Feeling the lockdown strain: ‘It is very difficult, boring and lonely’
We asked readers how they are coping with the lockdown now. Here’s what they had to say
Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill / The Irish Times
Data from mobile phones and seismic sensors has suggested an increase in activity, or a “slippage” in public compliance with the social distancing advice, chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan said on Thursday.
The Irish Times invited readers to tell us how they are handling the restrictions now, and how they feel about the measures possibly being extended beyond May 5th. Here’s a selection of responses we received.
Sandra Munsanje, Dublin: ‘We live 10km from our children but they might as well be in Australia’
I am losing touch with my family. My grandchildren are missing from our lives. They are too small to be interested in a Zoom call. We have tried to keep up contact with them but they disappear from view. We would have seen them at least once a week and they would stayover regularly. We live 10km from our children but they might as well be in Australia. We cannot keep this up any longer. We need to be able to see each other and/or visit them now that they say the children are not superspreaders.
Clare McCormick: ‘We are cocooning and enjoying the togetherness’
I am scared to venture out. All our groceries are delivered. But I am loving it. Blessed we are with the weather and good health. My husband and I had plans for our 50th wedding anniversary celebration this year, but are cocooning instead and enjoying the togetherness in this time warp. I get books and magazines delivered, and our postman is a God’s send - he collects letters that I write to my grandchildren. I spend all my time in the garden, and I’ve sowed every potato I’ve come across with a shooting eye. If we were having bad weather I might not be as chirpy.
Margaret: ‘It is very difficult, boring and lonely’
It is very difficult, boring and lonely. Social distancing, handwashing, even the 2km limit is okay, but being expected not to see anyone is impossible. At the beginning Dr Holohan said it was for a two-week period, but he never mentions this now, and there is no end in sight. I would understand if restrictions had to be imposed again, but there are economic and mental health considerations to an endless lockdown.
‘I could be considered almost institutionalised at this stage’
I was struggling with the confinement until George Lee clarified that the cocooning was a strong recommendation, and I wouldn’t be arrested. I went for a short walk locally, and next day walked 200 metres to a shop to get a food treat. Then, I got a delivery slot from a supermarket (albeit two weeks away), and the panic eased.
I haven’t been out since, and have another delivery scheduled for May 5th. I can live with that, but considering I have been on reduced contacts since March 4th (when I decided my holiday might have put me at risk), I could be considered almost institutionalised at this stage. I walk around the grounds of the apartment complex occasionally, and watch TV. I am awaiting surgery too, so I’m a bit restricted.
Sarah: ‘Every couple of days it hits the kids and they get upset’
We are now into week seven at home with three small kids. We are working parents. We are sticking close to home, obeying guidelines but it is getting harder and harder. We go along okay, but every couple of days it hits the kids and they get upset, wanting a return to preschool, school, grandparents, GAA, swimming... normality.
It’s getting harder and harder to keep telling them about viruses - they just don’t care, they just want their lives back. And unfortunately, it is not on the horizon for them at all - no school, no playgrounds, nothing. I feel parents of kids have had a very raw deal in all of this. Thankfully both our jobs are safe and very understanding of the current situation.
I struggle to see what the outcome here will be - I understand why we are doing this but a bit of me wonders are we just kicking a can down the road. I think there is now as much responsibility on the Government to ensure that sufficient systems are in place to handle a rapid spread of the virus in the near future, as it there is responsibility on us to maintain social distancing. We have passed the initial stage of buying time. Personally I have had enough.
Michael Walker, Cork: ‘The Government owes the public more clarity’
I live one mile from a village and I go shopping roughly twice a week. I exercise every day, mostly long walks on the country roads leading to my house. I am generally very compliant, and everyone else I know is as well. I haven’t seen friends in over a month. I am still working from home so I still have some of my normal routine.
But I do find it hard to be locked down for all of these weeks, and I think the Government owes the public more clarity on when and how our normal freedoms will be phased back in. I understand the reason for the lockdown, but I want the Government to acknowledge that what we are accepting is a very severe interference with our normal civil rights - rights of movement, rights of association etc.
It isn’t only that - the concerns for the economy are that if we remain locked down too long, it can kill off so much business that we could have a great depression, with years of economic pain. I would like to hear what efforts the Government envisages to provide us with more freedom over time, and most importantly, I just want to hear that the Government recognises that this can’t go on too long.
Chantelle Kirk, Waterford: ‘My children are bored’
It is hard when I can’t see my parents who live far from me. My kids miss going to visit them. Also my grandad is in a nursing home in Dungarvan, I can’t go visit him either. My children are bored at home, and we can’t go out much as my son has asthma.
Mary, Dublin: ‘My sanity and stress levels are really tested some days’
I’m certainly finding lockdown really hard. I want to follow the rules but my sanity and stress levels are really tested some days. I’m renting with two others in a small enough house. Working and sleeping in my bedroom all day really gets to me sometimes. I’ve had a day when it all just got too much, I was sitting at my work desk on the brink of tears and frustration and i went to a local park for four hours and just lay down there - just to be out of the house, away from being confined with the same people day in, day out.
I’ve also stayed with my brother for a weekend in his nearby apartment (within the 2km and he lives alone), and also another day, walked to Howth and back for about six hours (outside the 2km but I spoke to no one), as somedays i just don’t care about the 2km and break it for my own mental wellbeing. But I’m still cautious and wash my hands and have disinfectant with me at all times.
I cannot wait for this to end. I’m going mad not being able to go walking in the mountains, I miss it so much. To be honest, I don’t fully see the harm in one person in their own car going for a walk in the mountains if they don’t go with anyone else.
My boyfriend lives in London and we’ve been doing well with chatting every day and having long Zoom “dates”, but I really miss him, and the first opportunity I’m going to go see him. I’m under 35 and hope the phased easing of the rules will be more lenient for the younger generation as suggested in a David McWilliams article, while the older generation have to remain more cautious for longer.
Sarah Eustace: ‘I am worried that complacency is setting in’
I am worried that complacency is setting in around my area. I have seen families meeting up with their kids and going for walks closely together. I have also seen the local shop much fuller than usual and people not keeping a distance. No hand sanitizer or gloves available anymore. There is a general feeling that people are relaxing and not taking the social distancing as seriously. I am still keeping strict distance and keeping my son away from all his friends. I hope the Government can reiterate the importance of keeping strict social distancing.
Some names have been changed.