The Unaddressed side-effects of COVID Quarantine

I got COVID on the way home to visit my family for Christmas and let me tell you it is an interesting experience. As someone who has studied the human body in-depth and knows how viruses work, this has been an extraordinary time of observation.

I do not get sick often; maybe once every two years. I am religious about washing my hands, have not touched a door handle in like five years, and I generally stay away from people in crowds. However, when I do happen to get sick, my body follows a similar pattern every time: congestion, headaches, sore throat, lose my taste…and then my body battles back the opposite way. Usually lasts maaaaaaybe a work week.

My battle with COVID followed the same trajectory with the addition of a few fun COVID-y symptoms but that’s not what we’re here to talk about today. No, today we’re here to talk about quarantine.

Quarantine sucks. Absolutely. Anyone who tells you it doesn’t is an absolute liar or they didn’t properly quarantine. It is a time of sickness, coupled with sadness, with a dash of FOMO to the extreme. Add in the fact that I did it over the holidays? The feelings were indescribable.

If I did have to describe them though I think, because I have been gone from my family and had been looking forward to this time to hang out with them for so long every kind of sadness and correlating emotion washed over me in waves. Wave after wave after wave.

First, I denied it. I couldn’t have it. I couldn’t have COVID. I am always careful. I stayed away from everyone overseas so that I could be with my family. I was uber safe when I got back to the US because I was happy to finally get back home to visit with my family. I washed my hands, stayed away from people after coming home, and didn’t even eat on the plane.

Then, I was angry. How could I have it? How could my friend who only wanted to say hello give me COVID? I know he didn’t mean to but he robbed me of the time that I had worked so hard for. How didn’t he know he was sick?

So, I angrily re-did all of my previous research – trying to figure out how early I could get out of quarantine. I knew it was 10 days but I was hoping my body would inhale COVID and quickly destroy it, so I would be okay quicker and not have to deal with the sickness or the growing, draining FOMO. I prayed that my whole break wouldn’t be ruined.

Then I was overcome with sad anger. Why me? I have been alone and away from my family for so long. I tried to do everything right. This isn’t fair. I gave up and just sat there in one spot in my room not caring, not feeling, not wanting to talk with anybody or even eat. I just wanted this whole process to be done.

Finally, I accepted the fact that I was going to be stuck in my room for at least 10 days. All the while hoping and praying it was just those 10 days and then I could be free. (Spoiler alert it was not just those 10 days).

Unfortunately for me it wasn’t until a long-COVID amount of time later (Honestly, I won’t tell you how long. It will just make you feel miserable for me.) I was finally free…but that was after I went through all of those pre-listed stages of sickness, hurt, and waves of COVID-grief.

It was a morose week of Sundays that I do not wish on anyone and something that, even amongst the people that I know that have had COVID, no one is really talking about. Maybe it was just me? I was sequestered to a single room at my family’s house. So maybe this was my special circumstance? Or maybe it was just that I had been waiting for a chance to hang out with my loved ones for so long and to feel so angry, then so sick, and to hear everyone else outside my door interact with each other when I couldn’t that made it hurt more but it was hard. I don’t know. Either way check on your quarantining friends who have COVID because both their actual and mental health might be shaken. Quarantine is hard when you do it right. Don’t let them be alone.

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