This morning, a colleague called me. As per normal he asked, “how are you?” I replied with “not bad, how are you?” He responded, “I’m fine… but how are you really?”
I attempt to say again that I’m okay but my voice cracks. I can’t get it out. I start sobbing.
I’m sobbing to this (incredibly lovely) man on a video call, apologising profusely, and dying of embarrassment. This man is not part of my immediate team. He was just calling to discuss a presentation we are working on together. Unfortunately for him, he asked the right question on the wrong day and, despite having a perfectly uneventful morning something inside me snapped.
Today is day 193 of Melbourne’s lockdown and I’m no longer ‘COVID-fatigued’, I’m flat-out COVID-irrational.
Watch: Things You Never Say In 2021. Post continues after video.
I’m 26 and have been living in Melbourne since January 2020 (before you say it, yes it WAS bad timing). I moved down from Queensland to start an exciting new life with my partner. To have our fun, big-city adventure while we were young, hot, and untethered.
And therein lies the problem.
My entire support network is in another state and has been mostly unaffected by COVID-19 lockdowns.
I feel like I can’t call my friends and family and be honest about how difficult the last 18 months have been. It’s not that they’re not empathetic, it’s just that they don’t understand how completely all-consuming a lengthy COVID lockdown is.
In June this year, I got a text from my Mum.
It said: “Do you want to fly to Brisbane to surprise your Granddad for his birthday with me?”
Blood rushed to my face and my heartbeat thundered in my ears as I indignantly typed back: ‘MUM I AM IN LOCKDOWN!!!!!!’
How could she not remember?! How could she possibly have forgotten that I was going through this life-altering, world-shattering, incredibly devastating event that was happening to me right now?
But she did. Because she’s got four jobs, runs two small businesses, cooks every meal from scratch, has an immaculate house, and two teenagers still at home. But more importantly, she lives in regional Queensland. COVID hasn’t impacted her day-to-day life at all. And it’s certainly not an ever-present dread for her like it is for me.
My mum truly is the most amazing woman I know… but right now I’m screening her calls.