My fellow Victorians. It is OK not to be OK right now. Even if it is “only a week”.
Day four of Melbourne’s snap lockdown and today I am so depressed I am almost non-verbal.
But it’s only seven days, right? Surely, by now, this should be easy. “One day at a time”, “We’ve done it before, we can do it again”, “We’ve got this”. How many of us have heard these well-intentioned but somewhat misguided expressions over the past few days.
My counter to these well-meaning words of encouragement – it is not “just a week”. It is a culmination of one week on top of the past fifteen months of Australia’s, and particularly Victoria’s, fractious relationship with COVID-19. The past year and a half has left my emotional resources depleted, the former resilience that I used to be known for, now non-existent and a psychological fragility that I have never experienced, but I fear am now stuck with for the long run.
Watch: Victoria's Acting Premier announces the state's seven-day lockdown. Post continues below.
How do I know this specific timeframe you ask? Because my second child, my daughter Eleanor, was born at the very start of it all. A true iso-baby. I remember sitting on the hospital bed in my room on the maternity unit in February 2020, tired, swollen and sore. But blissfully happy. While feeding Ellie, only hours old, I watched the news about the first cases of this terrifying new COVID-19 virus detected in Australian returned travellers. I don’t think I have turned the news off since. Little did Ellie or I know then of what was to come. How much of life has changed in her short existence.
Having always been a positive, upbeat and fairly easy-going individual, the past year’s experiences with COVID, lockdowns, separation from family and friends, isolation, loneliness and sheer boredom has unlocked some previously hidden portion of my brain, releasing a wave of despair, rage, anxiety and hopelessness, where previously none existed. And all at the drop of a hat.
It doesn’t take much these days. I can be quick to sadness. Quick to rage. At my children. At my husband. At my own inanimate surroundings for god’s sake. Not to mention the PTSD symptoms that creep in when I see a certain orange and blue-clad children’s entertainer on YouTube…
COVID has already stolen so much from us. My son’s third and first-ever actual birthday party was planned for this week. Now cancelled. And that is I am sure one of the least important events around Victoria of this coming week that has had to be called off.