The seriousness of COVID-19 is brought into sharp focus for me because my Dad lives in a long-term care home where there is currently an outbreak of at least three-dozen cases.

David Mordecai’s #MadCovidDiaries diary -Thursday April 23, 2020!

Between my last #MadCovidDiaries update and today I’ve been floundering mood-wise. I did write daily entries but they just talked about being down. Also I realised I can stick to my goal of writing something every day while the end product becomes a single weekly entry. So here we are.

I first got sick with a bug starting on March 6th. It was almost certainly just a cold. It resolved and then became vertigo which continues weeks later. I feel better now than when the vertigo first hit me but walking still feels, and sometimes looks, like I am drunk. Five weeks of vertigo has been strike one against my mood.

In my last entry I mentioned that I normally run a gardening business. We have suspended operations because of COVID-19. Unfortunately the government rules regarding shutdown where I am do allow for some interpretation and I discovered last week that some similar (but larger) businesses are continuing to operate and actively recruiting new clients. Initially I wasn’t too worried about our business surviving this shutdown but if my clients decide to switch to other businesses which are flouting the rules that will be crippling.

I have found a lot of hope in the idea that this pandemic would provide opportunities for the whole world to reorganize around putting life and health ahead of economic interests so a reminder so close to home that people will basically continue to be greedy and selfish is frustrating and disappointing and was another strike against my mood.

The seriousness of COVID-19 is brought into sharp focus for me because my Dad lives in a long-term care home where there is currently an outbreak of at least three-dozen cases. So far he seems okay but COVID-19 is killing lots of people in these settings. While I think we are past the point where infection coming from outside is the biggest risk to people like my father, outbreaks are a sign that we still have a serious problem. Infections can go from nursing homes out into the public. And in Ontario we are still not doing enough testing and tracing to be able to “re-open” with minimal risk.

That all took a kick at my mood starting on Friday, and I spent most of Friday, Saturday, Sunday and the first half of Monday in bed. This is one of the ways that being my own boss in a small family business doesn’t always work mental health-wise for me. Past work situations would have forced me out of bed and in doing so would actually have helped my mood (at least on those days where I had to work). There is a freedom that comes with my current work which, while flexible and comfortable, isn’t ideal. It’s something I try and warn other Mad folks about when they talk about starting their own businesses.

Finally on Monday afternoon I started to do something with respect to the situation: contacting government offices, the media and politicians. I’ve also reached out to our clients. And so as of Monday my mood flipped from down to up and I didn’t get to sleep on Monday night. I finally got three hours from 8 am to 11 am on Tuesday morning. The last couple nights I’ve taken medication for sleep (I have a rather unconventional way of managing my mood with medication, but it works for me). I think I’m now back to being fine.

In between all of that I’ve been on a socially distanced walk in a park with lots of space with a friend and started to play mah-jong with my housemate. My doctor is convinced I am not contagious but my housemate and I wear face-coverings when we play mah-jong and are careful about washing our hands during and after our mah-jong games. The friend I distance-walked with did not wear a mask the last time we walked (I did wear one) and I was actually a bit uncomfortable with that. He’s much younger than I am and is out and about quite a bit more.

Looks like my great COVID lockdown achievement is going to be learning to play mah-jong

The ins and outs of managing our fears of contagion within our social relationships are going to have more impact the longer this lasts. That, and the fact that I have not touched another human being in almost two months. For those of us with challenges around social interaction, anxiety, compulsive behaviour or paranoia the whole thing looks to me like a psychological minefield. Sigh.

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