Retreat Day 26:

On the surface, I’m coping well with the solitude: I’m not drinking much, no tears and I’m getting things done – but I can still feel a knot of panic inside me. I keep it under control, but it’s there. As the long Easter weekend unfurls, I’m also noticing signs of stress. My sleeping is growing erratic again; my appetite for food is fading and my weight dropping; and I’m not able to concentrate on reading.

This is a stressful situation for everyone, it just varies by degree. I’ve been very lucky with my experience of the situation so far, but that doesn’t make it easy. The pandemic is an example of what Timothy Morton described as a hyperobject, a thing “so massively distributed in time and space as to transcend localization”. It’s impossible to take in more than the smallest portion of this event at one time.

I’ve read a lot of accounts of POW camps, something I’ve given talks on in the past. Whether or not people made a serious attempt to escape or not, you could at least day-dream about it. With the whole world affected and threatened by this pandemic, freedom can only be found in the future, with no indication of how far we need to travel.

(And, if things feel this oppressive far from the front, how much worse must it be for those caught up in the front lines, whether as healer, patient, cleaner, relative etc?)

It’s the second day of the Easter Weekend, and it feels like we’re weeks into it. I am exhausted, but trying to be easy on myself. I’ll probably go back to work on Monday, get on with things. I’ll get an early night tonight and will feel better tomorrow.

(Re-reading this, it sounds a little down. I’m fine, just tired and stressed. Some days are going to be better than others – and I’ve kept in touch with people, those little messages that keep us connected at this time. Tomorrow is a new day and will be better. Some days demand rest, patience, and slowness)

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