2020 started in a moon boot and it was an omen of the year ahead. The injury was sustained at my family Christmas party and I wasn’t even drunk. I was in my sister's backyard with a bon bon hat on playing with the kids' new water toy. I fell over in a hole that was “covered” by a plant in a pot. I was squirming around on the ground like an injured hippopotamus, the kids were spraying me with water and I was crying for help with a hurt ankle. The adults finally realised that something was wrong and gathered around me. Amidst the frenzy, I had rolled in dog poo and felt sick from pain and the smell. I was assisted to a chair, given an ice pack and stayed parked there for the rest of the day. Scans later revealed I had chipped a bone in my ankle and on New Year’s Eve I was told to wear a moon boot for six weeks. Yep. 2020 has been like sitting in that seat in pain while you can’t get away from the bad smell.
Fast forward to March and I am finally free of the moon boot and ready to get out and about with family and friends. Hold up, did somebody say Covid? Lockdown? Working from home? Yes, the calendar at my work desk is stuck on March 20, 2020. The day I packed up my work chair, computer screen and headed to my new home office indefinitely.
So far it has been seven months. This is the most amount of time I have spent on my own, ever. I have worked with people in offices for 20 years. I have found it really hard to not see people. Video calls tire me out and I cannot get a good read on people. It can be really depressing being abused by a customer over the phone working in your own home. I have not completed any cool DIY renovations, major projects, lost weight, or accomplished anything that I could say I am proud of during lockdown. I have continued to parent, work full time, run a house and keep in touch with friends and family. An anxious disappointment is growing within myself that I haven't "achieved" anything in lockdown. What have I got to show for myself? I have felt useless in trying to help my mum who is slowly dying of cancer and has been in and out of hospital three times during COVID-19 restrictions. Each hospital stay she has not been allowed visitors and many nights I lay in bed crying thinking of her being alone. I have tried to keep it together whilst my relationship, partner and family is falling apart. The rest of the world doesn’t know what is happening and it isn’t something to brag about.
During lockdown my partner has spiraled into a heroin addiction. A functioning heroin addict. I knew that he had used recreationally years prior to us getting together. I never expected it to enter our lives like this. He is still living with us, still goes to work and we are still a family. I have not asked him to leave because we are in the midst of a pandemic and there is no immediate support (or am I using that as an excuse and refusing to accept reality?). If I ask him to move I fear we will lose him. He has some really outstanding parenting and human skills, is it fair that our son loses all of him?
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Once I found out he was using, he began taking a medication that acts as a blocker. That means that if he were to have heroin it wouldn’t work. I watch him have the medication every day now, like in a psychiatric nurse inspecting his mouth and watching it wash down. This is due to the day I busted him not having it, tricking me, our eyes locked together on the lie. He knew he was caught and I was devastated. That memory is burned into my brain forever. Watching him trying to cover it up was futile, the game was up. Addiction is a cruel beast, it makes people so mean, selfish and erases any moral line. He has lied many times during lockdown. He tried to swap the blocker medication out with something that looked similar. I naively watched him take “the blocker” for several days until I realised his eyes, skin colour and demeanour told the real truth; he was back using. The skill of sniffing out a drug addict is what I have learnt in lockdown. I have not spent one night away from it. I have had to stay in the house every night with this heroin hole getting bigger and fiercer.