wellness

“I’m anxious at the thought of no human contact": 17 women on what it's like isolating alone.

On Sunday night, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced new measures to slow the spread of COVID-19. As of right now, all public gatherings are limited to two people.

The exception to this number, he clarified, was for members of your household.

If that includes you, a partner and two children, for example, you are allowed to be inside your home or leave the house with those family members.

At this stipulation, many Australians breathed a sigh of relief. But for others, it was another brutal reminder of the ‘household’ or family unit they don’t have by their sides to endure this with.

What about the women who are navigating self-isolation quite literally by themselves?

Mamamia spoke to 17 women who are currently living alone about how they’re managing. Special thanks to the Mamamia Outlouders Facebook group for sharing their stories.

Here’s how you’re acting in self-isolation, according to your star sign. Post continues below. 

Video via Mamamia

Clement

I live alone, and can’t visit my family because I interact with so many people. As an ‘essential’ worker I’m constantly exhausted, crushed and just sob all the time. I’ve tried to talk to my friends and co-workers who have partners, housemates, kids etc and they keep acting like I have the better end of the deal. It suuuuucks. No human has talked to me face to face about not coronavirus for like two weeks. I also have mental health issues so being alone is like living in an echo chamber of your own negative thoughts.

Bec

I live alone and all my family are interstate. The idea of not knowing when I’ll see any of them again in person is very difficult. Also, for us singles… it’s an interesting time. I’d met a new guy before all this happened and saw him a few times. Two days after the isolation thing was a reality, he said he wasn’t interested… which is absolutely fine, but wow, does being dumped in the prospect of ongoing isolation change things. I’ve felt feelings in the last two weeks I didn’t even know I had.

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Tania

I’m a 45-year-old single New Zealand citizen, female sole trader and mum of four rescue dogs and three rescue rabbits. I also have fibromyalgia. Because of my health situation, I’m used to losing social connection, not being able to work or earn as much as I used to and grieving a life I’ve lost. I’m often housebound for days or weeks at a time.

It’s been interesting to me watching the world cope with isolation. I would love for people to be more aware of what people with invisible illnesses like mine go through every day… I don’t know if this will change our world or consciousness for the better but that is my hope.

Jenny

I’m an extrovert, living alone in an apartment. I work from home. I have a lovely view and can walk along the river for exercise. My daughter, her husband and two girls live five minutes’ walk away. I met them in their garden last week, two metres apart. I’ve been FaceTiming and phoning with friends and other family… I have a good attitude to the crisis and know that we will come through if we work together. I’m 71 – risk category!

Andi

My parents adopted a cat and gifted him to me for isolation… not sure yet if that was genius or madness but I love him and it’s given me something to focus on, even if it’s a litter tray.

As a single woman I’m feeling very much on the outer in the whole coronavirus situation… Working from home I’m made to feel it’s very easy for me because so many others are dealing with kids at home and can’t focus. Whereas I’m jealous when the work is done they can hug someone and eat dinner with people they love.

I can’t get massages or manicures like I used to and 10,000 per cent understand why but the lack of touch in my life is really obvious to me during this period of isolation – the choices I make to keep friendships alive are obvious to me too, as very few friends with partners or kids have checked in on me, they are more worried about other friends with kids or isolating with partners and getting on each other’s nerves.

I think lots of people see my isolation as ideal but don’t realise how much I work in normal life to not feel lonely despite being alone… And this lack of genuine connection is making me feel very lonely.

Crystal

I live alone. I’m a health care worker so have to go to work, and this is my only in-person social contact. If I didn’t have to go to work (and be in contact with the public and sick people) I probably would have gone and lived with family for this time. Because of my contacts at work I’m not willing to see family and friends at the moment and put them at risk, even with distancing. I go for a walk each day and talk on the phone… I’ve had the realisation today though that I might spend my birthday alone.

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Sam

My flatmate just decided to move out to isolate with her boyfriend, she lost her job so it looks like I will be isolating with my two dogs in a small country town.

I have never lived alone and it freaks me out a bit to be honest. I’m quite far away from friends and family too. Even scarier, on Thursday last week, I had to call an ambulance at 3am with severe pain. It ended up being kidney stones. A night in hospital actually did me a favour, reminding me I can do it by myself.

I have put myself to work sewing scrubs for doctors in Bendigo who are short [on them]. I also just started a relationship with a man which is really tricky to navigate at the moment. He has two kids and he just lost his job. He’s really stressed and not a very good talker, so I’m not sure when I will see him in person again which is worrying…

Genevieve

I live alone in an apartment, and as an introvert, it doesn’t bother me too much (at least not yet!). I’m able to work from home and have regular conference calls, so during the week I am connecting with people regularly. I make sure I get outside at least once a day, whether its for a walk, to the supermarket or for a drive.

