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"I feel a visceral rage". I've been isolating with my four kids in Melbourne for over six months.

I woke today with a heavy head and a heavy heart. I felt exhausted and I just wanted to go back to sleep. 

I have now been at home with my four young children in Melbourne for over six months - and for who knows how much longer. It has hardened me more than I ever anticipated. 

I’ve always been a highly sensitive, emotionally raw person. 

But now I feel an abrasive armour has formed. An unwanted but necessary new skin. 

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A friend asked me early on in the pandemic if we should be worried. “Nah,” I said. 

“Nah.” That word haunts me. A stupidly simple word to play over and over in my mind. I suppose it’s because the woman who spoke that word no longer exists. 

That woman who was flippant and care free. Her hands were blissfully unsanitised and her face remained uncovered, breathing freely. 

I had felt a wave of emotions in the beginning, drowning in each new headline pulling me further from the life I knew.

"Normal" was changing at an alarming pace. 

But we were all in it together. It felt like it was us against this virus. 

Until we weren’t. Now the very words “together” and “us” feel like a mocking insult. Because we are not.

Victoria was hit with a second wave. Hard. And that is a unique new isolation to feel. 

Now I feel like I’m in a calm sea, very, very far from land. Which is worse than the waves. I’m just floating here, stagnant, waiting, overthinking. 

I now feel bitter anger at those who don’t live here and say things like “keep it up!” 

I used to smile and nod but now the bitter voice of a stranger screams in my head: “EASY FOR YOU TO SAY! YOU DON'T HAVE TO DO IT.”

I feel immense gratitude that my family is healthy and my government seems to care more about people’s lives than our economy. 

I feel sadness at the tiny circle my children now have to function in.

"Mum, remember when we played sport and could see our friends?" they say. 

I smile at them sadly and with welling tears I reply, "Yes, I do."

I feel exhausted deep into my bones at trying to stay positive and keep things as easy and fun for them as possible, googling indoor craft and YouTubing exercise classes for kids.

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I feel guilty for continually looking at the clock and wishing the day was over, when I should be cherishing the time I have with them.

I feel happy and proud that they are so resilient and still laugh every day and remind me to find joy in little things. 

I feel irrational jealously at those who still get to go to work and leave the house. 

I feel enormous guilt at that jealously because they are putting themselves at risk and I don’t have to. 

I feel anger at those protesting in the streets. At the same time feeling complete empathy for that anger. Because I carry a bitterness and anger I didn’t know. And sometimes people don’t know where to direct that anger and fear, so they scream it in the streets. 

I feel those screams. 

I feel a visceral rage at the accessibility of fake news, causing mass division and the false confidence of people who are very far from experts. We appear to have lost the ability to engage in a worthy debate and exchange of ideas. 

I feel envy for those who have some peace and can be alone to lie on the couch and binge Netflix for days. Then I imagine truly being alone without my family for months on end and I feel sick for envying that. 

I feel grief for the life I once had and how blindly I lived it. That I hugged my loved ones without truly understanding the importance of human touch. Not grappling the physical comfort that comes from an embrace. A touch of a hand. A pat on the back. 

I feel the hopelessness in trying to comfort a friend through a screen. To physically want to reach a hand out to someone but having to instead comfort with words in situations where words are simply not enough.

I feel confused in missing things I have never missed before. Like dancing at a wedding. Collectively laughing at a concert. Waiting in lines. Shoving through a crowd in excitement. 

I feel bored. Not a pleasant boredom that comes from a finished to do list or a lazy Sunday afternoon. But a scratchy boredom that comes from the monotony of constant repetitive days. A strange foreign urge to climb the walls and to scratch an itch you cannot locate. 

I feel a weakness at my desperation, when people have suffered so much more hardship in our past. Wars, famine, grief. I don’t know this loss. I don’t know that kind of hardship. I have a privilege people live a lifetime to have, so all I SHOULD feel is grateful. Then I pledge to start a gratitude journal. Because I have too much to be grateful for. 

Then I don’t do it. 

I feel dizzy and off balance because of the constant swaying to how I SHOULD feel versus how I actually do. 

Often I’ll feel all of this in one day. 

Today, I feel completely defeated. And it's okay to wallow in that for today. To feel it all. 

Then I'll start again tomorrow.

Feature image: Getty. 

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