By now the whole world is learning what it is like to be isolated, cut off and housebound through no fault of their own; and they don’t like it.
We are constantly told how people are having their wedding, holidays and parties disrupted or cancelled and everyone seems to be able to empathize with these unfortunate circumstances.
Some people are also losing their jobs and facing an unknown and worrisome future until the covid virus is finally contained and controlled. It’s an anxious and stressful time for those who do not know how they will survive and how they will earn a living.
This is an all too familiar experience for those of us with chronic illness but it has also been something that very people can comprehend and rarely give a second thought to.
As I look across social media I read accounts of people who say how hard it is staying home, how bored they are, are hopeless they feel, how cut off they are from others and how much they yearn for human contact. This is a normal day, however, for those of us with chronic conditions which leave us unable to go out and connect with others.
My husband and I have often remarked that the covid virus lockdown has made very little impact on our day to day lives and it is only now that the rest of the world can start to comprehend what we have been going through for nearly 12 years now. Yes, 12 years.
In that time we have had to cancel so many outings, we have not holidayed in nearly eight years and we haven’t been able to attend weddings, parties and social dates due to flaring symptoms, terrible pain or the inability to move limbs or see. We have had no choice but to somehow accept this and try to come to terms with it all.
Whilst I am the one that has several autoimmune conditions, it is actually my husband that I do genuinely feel for as he has chosen to go into this lockdown with me and nurse me. It places us in very difficult financial circumstances and our security has been dangling precariously for some time. But we had to hold on.
It is ironic that many people could value from the lessons and experiences of those of us who have had to deal with these lockdown situations for decades, but I am certain very few people would ever consider asking.
Craving connection and social interactions are things that chronic sufferers have just had to shutdown and contain inside themselves and I have gone many months without ever leaving my home or seeing anyone other than my husband; but rarely by choice.
During the covid pandemic I am categorised as an “at risk” person and the general public now can try to understand the risks that my health places me in and how vulnerable my body is. Years of immune suppressing drugs renders me at a high risk of contracting this virus and dying. My husband has to be extra careful too. He could accidentally bring this virus to me if he goes outside and the fact is he does have to go outside now because we frequently need groceries and medications.
Every outing is a risk of contracting a virus that currently has no cure or vaccination.
Living without a cure is now a phenomenon that people are having to live through. They are anxious for them to be developed and listen carefully for news that one is close. No one knows what that is like more than those of us with Autoimmune diseases!
We must live in constant hope and need of a cure and a successful treatment for our out of control immune system which is constantly attacking us and spreading inside us. Governments across the world have announced that they are prepared to spend billions of dollars finding a vaccination and assure is that this will happen and is closer at hand. When Autoimmunes see how quickly the world can respond and science be focused we do wonder “what about us?” at times.
Worldwide sufferers have died and continue to die through complications of our diseases but it hasn’t felt the human outcry and empathy that this current virus gets. Whilst I fully comprehend the difference between a pandemic and Autoimmune diseases I also believe that loss of life and death is still the same regardless and human life is still as valuable whether you have died from a virus or another disease. We all have value.
Lockdown is something no one wishes for, wants or chooses and now more than ever we are seeing in real time what many of us have experienced for a very long time. The major difference is that most people staying home are not in pain, disabled or suffering. They are free to move about able to do entertaining activities and catch up on many chores and tasks. This isn’t the case for many of us who must endure their lockdown in pain and struggling.
Unseen inside our homes and behind our computer screens are the lives of people whose pain and struggles have been unknown, hidden and unrecognised for so such a long time… until now. Now, so many things can finally start to be comprehended and I truly hope they will be. I hope we all learn many lessons from the current pandemic so that we will emerge from these time’s with much more wisdom and far more empathic human beings who will take less things and fewer people for granted.