Coronavirus Diaries: Blog 1 - The Extrovert's Nightmare

I get energized by other people's energy. If I am isolated from people, I will be depleted and depressed.

Coronavirus Disease Covid-19 March 18, 2020

6 Weeks Ago: Oh dear that virus that popped up in China looks horrible. I feel so bad for all of those who have gotten it and who have to be quarantined. We are so lucky that's all the way in China. And we are so lucky that we don't have that in the United States or the United Kingdom . . . .

4 Weeks Ago: People are stuck on a ship? And there are like 2 cases in every country? Oh my. Well, at least they are being isolated. It's just two or three cases. I guess no trips to China anytime soon . . . .

2 Weeks Ago: Whoa. How did 3 cases in Italy turn into over 10,000? No boss, I haven't visited Italy in the past 14 days. No, I just got something stuck in my throat. That wasn't a real cough. No, I do not have any plans to travel outside of the United Kingdom anytime soon . . . .

1 Week Ago:  Wait a minute. The U.S. banned travel from Europe AND the U.K.? Are you telling me I can't go visit my family or friends or my hometown? Oh, there's an exception for American citizens. Phew! Wait another minute. My writer's workshop next week got cancelled . . . .



I like many never thought it would get this far this fast. I joked around with friends saying that if I got quarantined at home for 14 days I could get so many house projects done. But, I never thought that it would actually happen though. I like everyone else can't wrap my head around this. Today is March 18, 2020 and I am sitting here in an empty cafe on a nearly empty street here in Glasgow. I'm not supposed to be here. I am supposed to be at home and/or I am supposed to be looking for more antibacterial wipes.

Growing up, my Dad always told me that I need to watch the news. He would make me watch 30 minutes of CNN every night and he'd make me take one page of notes and turn it into him. (I know right!) It was horrible. My husband has always told me to keep up with current events as well but I selectively stayed away from the news because it was always depressing and I don't need that kind of energy in my life!

But today, I can't take my eyes off of the news. I am constantly checking and reading all of the coronavirus stories on CNN and BBC. I am constantly checking to see how many more new cases there are in the world, in the U.S. and the U.K. To be more specific, I am checking the number of cases in Glasgow and all of the other cities in the world where all of my loved ones are.

I am afraid to come into contact with the elderly. In my eyes, they are now the most fragile beings in the world. I must stay 3 feet away from them at all times. My mother in law is 67 and one of my best friends in Scotland is 69. Do they have enough sanitizer? I can't let them go outside. I need to wipe the door handles when I enter their houses! What about those portable air filters? Should they be wearing masks?

People are no longer people. They are all potential virus carriers. I've started taking the stairs at work because I do not want to be in the elevator in such close proximity to people and I work on the 10th floor! (9th floor according to the British but don't get me started on the linguists of "ground floor" vs. the "first floor"!) This is incredibly hard for me. I am an extrovert. I get energized by other people's energy. If I am isolated from people, I will be depleted and depressed.

It's one thing to have a long day at work or a long week of work and want to stay at home and Netflix and chill. But to be forced to stay at home for an unknown period of time? My husband and I were talking about going to Canada in April. We were also planning to go to London for a fun little weekend trip. Screw Canada and screw London. Going to the local grocery store across the street is now a risk.

I love date nights with my husband on weekends. I love meeting friends during the week and even though it's now been a little over a year, I love exploring Glasgow. I work in the city centre which is the heart of Glasgow and after work, I enjoy stopping by shops and cafes and trying new things. But above all, I love going to Gurudwara. I love attending divans and kirtans. I love going to workshops. I love feeling like I am one with the community.

Yup, I am an extrovert.

Being quarantined will probably be one of the biggest challenges I'll ever take in my life. But it HAS to be done.  And I don't think people really get it. It's like every single time we go out, we increase the risk of more people dying. To the young folks that are reading this right now: I know, I know, you are healthy and you will be fine if you get this disease. But you might pass it on to someone else who won't be fine. This disease is so insanely contagious that just breathing the same air too closely to someone else will transfer the virus from one person to the next. And if all of the vulnerable people get this all at the same time, there simply won't be enough resources to take care of them and keep them alive. A man from Italy showed the obituary pages from the newspaper over there. It was ten pages long! Today on CNN I read that in Italy "the dead are being stacked up to be buried as funeral services are strictly prohibited."

If we don't get our act together, our countries could go down that same path.

My office is frantically trying to order laptops and secure tokens (no, not the Chuck E Cheese tokens!) and soft cards (another computer electronic thing) so that we can all work from home. The majority of us take public transportation into the city centre so this is crucial.  I broke down and cried this past weekend because of all of the anxiety I'm having. Even India has banned travel to their country to non Indian citizens. So, if anything happens to any of our family members, we can't even go there.

All of the travel bans, cancelled events, and daily restrictions are incredibly sad although completely necessary and understandable. It’s still hard.

I am trying to do more paath and/or listen to more paath. Japji Sahib in the morning and Kirtan Sohaila at night for sure. I need to practice simran and meditation so that I can calm my mind. I keep on trying to remind my self of the mool mantr and of Nirvair and that we are to live without fear. But how?

How do we not live in fear at a time like this?
How do we stay in awareness without being fearful?
How do we stay precautious without being paranoid?

In other words, how do we stop ourselves from buying so much toilet paper!!!

What are your thoughts and how are you coping?

Bhull Chuk Maaf
Christine Kaur

Click here for part 2: My Doctor Thinks I Have It

Click here for part 3: My Night at the Hospital and the Days After...

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