When it was announced on the news that someone with coronavirus entered the country and might have begun to infect people, many people acted like the end of the world was closer than ever. That’s especially true when various states announced that they would go on lockdown for a month or so. Everyone seemed to be in panic mode, buying everything in bulk – from foods to tissue papers.
But that was not the case for me. I was not too fazed when I heard about the pandemic. Sure, the lockdown sucked because the restaurants and clubs had to shut down, but I could still go out. I shopped for a few days’ worths of supplies on purpose so that I had an excuse to visit the supermarket and interact with people.
Did I not believe in COVID-19? Of course, I did. The fact that it was a new condition made it 100 times scarier than any illness I could think of. Despite that, I loved my freedom. I needed to leave the house, even if the only open establishment was the supermarket.
When My Routine Got Messed Up
I planned to keep on doing the same thing until the pandemic was over. In other words, I would keep on going to the supermarket three or four times a week and see other people. My boss thought it was best for us to work remotely even when the lockdown was over, so I could not do more than that. The park opened briefly, but the local government closed it again to avoid mass gatherings.
Unfortunately, I realized that any plan that seemed perfect in my head was too good to be true when the supermarket closed one day. I went out early, hoping to go around the store for an hour, but then I saw a notice on the door. It read: “Sorry for the inconvenience. An employee tested positive for COVID-19, so if you shop with us in the last few days, please let the health authorities know about it.”
That message burdened me for two reasons. One, I had no other supermarket to visit nearby. If I needed groceries, I had to order them from another store that only wanted home deliveries. Two, I could not decide what’s worse between getting a swab test and remaining in isolation.
When I requested a swab test, I tried to be as optimistic as possible. I did not feel any of the flu-like symptoms I heard and read about, after all. If I had COVID-19, I should have known it at that point. Nevertheless, I never thought of the possibility of being asymptomatic, which I turned out to be.
I promised not to go out for at least three weeks to avoid infecting others. I was determined to do it, especially since there were many oldies and kids in my neighborhood. But I would be a liar if I said that I never thought of sneaking out once.
Gosh, self-isolation was – and still is – crazy! I tried to read a book, but I found it boring. I video-conferenced with my parents, but the massive farm in their background made me miss the outside world more. After a week of staring at the same walls, I grew restless, and panic began to creep inside me. But since I was never into smoking, the next best thing for me was to drink my woes away.
It Did Not Help
Of course, drinking did not help me at all. One morning, I woke up with a hangover and got ready to buy some meds for it, but then I remembered that I could not leave, so I had to nurse myself with water. If anything, it depressed me more than ever.
Would you like to know what – or who – helped me? It was my younger sister, who just got her license to work as a counselor. She called to check up on me, and I sobbed on the phone when I heard her voice. Her voice touched my soul, and I realized how much I missed my family.
Every day since then, my sister would talk to me for at least 30 minutes. She would tell me about her day as a counselor and a mom of two playful kids. Sometimes, she would go to our parents’ house so that I could see them.
On my part, I decided to be honest about my feelings. I figured that if anyone could get me out of my depression, it would be my sister. I felt hesitant to inform her whenever I was blue, but she told me that there’s nothing to be ashamed of. “In these uncertain times, everyone is prone to having depression, especially for people like you who live alone and cannot even step out of the house for weeks,” she explained.
I had a tough time during the first few days of my isolation. It might have driven me insane if my sister did not reach out to me on time. If there’s anything I understood from experience, though, it’s that counseling would beat drinking any day.