I have found the last couple of weeks really hard. Not because I am stuck at home, I’m used to that – though I am missing being able to go out for a brief meander when I can, but because social media, once my lifeline and refuge has been taken over. I am not proud of that, but it is how it is. I have practically stepped away from Twitter (though this will still post there!) and Facebook, which always seemed kinder is becoming difficult too.
All of a sudden people are bored, or triumphant of how they have coped with one week of being at home in social isolation. I’m sorry for you if it is frustrating and you are missing your ‘normal’ life, seeing family and friends and feel that you have nothing to keep you occupied. I am delighted for you if you have been able to find quality time with your household, have learned something new, or new ways of doing old things or feel your life has been enriched.
But for some people this week will have been absolute hell. Perhaps the people in their household are the last people they want to spend time with, or are actually dangerous to be with. Perhaps this week has been a final straw emotionally, financially or health wise. Perhaps it has underlined all that is wrong and it is difficult to see a way out.
And for some vulnerability, isolation and being stuck at home is their norm. For the people who love them they were already sacrificing and giving so much. I commend to you this article by the excellent Chronic Illness Inclusion Project that expresses it better than I can.
It was our life long before this and will be our life long after this. We always miss out on social events, going out and about, visiting the cinema, taking part in groups, going to the pub and almost anything that involves leaving your home and sitting somewhere else; or if we do it takes such an enormous effort and payback it’s probably seldom worth it. Yet no one before has offered them such plethora of faith live streaming, invites them to virtual meet ups, checked on how they were doing, offered to do their shopping…
That is our life, we get on with it, we have our own networks that we operate from our sofa or bed. And no one really gives it a second thought. Everyone is, quite rightly, going about living their lives. Few have thought about the socially isolated – until now. Though to be honest it feels as if most are thinking about *their* social isolation, not those for whom it is their normal.
And then this morning I saw this:
It is a fabulous vision, and there will be an after. I truly hope people have learned and will carry forward lessons on community and healthy ways to live. But not all of us will be able to leave the social isolation behind. It is our ongoing reality.
When ‘after’ comes and everyone has gone back to their busy lives, even with their new insights, will the online connections still be there for those still inhabiting that land? Or will they disappear? Perhaps that is something to think about.
Is your friend, family member or colleague still socially isolated? Are they living in a dangerous place that continues to need your support? Will you go back to hang with your tribe, or will you remember the new tribe and new ways you have found?
I know we are all doing our best in this strange time and place we find ourselves. But spare a thought for those for whom this is not new, or truly not safe and for whom ‘after’ will not be a bright new dawn, but a same old same old.