I joined the social network for A Chronic Voice because I needed to find people who understand what life is like with chronic pain. Today I have written a post using the May link-up prompts, to show my experience of living with a chronic pain disorder. Click here to find other blog posts from fellow chronic pain sufferers, or #spoonies as we call ourselves online.
When I first heard about the impending lockdown, I foresaw a very lonely and trying time for me personally. My husband has severe OCD and high anxiety which translates in him feeling the need to be at work constantly. He is a site manager, and when they received notice that they are classed as key workers, he cheered. When he told me the news, I knew I would see even less of him at home than I did before the pandemic, which was sparse to say the least. He won’t even take holidays willingly.
My husband panics constantly about losing his job. He refuses to seek professional help, and he is even prepared to ruin his marriage in favour of staying at work. He says he loves me and the children, but he has a funny way of showing it. His actions do not match his words, and I am sick of making excuses for him. During the past couple of lonely months, I have experienced my own moments of panic, and I am usually a very calm and controlled person. I panicked that my mum would contract coronavirus and I would never see her again. I panicked about my recently widowed Nan, who is home alone, and I am unable to visit. And then I panicked about what might happen if I contract coronavirus, and I am sick at home, unable to care for my children. Luckily, they are self-sufficient enough to know where the food is, and I know they would be fine, but I still worry about them. I am the only person who can care for them right now.
I am quite proud of my achievements in the past couple of weeks. I have single handedly stripped away 30 years’ worth of old wallpaper from our hall, stairs and landing, and I have repainted all the walls, with a little help from my daughters. The task seemed impossible when I first thought about it. I couldn’t reach all those high nooks and crannies above the stairs! But then I realized that nobody else would do it for me, and I wanted the job done. It would make me feel better. So, I got on with it, in the spirit of my Mum and my Nan, who never shy away from manual labour when the need arises. My Nan raised four children while my Grandad was in the Navy, and my Mum raised three children and progressed her career in social services management. I called on the spirit of my ancestors, rolled up my sleeves, and got the job done.
The government advised people to use online shopping services as much as possible to avoid visiting supermarkets during lockdown. I found this impossible for the first month, because there were no delivery slots available due to high demand. I waited five weeks for an order to be delivered! I did not want to take my daughters to the supermarket with me, but luckily my husband made time to do our shopping. Since he is going out to work six days per week, he isn’t bothered about visiting the supermarkets. He doesn’t worry about contracting coronavirus, and he definitely doesn’t worry about passing it on to other people. I also struggled to receive timely deliveries of my eye medication for my chronic pain condition, but fortunately I had stocked up ahead of lockdown, so I was ok. I am struggling to access the internet at home. We have a basic service, which is all we can afford, and we have over a dozen devices connected. It drops out frequently, much to the dismay of my daughters! As I write this blog post, my laptop cannot connect to our Wi-Fi because my husband is using his laptop and streaming music on his phone. My phone can connect without problems, but my laptop is always the first device to fail. I cannot understand that, and it is very frustrating when I need to work online.
How do I soothe my anxieties during this strange time? Usually I would resort to meditation and quiet time for contemplation. That is now impossible because my children are pretty much attached to me all day. They won’t even go to bed early anymore, which I find frustrating. They are anxious too, and they need me to reassure them. They miss their friends, their school, their regular routine. I miss my friends and family. Oddly, I find it soothing to sit down and play a game that I have become addicted to on my phone. It’s a simple puzzle game where you can earn rewards and refurbish an old mansion. It satisfies the dreamer in me and helps me escape from mundane life for a while. We must take comfort in small pleasures these days.
Catherine is the author of the adult paranormal romance series The Redcliffe Novels and also The Darkness of Love, She has short stories published in YA anthologies, freelance articles on various industry websites, and contributes to her personal blog, and her author blog .