QUARANTINE - DAY 27 - 1st April 2020
We across the world now are battling with the uncertainty of what will happen. Bethlehem and other countries have been struggling with this for four weeks now, while other parts of the world are a few weeks behind. What will the world look like when we come out the other side of this? Will it be a better world? Will there be less individualistic and xenophobic behaviour - less language of hate? All of us will have moments of feeling like we are battling for survival over the next few weeks - either healthwise or financially.
A mother in Bethlehem shares her struggles to keep her family safe over the past four weeks and the psychological impact that has had:
My daughter is turning 11 years today. She is really a lovely and sensitive girl. I felt guilty I couldn't do her a nice party or at least bring her a gift because of lockdown. Also I am totally tired and in a bad mood since my biological clock has changed during the quarantine. I am doing most of my work at night and getting up late since there is no meaning of getting up early these days. I didn’t sleep well last night and woke up late but I'm still tired and feeling a bit depressive I couldn't even hug my daughter in a normal manner or kiss her, probably because I feel that the safest approach to deal with the epidemic is to treat yourself as if you have the disease and treat everyone else as if they have it. This can guarantee a good control on the disease till it is positively resolved which means scientists being able to find a cure or vaccine. The other scenario could be if this is resolved negatively - meaning that it become a standard feature of modern life. Wearing safety gear and keeping social distance may simply become part of our new lifestyle.
I know I sound paranoid and I think this is normal at this stage with all that we are hearing and exposed to. Anyhow, I prepared a cake and fixed a nice dinner and tried to show my daughter that we are happy and things will get better soon. I was torn between making my daughter feel happy and by controlling my negative feelings related to the situation.
Going back to myself, today is my 27th day staying at home. I have not stepped out of our home. I even didn't go to the supermarket or grocery store. I am leaving this task to my husband to handle and we are sticking to the plan that only one should leave the home. I downloaded a youtube video on ten tips to deal with anxiety and fear associated with the epidemic. I shared it with friends but I was sure that I was talking to myself. It's not about going outside home, but it's about the whole crazy situation with all the news and cases we are hearing about. People here do not get the idea about social distancing and this is making things get worse, although I see good steps taken by the Palestinian authorities to control the epidemic.
This low mood led me to watch lots of movies - even documentary ones. I watched a lot of documentaries about China and the Chinese experience and learned a lot of info that I find myself able to share with others. From this disease point of view the lockdown is the best idea but for the economic and political concerns, I have my doubts.
I learned a lot about the Dr Li Wenliang, who became a hero and who raised the issue of authoritarian suppression of free speech. I believe that he should become a world hero for raising the alarm about the coronavirus in the early days of the outbreak. The Public Security Bureau made him sign a letter. In the letter he was accused of "making false comments" that had "severely disturbed the social order". Even after oppression he died from the infection in Wuhan hospital where he worked and was being treated. Dr Li tried to send the message and warn people on this epidemic and share data with his colleagues. What would the scenario look like if his voice had not been silenced and oppressed? Is this something we should think about after corona? Or we will go back to our boring life before corona. Will stories such as Dr. LI's story be forgotten and matter no more because we will get more indulged with the materialistic aspects of life?
Photo courtesy of Majd Abusrour