spoken in months apart from me asking her for bill etcs, I’m dreading the idea of going into lockdown potentially with her

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Notopel · 15/03/2020 19:00

I think, quite rightly, NHS resources are going to be focused on acute care for the immediate future. Mental health services are going to be even more limited than they already are.

It’s all very well to say that this is necessary but it seems very unfair for me and all the other socially isolated people to bear the brunt of this, when it’s unlikely that we’ve benefited from any of the global socialisation that’s caused this to spread so quickly. It’s going to be months of this and even people with good social networks will struggle. I’ve seen a lot of criticism about elderly parents refusing to stay at home at the moment, but to be honest if I were elderly and isolated I’d rather take my chances with the virus.

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Notopel · 15/03/2020 19:01

It’s comforting to know that I’m not the only one struggling with the thought of this. I think you really can’t get how frightening it is, unless you’ve ever been isolated.

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OhCaptain · 15/03/2020 19:03

Ok but what’s the alternative?

Think of the people being stuck with abusive spouses.

Think of the children whose only hot meal is in school.

Think of the parents/partners/children of alcoholics/drug users etc etc

It’s a tough cross to bear for everyone, subjectively some more than others. It’s shit. Really shit.

But what can be done?!

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RuffleCrow · 15/03/2020 19:04

I get what you're saying op. I'm also a single mum with no family to speak of- at least none i trust or feeling comfortable around - but i do have a severely asthmatic child and i have to put her health first. The way i see it if anything happened to her, the chances of my life improving and becoming less isolating in the future are less than zero anyway.

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LonnyVonnyWilsonFrickett · 15/03/2020 19:04

I live with my DS and DH, both of whom are introverts. I'm the complete opposite and know I won't cope well with isolation. In fact, I went out with a friend last night and I feel SO much better for it. OP, my situation is nowhere near as bad as yours, and I really feel for you. If you and DC are symptom-free, at least get out for a walk every day. I liked pp's suggestion of a Skype-dinner party too,

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Butterwhy · 15/03/2020 19:05

It's hard isn't it we are on day 8, I am quite a home body anyway and only really go out for work and things with DS, when we see friends we have them round here more often than not; but I have found it really challenging. I think people are underestimating it, even though it is very important getting the timing right is so important.

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Notopel · 15/03/2020 19:06

@leafyygreens You do have my sympathy there and it’s one thing I’m very grateful for as I’m cooped up in this house, is that I’m no longer in any of the flatshares of my twenties.

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user1353245678533567 · 15/03/2020 19:08

Well, frankly, I expect people will become so desperate they end their lives. But that will be written off as a "choice" so nobody will care about their suffering or loss of life.

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Lynda07 · 15/03/2020 19:08

Notopel, I can only imagine how you must dread it. Being on your own with a six year old is worse than being on your own in some ways unless you are blessed with a child who is docile and can amuse himself. At least if you are alone you can sleep and eat when you want, read and watch TV (that's what I'm doing but I'm 70 and like my own company).

I can see what a nightmare the idea of lockdown is for so many. It will probably be necessary though.

Will your ex take your son for some of the time to give you a break or is that too complicated in the current circumstances? It probably is, he'll be in lockdown too, it was just a thought.

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GrumpyHoonMain · 15/03/2020 19:09

Isolation isn’t for everyone. Social distancing with great hygiene is another option.

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MimiLaRue · 15/03/2020 19:09

if I were elderly and isolated I’d rather take my chances with the virus

This is very selfish though- if the elderly go out and catch it, they'll need hospital treatment which will place more pressure on the NHS!

I know its hard- its going to be hard for all of us. Isolation might not affect me much but I am genuinely worried about my business going under. Its not just you OP, its going to affect us ALL.

What are you suggesting then? isolation for everyone except you? Come on now- this isnt exactly a walk in the park for the rest of us either

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Notopel · 15/03/2020 19:09

And I’m glad I’m not with an abusive spouse anymore. If it weren’t totally against the spirit of all this, I’d advocate all the fed up flatmates and abused spouses coming to stay with all us lonely people, as that would totally solve everyone’s problem.

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LuckyAmy1986 · 15/03/2020 19:11

@leafyygreens that must be a nightmare!!

There is something going on locally where people are offering their phone number for a chat if we go into lockdown, if anyone really struggles with the loneliness. I thought that was quite nice.

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Lynda07 · 15/03/2020 19:11

OhCaptain Sun 15-Mar-20 19:03:45
Ok but what’s the alternative?

Think of the people being stuck with abusive spouses.

Think of the children whose only hot meal is in school.

Think of the parents/partners/children of alcoholics/drug users etc etc

It’s a tough cross to bear for everyone, subjectively some more than others. It’s shit. Really shit.

But what can be done?!
......
I get what you are saying but that actually doesn't help people who are anxious about being isolated. Knowing others are worse off is rarely useful.

I'm grateful that I like being alone but am well tuned in to the needs of other, more sociable, people.

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OhCaptain · 15/03/2020 19:12

Well, frankly, I expect people will become so desperate they end their lives. But that will be written off as a "choice" so nobody will care about their suffering or loss of life.

That’s so unfair! This is to stop health systems collapsing, to stop thousands of deaths. One person deciding to say fuck it, I don’t care if I get it could literally kill others.

Everyone has to be selfless now. Everyone!

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