And so begins my quarantine journal. I am a married mother of 1 who is working from home full-time. We are prepared and completely unprepared for what the next weeks will bring. I know this is going to be hard, but I’m just not sure what to expect.
Day 1- 3/17/20 – 598 cases – 13 deaths (California)
Yesterday was Monday, March 16th. The company I work for was abuzz with Coronavirus fears and school closures. It didn’t seem real. My boss was running around talking to our IT department about how to best set us up to work remotely from home. I left work at 1pm unsure of what was going to happen. That evening I received an email with official work-from-home orders.
Today was our first official “at home” day. My daughter’s school wasn’t closed yet but I thought it best to keep her home. My husband went to the grocery store, which unfortunately was pretty bare. We are getting ready to hunker down.
This all seems eerily surreal. I am not scared just yet. We are in preparation mode so that leaves little time to think of anything else.
Day 2 – 3/18/20 – 675 cases – 16 deaths
Today was a beautiful day. I am appreciating my time with Austen. We rode our bikes around the block and played in the front yard for some time. It was nice. It feels like a day off. It feels like a much needed break from reality. But in the back of my mind, I have a feeling this feeling of elation will fade.
Day 3 – 3/19/20 – 1,006 cases – 19 deaths
Today was a strange day. We were sitting around the table eating dinner, and I peeked at my phone. I read the news that everyone else was reading at the same time. The Governor of California, Gavin Newsome, has officially issued a Shelter in Place order. I felt chills run through my body as I read the official orders, and looked across the table at Nick and said “check your phone”. Nick reads the news and says “This is pretty much what we are already doing”. He is right. He has a way of putting things in perspective. We are already at home. We are already only leaving for essential items. This order won’t technically change our lives much.
Unfortunately it will change the lives of many people immediately. Most businesses will close unless they are providing food or deemed “essential”. People are losing jobs. Businesses are shuffling to readjust their business model. This is a big change for so many. I am praying it will not affect my friends who have small local businesses.
Day 6 – 3/20/20 – 1,224 cases – 23 deaths
We decided today was a day to support our local businesses. Many restaurants are still doing pickup orders. I got out of the house for the first time in a few days to pick up dinner and drinks (Yes our local brewery was doing curb side pick-up for beer too!). Even though it felt nice to get out of the house, my anxiety was also peaking. I applied hand sanitizer before and after every interaction, and washed my hands thoroughly when I got home.
Virtual happy hour was the name of the game today. Today is Friday, although technically it is getting harder and harder to keep track of days. On a day like today, I would be grabbing drinks with my friends or pouring drinks at my winery job. Those are no longer allowed. I am an extrovert and thrive on social interaction, so this is especially hard on my mental health. Luckily my friends suggested a “Facetime Drink”. I was all for this idea! I cracked open a beer and called my three best friends. We talked and caught up like we would in person, and it warmed my heart. This will be our new normal for a while, but it doesn’t mean that human connection is impossible. We need to continue to reach out and check in with each other.
Day 5 – 3/21/20 – 1,468 cases – 27 deaths
We went for a hike today. I was unsure if this was a good decision or not. It is so hard to know what is right and what is wrong right now. We researched, and found nothing telling us we couldn’t. The trails are still open. We left early to avoid any crowds. It was so unbelievably nice getting fresh air and reconnecting with nature. But something tells me this may be the last time we will be able to do this for a while.
Day 6 – 3/22/20 – 1,773 cases – 27 deaths
Low points. I have anxiety issues that have been in my life for some time. Although I have learned to manage my anxiety most days, there are certain thoughts that creep in from time to time. Today I let the thought of an end date consume me. We have no idea how long this will last. This isn’t a vacation, this is the new normal. When I start to think that I will be home for months I hit a low point. It seems insurmountable. I know nothing is permanent and this too shall pass, but at this moment I just can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Day 7 – 3/23/20 – 2,102 cases – 40 deaths
Number of confirmed cases in California is growing at an exponential rate. For some reason, this doesn’t entirely surprise me or scare me. Testing is increasing, so confirmed cases will increase as well. All we can do is try to contribute to the solution by staying home.
Today is my mom’s birthday, and I struggled with the idea of seeing her in person. She is in her 60’s and more vulnerable to the infection from what I understand. Knowing my mom, if she were to get sick she would most likely avoid the doctor at every cost. So for her safety, we have decided to keep our distance. She tends to think we are blowing this out of proportion, but honestly I would rather be cautious when it comes to her well being. I ordered my mom’s favorite restaurant to be delivered and dropped off a present from Austen at her doorstep with the promise of celebrating in person when this is all over.
This is our new normal.
