Coronavirus Diary: Three side effects of lockdown

A blog about vivid dreams and gratitude – some of the unexpected side effects of lockdown, along with the usual dash of good news from around the world.

We are not all in the same boat

I want to start this week’s diary by wishing you well and expressing some gratitude.

Having had conversations with people in a whole variety of different situations recently, I have been struck by how our experience of lockdown is dictated by our living conditions. They range from the married man spending quality time with his kids in his rural house; to the single professional in her early 30s living in an inner-city shared flat.

One is enjoying domestic bliss and the lack of commute; the other is trying to hide her anxiety and depression from near strangers.

We are not all in the same boat.

The sixth stage of lockdown

Perhaps there is a sixth stage to lockdown which I didn’t identify in last week’s blog: Gratitude. I hope it doesn’t come across as smug to say I am grateful. It may not feel like it when watching the news, but we are the lucky ones.

The sun came out at the start of lockdown and only paused briefly to deliver a rainbow.

A blog about vivid dreams and gratitude - some of the unexpected side effects of lockdown, along with the usual dash of good news from around the world.

Most of our toilets are working* and the fridge is full of food (not for long, I am the mother of boys after all).

*We haven’t gone more than a week with all toilets in working order since January.

Talking of boys, we had a lockdown birthday celebration for The Teen at the weekend, including a treasure hunt and family Zoom call, which he loved.

A blog about vivid dreams and gratitude - some of the unexpected side effects of lockdown, along with the usual dash of good news from around the world.

We live in the UK, a country with an amazing health service, devoted carers and incredible key workers. The bin collectors still come, the post is delivered, and the dog already has an appointment for a haircut – long before I’ll be able to get one.

You are reading this on a device which contains the whole world’s information; a device which will soon be able to warn you if you have come into contact with the virus.

Whenever and wherever you’re reading this, you are alive. As I say, we are the lucky ones. So please count your blessings and be grateful for what you have.

Permission to rant

However…

I am not being sanctimonious. There are days when we all feel like shite, despite the existence of brownies and superfast broadband. Just because we’re in a relatively privileged position doesn’t mean we can’t talk about our struggles. If you want to have a moan, you’ll find plenty of empathy here.

There are serious side effects to lockdown I could write about – anxiety, depression, insomnia and worse – domestic violence. I’m aware of the struggles that many people are facing. Those are for another time.

Here are three alternative side effects I’ve experienced during the lockdown, and I know I’m not alone.

Vivid dreams

BC (Before COVID) I used to wake myself up laughing, my dreams were so funny. I honestly entertained the idea of becoming a standup comedian, based on a couple of jokes I forgot as soon as I opened my eyes. Turns out I’m also quite the lyricist and compose beautiful poetry in my sleep.

Now, I’m having these completely crazy vivid horrifying dystopian dreams which I cannot shake off for days. On Monday night I woke up sweating, having dreamt that I watched a group of people on a fairground ride going around and around so fast, that they turned to mush.

A blog about vivid dreams and gratitude - some of the unexpected side effects of lockdown, along with the usual dash of good news from around the world.

Other dreams are too disturbing to commit to paper. My Instagram survey of… ooh about six people (and therefore representative of the whole population) confirmed that I’m not the only one who can’t shake the feeling there are zombies in the garage. Ssssh, don’t wake them.

Weight gain

Repeat after me: “I DO NOT CARE WHAT I WEIGH”. I do not care what I weigh. And yet I weigh myself every morning and that bastard scale is going in the wrong direction. Too much bread, wine and chocolate. I do not care what I weigh, but I have noticed the double chin is now omnipresent.

What I’m saying is that I REALLY care about my weight right now. Sorry body-positivity warriors. I’ll shut the door on my way out.

Redirected spending

This side effect may be related to the previous one. We are eating all our money. My weekly grocery bill has doubled since lockdown began. Sainsbury’s delivers a shocking amount of food each weekend and by Wednesday the boys want to know when the next delivery is coming. By the end of the month, half of my income has been spent on groceries.

I’m thinking of asking my clients to cut out the middle-man and just pay Sainsbury’s directly.

And now for my regular coronavirus feature:

Good news from around the world

Hong Kong, one of the world’s most densely populated cities, has now gone over three weeks without any new cases of coronavirus.

Thousands of businesses in New Zealand have reopened on Thursday as the country relaxes its coronavirus curbs, with some hairdressers seeing overnight queues round the block. Shops, cafes, and public parks are all open as the country moves into a new phase, having had no new cases of the virus for several days.

A test to find out whether people have been infected with coronavirus in the past has been approved by health officials in England. The blood test looks for antibodies to see if a person has already had the virus and might now have some immunity.

That’s it for this week. I hope you’re coping and keeping positive. I’d love to hear from you as always, about what you’re grateful for and what side effects you’re experiencing. I’m toying with the idea of non-coronavirus features. I haven’t decided yet. Let me know if you’re completely bored with my COVID content, and what you’d prefer to read about.

Stay safe.

Much love, Vx