I feel like reality has shifted ever so slightly. I've been spending time this week considering just how my life has been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. My routine has changed very little, as I am a homebody who works from home, as well as a patient with chronic illness so I am used to the self-isolation routine.
This time has struck me differently. There is an unsettling discomfort that I've been trying to put my finger on. The subtle changes to my days, my father being home from work, my brother home from school, the beaches and parks closed, the neighborhood kids playing in the street when normally the day would be quiet-all of these things cause a shift in what I consider normal.
Then, there is the anxiety regarding the virus. With many of my diseases, a flare can strike without warning and send me into the hospital, as they have earlier in 2020. I live managing a number of anxieties connected to health. Though I am managing well, it has been a tremendous experience witnessing a global concern about the instability of health. It feels at times as if I have been handed a mirror and I am watching my own thoughts magnified by millions.
Of course, this is a highly egotistical viewpoint, but watching others deal with the challenge of uncertain health has been a jarring reminder that living with chronic illness is a departure from the norm. I wonder however, how the public view of health will change from all of this. It is a traumatic thing to be shown that good health is not a given. It is difficult to grieve the change in ability, the loss of plans, and the uncertainty of the future. We are all facing something that many of us have never faced before.
I don't know how to quite articulate coronavirus in a visual format yet. I feel removed and involved at the same time, anxious and calm, impacted and looked over. Little has changed, yet everything has changed. I feel as though the high stress that has accompanied the past year and its hospitalizations, surgeries, and near misses is now mellowing as the anxiety of everyone around me rises to match it.