Editorial: Mourning The Potential Loss of a “Normal” Life During a Coronavirus Pandemic

Am I going to have to wash my hands for 20 seconds, and avoid touching my face,
for the rest of my life? (Photo by Allie Smith on Unsplash)

There is a small subReddit community (4,600 members) called r/COCID19_support. The creator states in the welcome message:

It had come to my attention that a lot of news about the epidemic had been causing spikes in anxiety and problems with people’s mental health, which really exacerbates the problem.

And with more and more cities going into in lockdown and more people forcing quarantines it seems that mental health is CRITICAL at this point in time. So hence comes this sub.

We offer non-judgemental peer support, not necessarily professional advice. You can check out rules and guidelines for more.

People have written all kinds of posts, talking about all kinds of problems they are having in trying to cope with a coronavirus pandemic, but one writer in particular made me realize something profound about this coronavirus pandemic: that we have no idea what could happen, how our lives could change, or how long that change would last.

That person wrote:

I think I’m experiencing grief over what I see to be the surety of loss of “normal” life as we know it, at least for an unknown period of time in the future.

I saw an ad on my Facebook timeline – ‘Wicked’ is going to be playing in Des Moines this July. (Well, at least it’s scheduled for then).

I don’t think I’ll get to ever see ‘Wicked,’ or if I do, it might be years from now.

IF the cast continues to tour, IF the theaters are still even open then, would I even feel safe enough to go anywhere with a crowd?

Now multiply that by any future events – even seeing a movie at the local theater. Concerts. Shopping malls. Going out to dinner. Visiting with family or friends?

How long until we’re restricted from driving around the country?

When will travel be safe again? I really enjoyed cruising, I enjoyed going by airplane, train, or even bus sometimes. I enjoyed seeing other countries and tourist spots.

Judging just by what I see other places going through, this virus isn’t only affecting if people live, get sick, or die. It will change our entire way of life.

I’m sad because I already see what I’ll be missing, and I don’t know if that will be for the rest of my life or for how long.

At age 56, signifcantly overweight, and with three underlying health conditions (hypertension, asthma, and type II diabetes), I am at risk of a severe reaction to SARS-CoV-2 infection. I’ve prepared as best I can; I’ve stocked up on all my prescription medications for three months, and stocked up on non-perishable food and even some over-the-counter medications if I should get sick. (Yes, I even stocked up on toilet paper.)

But now I realize that, according to the latest advice put out by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, I am going to have to avoid going out—to restaurants, to movies, to pretty much anywhere where I could encounter crowds or be potentially exposed to someone with COVID-19. Basically, I’m going to be going to work, and every so often to the local grocery store and drug store…and that’s pretty much it.

Screencap from the CDC coronavirus website

I have made some bad choices in my life (notably, not taking my need to lose weight seriously, which has led to my problems with hypertension and diabetes) and I have had some bad luck with genetics (notably, my lifelong asthma and depression).

And it would appear that that particularly unlucky combination of circumstances might just lead me to stay stuck in my apartment during a coronavirus pandemic, terrified of getting severely ill, and possibly even dying, from a minuscule virus that started halfway around the world.

SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus (Wikipedia)

It is a very discomforting and depressing thought.

I might not be as emotionally or mentally prepared for this as I like to pretend I am. God, I wish I had a crystal ball, just to see what is going to happen, tonight. To me. To my friends and family and coworkers. To all of us.

I wish I had a crystal ball…
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3 thoughts on “Editorial: Mourning The Potential Loss of a “Normal” Life During a Coronavirus Pandemic”

  1. Sam Harris just dropped a coronavirus podcast you might find interesting. I believe he said it’s available to nonsubscribers.

      1. I didn’t give a link because I’m a subscriber and I worried I would just send you to a paywall. I’m glad you found it!

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