Sarah

I am definitely struggling at the moment. I have friends who check in, and I try to check in on them – I talk to my family regularly but they are overseas, the time difference is not always easy and I don’t want to worry them.

I lost my cool today when a friend said this might take six months, see you in September. It’s frightening to know I may only hug another person in a couple of months. I do a meditation a day online with a live group and hope to find some routine again and feel better… It’s tough with the pressure to learn a new skill or slim down or whatever and honestly, I just want it to be over, to have my friends back and have some form of a life back. To feel myself again.

Kara

I live alone with my two cats. I’m generally pretty introverted, so doing okay so far. I’m a teacher in Victoria and taught remotely last week (I teach at a private school and didn’t start school holidays on Tuesday). I will find it challenging if I am still remote teaching for an extended period after the school holidays as my workplace is where the majority of my social interactions happen.

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Sarah

I live with my cat Hamish in a unit with a small yard. I’m a primary teacher and it seems highly likely that we won’t be going back to school after the break. A lot of my social life revolves around school and the people I work with so I will miss them (as well as my kids).

I live close to my parents, who are both in their 70s, and have been going for walks with my mum each day and having a cup of tea in the garden with them (at a socially responsible distance). Hopefully I will continue to be able to do this. At the moment things are going okay but I do worry about the long haul. If we are self-isolating for months and months I worry about loneliness and having absolutely no physical contact with another human being.

Polly

I’m currently single and live alone in my apartment. As an introvert, I’ve always been very content with that set up – I recharge/rest alone throughout the week, then I make social plans for the weekend which I always really look forward to. Now those interactions are no longer an option, I feel less happy about my living situation. In the past two weeks, I’ve only had face-to-face chats with coffee shop staff and my trainer who I am meeting in the park for exercise at a safe distance. I now find myself savouring those interactions and wondering, when am I actually going to see and hug my friends and family again?

Lucinda

I have a lot of mixed feelings about this. I live alone, but am pretty extroverted so I usually don’t actually spend a lot of time at home. I spend three days a week at basketball, regularly bushwalk with my local club on weekends, I’m on a couple of boards/committees and spend a lot of time with friends and family. Now, the only “activity” I have is work, and soon I will probably be working from home. I’m not sure how I’ll handle it.

The thing I think I’ll miss the most is physical contact. I usually get hugs from family, friends, my niece, and the kids I coach at basketball. I could go months without that now…

The government keeps referring to “households” and “families”, and completely ignores that a lot of us live alone.

Deborah

I live alone with my dog and have done for some time. I’m in New Zealand and we started official lockdown midnight Wednesday for some four weeks. We’re supposed to ‘stay in our bubble’ but can form a bubble with another person on their own – except I don’t know anyone else on their own so it’ll just be me.

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I’m naturally introverted so value my own space. I spend a lot of time with my nieces and nephews and my parents on weekends so I’m going to miss them a lot!

I’m anxious at the prospect of no human contact and how I’m going to feel in a few weeks… Everyone seems to think [this] solo situation is ideal, perhaps without really thinking it through.

Lucy

I live alone with my two dogs on my family’s farm and I also work on the farm. I see myself as an introvert so I don’t mind the isolation. I still get to run outside most days and shop for groceries once a week. My parents live just five kilometres away who I see often and I see my brother most days (who also works in the farm) whilst maintaining our social distance.

Laura

I’m an introvert, and love living alone – but there’s a difference between being alone, and being lonely. This scenario is making me feel lonely, more so because I’d love to share the experience with someone! My family live interstate so I am used to not seeing them, but I have a severely ill and compromised brother so it makes me slightly anxious not being about to see them easily if I needed to.

I’m also heavily immunosuppressed myself, and for the first time feel the impact of living away from family. I do have beautiful friends here, and I have a boyfriend (who lives just down the road), but sadly I can’t see anyone even in a pair because most of them are still going to work.

Katia

I’m a teacher, so at the moment it’s school holidays in Victoria. Normally I would be chilling out in comfy clothes, reading books and binging Netflix anyway, with a few catch-ups and gym classes in between.

Catch ups have all just gone virtual which is fun in a different kind of way, and I’ve been doing live Facebook workouts with my friends too! It’s good motivation to get up and do something and I find it keeps me perky for the day. Plenty of people have been checking in as well on various platforms, which is really lovely and actually a bit overwhelming at the moment…

Having no end date is the hardest part about being alone because who knows how long it might be before I actually get to connect with people in real life again? Especially when the school holidays are over and I can’t get my fix of social interaction with my colleagues and the kids I teach. That’s when it’s really going to suck!

Are you managing self-isolation alone? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Feature image: Getty.

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