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The COVID gray zone: My take on the quarantine aftermath

So, here we are. July, 9 2020. This roll into summer has definitely been…something. We aren’t exactly in quarantine, anymore.

States have begun to open back up, some as early as April 30. Alabama, I am looking at you. But I’m not exactly jumping back into the swing of things. The quarantine aftermath is a lot to deal with.

I mean, movie theaters like AMC just now decided to make masks mandatory, when they’re finally open, thanks to the public demand.

It’s hard to feel safe when businesses are hellbent on providing for their own survival rather than the health of their literal customers and employees.

Honestly speaking, it feels like things are kind of in a gray zone over here. I have friends that are going out to small parties, bars, and the like.

All the while, I also have friends that are still completely locked up that won’t even order food. And school. There are so many questions. Will it be online completely? Will I be able to move back into my dorm?

It’s a weird time to live through. Some jobs have started opening back up, some are most likely going to be from home until 2021. And unemployment has kicked in at around 13.3%.

Effects of the quarantine aftermath

Even personally, this whole experience has been kind of weird for me. I love being home, playing Spyro, and watching my healthy dose of Better Call Saul.

But there’s something about not having the choice to see the people you want to see, about not being able to go outside because of the threat it poses, that sucks the joy out of being home.

Perhaps it’s the uncertainty. I know I am not alone in this. According to Stateline, an initiative of The Pew Charitable Trusts, it’s the fear and emotional trauma that surrounds this pandemic that will be far more impactful on the majority of individuals.

The pandemic exacerbates people’s stress and anxiety because it creates uncertainty. Not to mention that social distancing can have an impact on people with anxiety and increase feelings of loneliness or depression.

Obviously, this doesn’t mean we should just pretend this isn’t happening. We just need to find better coping mechanisms.

Personal Experiences

I mean, this makes sense, at least from my own experiences. College spring semesters didn’t exactly finish up the way they were planned.

Personally, I had to leave my college quickly. I had to pack all of my belongings in two weeks and get out of New York. A lot of people were sort of, displaced. And then, even though it’s over, the remnants are still awkward, especially for graduates.

School ended quietly online and now, things are starting to get back to normal. Sort of.

But the pandemic is not exactly going away. At least in Florida, things are becoming extraordinarily worse, weekly, without any intention of stopping.  There are a lot of rumors throughout about even falsified documents.

The Land of The Free…And The Sick

This pandemic has especially been something here in the States. After all our efforts during May and June, it feels like it might’ve been futile, as cases keep climbing.

Our president isn’t exactly too keen on stopping the reopening, either.

On a grander scale though, with our current president stating we should take fewer tests to lower the number, you can understand why this might cause some concern for people.

Now, while many countries are also slowly beginning to reopen, we are still stuck with the increasing danger of the virus. In fact, we are moving backward in terms of progress, yet still, pushing forward?

It’s hard to feel safe when the numbers are increasing and nothing is the same. Even if the government is trying its damnedest to pretend it is.

Even harder so to feel safe when things like wearing a mask have become entirely political.

Wearing a mask, especially when social distancing is a bit more difficult (perhaps due to space, etc), prevents the spread of COVID-19.

It is not just for you, but also for your own community, as you never know who may be suffering.

Long-Lasting Effects

While the Pew Charitable Trusts does say this is going to take a while to recover from, the harder question to answer is how long of a while.

Which is fair. The stages of trauma are to be expected but the comeback is dependent on an assortment of things.

Job security, living factors, health, and more are all examples. Even without these factors, having no idea what is going to come next takes time to get used to.

Recovering from this, not just financially, but physically and emotionally, is a lot for people, especially when we aren’t even out of the woods yet. In fact, it looks like we are finding ourselves lost even deeper.

If you’re feeling depressed, anxious, or stressed, that’s okay. It’s perfectly normal. I mean, I don’t even know if I can go back to school next semester and I’m not the only person in this boat.

People who are looking at prospective jobs are also facing difficulty. Shit, even people with jobs who have been out of school are still struggling.

So don’t knock yourself if you have been feeling this way. The only surefire thing I can say is that we will definitely be wearing masks for at least a while longer.

Keep social distancing and avoid crowded places. Seek therapy if you can and self-care whenever possible.