Day 8 – 3/24/20 – 2,535 cases – 53 deaths
I spent 10 minutes alone in my room crying today. I hit a major emotional wall. I feel trapped. I feel suffocated. I know that my problems are so insignificant in the big picture of what is happening in the world, but they are still very real to me. This was my lowest day thus far.
I love my daughter with all of my heart, but working was my way of establishing my sense of self. Some parents thrive on being home while others need to work. I need to work in order to fulfill my needs and be the best parent I can be. Being home with a tiny human who requires my attention 24/7 is wearing on me.
I feel as though I am losing myself. I am sad. I am low. I can’t shake it. I need people.
Day 9 – 3/25/20 – 2,628 cases – 54 deaths
Today was a better day. Life has a way of going on, even during the roughest patches. Austen was surprisingly easy on me today. She sat quietly through my meetings. I am really appreciative to have such a great kid. She has always been relatively easy, and sometimes I forget how lucky I am for that. I know mothers with some tough kids that are really going through it. I also know moms having to homeschool multiple children on top of getting all of their work done. We are all getting through the best we can.
Day 10 – 3/26/20 – 3,801 cases – 78 deaths
Spiraling. It is a term I coined for my anxiety. With my mental battle, it usually takes one though to send me down a rabbit hole. I know if I open my mind up to one scary thought, it is hard to shut off the floodgates to all of the scary thoughts. I can feel myself starting to spiral. I am not to where I was with my Postpartum Depression, but I feel myself heading there. I am thinking about getting back on medication. Tomorrow I am setting up a virtual appointment with a doctor to refill my Zoloft prescription. I am not sure if I am going to start taking it, but I think I want to have the option.
Day 11 – 3/27/20 – 4,643 cases – 101 deaths
I have generally been staying away from the news as much as possible, especially most things related to the Trump administration. But today on my daily visit to CNN.com I just couldn’t help myself. I clicked on an interview with Peter Navarro and Brianna Keilar. In the interview, Kellar asks some straightforward questions regarding the production capacity of ventilators in the U.S. Will we meet the need? Can we get to 1,000,000 ventilators if it comes to that? Instead of answering the question directly, Navarro deflects. China set us up for failure. The Obama administration set us for failure. Navarro never answers the question at hand, which seems par for the course for this group of people running our country. With apparent annoyance, Keilar goes on to tell Navarro that he is “wasting everyone’s time” by bringing up these supposed facts, and she is right. Why does it matter who set up who for failure? What are we going to do about it? What can we do about it? What is the solution?
I then found an article about “How This Will End”, which given my current mood I probably shouldn’t have read. The general idea of the article was this is going to take much longer than any of us expect. It hit me hard. This isn’t going to be a few weeks and everything goes back to normal. This is going to deeply impact our lives for months to years. My “out of sight out of mind” way of thinking was keeping me from realizing this fact, and today it hit me like a ton of bricks. None of us know how or when this will end. That is terrifying.
Day 12 – 3/28/20 – 4,643 cases – 101 deaths
I had my virtual appointment with my doctor, and he is calling in my prescription for Zoloft. Just having the option has taken a mental load off, and today I am feeling lighter. I know that there are going to be good days and there will be bad days along this journey. I also know that everyone is feeling the emotional impact. I am far from alone on this path although it feels isolating. We must find a way to find human connection.
Day 13 – 3/29/20 – 5,763 cases – 135 deaths
Lazy days. Today was filled with wine and relaxation. I took a mental break and allowed myself to relax. No news. No CoronaVirus. Just binge watching tv and a drink or two. I know it sounds self indulgent but I think we need a little of that now more than ever. Austen continues to be blissfully unaware of the world around her, and thrilled to have us home with her. She knows we can’t go to certain places because of “germies”. This morning she asked me if “the germies have flown away so we can go to the park”. I wonder what kind of impact this is going to have on her long term. Will she grow up in a germophobe fear centered world? Will she remember this hard time in history? Will she just look back on it fondly as a time where we could play together as a family? I hope it’s that last one.
Tonight I spent some time having a virtual happy hour with two good girlfriends, Olivia and Kelsey. We laughed and drank. We talked about life, and all of the things we will do when this is over. We will go to Santa Barbara. We will go to Disneyland. We will say yes to all the things.
Day 14 – 3/30/20
Some Good News. John Krasinski started a “News Source” called Some Good News featuring, well you guessed it, nothing but good news. We are seeing scary and overwhelming things everyday in the media. It is front and center in everyone’s mind. I asked Nick to tell me something not Coronavirus related, and he literally couldn’t think of one thing. Thank God for John Krasinski for giving us what we need at this very moment in time, a smile and happy tears.