One thing I’ve noticed being chronically ill, is when your whole life starts to change drastically because of your illness, you immediately start to realize what’s really important in life. When you watch everyone around you continue to live their lives while yours is seemingly on pause, you hope for nothing more than these same people to realize what’s important in life, like their health and their relationships. Before the coronavirus, society put all of its importance into people working. Our identities essentially formed around our occupations. People thought they were their jobs. And then the coronavirus happened.
Now people were forced to slow down and re-evaluate their priorities. Some people realized quickly what was important, but other still felt tied to the identities they created for themselves with their occupations and struggled to really find any meaning in life beyond that. People were willing to risk their lives in order to make really rich corporations even more profit because they “couldn’t stay home.” They didn’t know what to do with themselves if they weren’t working. Some people didn’t struggle with that, but were faced with different realizations. Being forced to be around your family/significant other all the time highlighted the deep flaws that were hidden in relationships by all parties always being “busy.” It was easy to ignore these things when they didn’t have to spend any time really thinking about them. And instead of realizing that and strengthening these relationships, people are crying for opportunities to leave their homes, even if it isn’t safe to do so yet, so they can fill their lives up with “busy” again.
I probably know better than most the toll it takes on your mental health being home alone all the time. For me, I have spent most of my time home as the people and world around me continued to turn. Nobody slowed down to check in. Instead, I was supposed to be understanding of THEM and the fact that they were just so busy and didn’t have any time outside of their perfectly curated schedules to fit in a quick visit, or what have you. Now, these same people are loudly complaining about how detrimental quarantine has been to their mental health and how they can’t wait for things to open up and go back to normal. Wearing a mask is hard FOR THEM so they think they shouldn’t have to wear one, meanwhile nurses and other medical professionals have cuts on their faces from the masks they have to wear treating covid patients. The entitlement people are loudly broadcasting is sickening.
On another note, because I’m not a mother, I get constant comments from mothers saying things like “must be nice” when I mention in conversation if I did anything like laid out in the sun, watched Netflix, etc. I had my ovaries taken out a couple years ago not by choice and cannot have children, and they (assumingly) had their children by choice. Sure, it’s nice relaxing, but I’m sure it’s even better being an actual mother. It’s mind blowing to me that people are complaining about spending time with their children instead of making the most of this unprecedented time with them.
I have gone many months not doing things many people take for granted. Years, even. I couldn’t shower for almost two years and had to give myself makeshift spongebaths. Now, I can shower, but I have to wear a lanyard around my neck to hold my stomach catheter so it doesn’t tug and cause an injury. I can’t just dry off and relax after showering either, I have to make sure to clean and bandage my catheter site. I can’t just climb in bed when I’m tired, I have to set up my dialysis machine and then hook up to it for 9 hours every night. I can’t just wake up and go in the mornings because I have to unhook from dialysis and clean everything up. Then I have to make sure I take all of medications, which in itself is frustrating. Imagine having to take lots of medicine in order to stay alive every single day? I’ve stayed home from many family and friend parties because of being chronically ill. I am constantly worrying about how much potassium/phosphorous/sodium/fluid I’ve consumed because having too much of these things can literally kill me. I can’t ever just live in the moment because I am constantly worrying about these things.
With all of that said, these social media posts I’m seeing from people acting like them not being able to dye their hair or go out to eat for two months was the worst thing that could happen to them are literally insulting and nauseating. It’s obvious these people lack perspective. 100k+ people have died from the coronavirus in the United States. Imagine your biggest issue right now being not going out to eat? Their lives seemingly will just go “back to normal” while I’ll still be over here, along with every other chronically ill person, living my life like I were quarantined. We’ll be living this way long after the coronavirus is over, and everyone will go back to living their lives worrying about all of the shit that doesn’t matter instead of prioritizing all of the shit that does.
I was really hopeful at the beginning of the pandemic that this time would wake people up. That instead of begging to go back to work, people would be demanding our government provide us with the resources we deserve right now. I hoped that people would realize how fucked up it is to live in a country that doesn’t guarantee us healthcare, especially now during the pandemic. I hoped people would prioritize their relationships and bonds would become deeper and stronger. Unfortunately, people are still as complacent and selfish as ever.