Jun. 1, 2020

This virus pandemic is set to drive us all stir crazy

This mundane daily way of life we're stuck in during the virus pandemic brings flashbacks of the  long, hard winters some of us used to endure on the Prairies, ending up with cabin fever and going stir crazy from being stuck in seclusion for days, weeks and even months because of the weather.

Some people used to escape to Hawaii in the middle of winter for a short break from the prison-like lockup.

I worked at newspapers during that time and we often consulted medical specialists to enquire about the phenomenon of winter isolation. Yes, it does exist, they told us. Our personalities change for the worse when we are kept out of our regular routines for extended periods.

We’re experiencing something akin to that with the virus pandemic and its ongoing isolation which appears to be having a similar impact on everyone today. Impatience is growing, temper fuses are getting shorter the longer we remain boxed in. Even on social media many people are casting aside usual manners, courtesy and tolerance and getting bull nasty.

Seniors in care homes and their families are getting frustrated at being kept apart. The same applies to long-term hospital patients who can not interact with family members, who complain that it is leading to mental health issues. Or the opposite can happen from too much close contact with our loved ones. Haven House is experiencing an increase in calls.

We are living with a strange set of rules where the boundaries are not spelled out, often eeming to be made up on the fly. One day cloth masks are absolutely useless, and then masks are indispensable. On top of that, the majority of citizens are refusing to protect themselves or others, claiming their rights are being violated. No respect for the feelings of others.

It’s not difficult to understand the people who wonder why some retailers can remain open for business while others can’t, or why drive-in theatres are restricted in the number of people who can sit in their cars and watch a movie outdoors. People cannot go to work because their businesses are shut down through no fault of their own, and they are locked into the seclusion totally helpless, not being able to do anything about their situation.

Who would have thought that finally getting a haircut or to going to a restaurant would be that big an event to look forward to. Those who try to social distance get frustrated by those who merrily shoulder their way through the crowds.

Adding to the frustration is the constant change in conclusions expounded by those making the rules. Some of the things we were warned about as cast-in-stone truths only weeks ago are being revised almost day to day, confirming that the experts did not have enough facts because they had never dealt with this particular virus before.

It’s little wonder that fewer and fewer people have confidence in the experts, they just want to be set free. Many are no longer buying into the bill of goods they feel they are being sold.

We can’t all hop on a plane and wing off to Hawaii, so best wishes to all our shut-ins as we muster along in our claustrophobic cabins while going stir crazy.