My descent into madness

I was originally going to write this thread last night, when I noticed that I had started obsessing about something that suggested that I was descending into madness. But then today has taken a darker turn and so the thread’s content will do so, too. Fair warning.

I guess at the heart of my apparent need to write this post is a question that I’ve started asking myself with increasing urgency: Why is no-one else writing about this stuff? Am I the only one who is spiralling downwards into, well, a pretty dark place? How are the rest of you not doing so? Maybe you are and you don’t want to talk about it. I don’t know.

Anyhoo, it all started innocently enough yesterday evening when I saw a Loungefly bag on the internet somewhere. I decided I liked it and wanted to buy one, and I found exactly what I was looking for on eBay.

s-l286

Nice, isn’t it.

On reading the details of the listing, I noticed that the seller had five bags of this style and they commented that the exact position of the pattern varied from bag to bag. I wrote to ask if I could see photos of the bags they had available. I really liked the one in the picture above. Sadly that one had sold, but the seller sent me photos of the remaining four.

They just weren’t as good. The placement just felt off to me. I didn’t love the bags.

So I started searching for other sellers. And there were a few, and they all had multiple bags. So I asked them all to send photos. I must have looked at two dozen variants of that bag. And in each one I managed to find a flaw in the placement that made it less good than that original bag.

I spent the whole evening on this. Maybe three hours. I eventually realised that this was all a little crazy. I don’t even need a mini backpack. I’ve endlessly tested WDW park bags and my latest one is hanging in my wardrobe awaiting my next trip. It’s a Vans mini backpack. It’s very lightweight. Unlike, I suspect, the Loungefly ones. Who wants to wear a heavy backpack in the Florida heat and humidity?

Well, I gave up and went to bed. I eventually got to sleep, where I was troubled by two nightmares, the first of which woke me up. I had a very strong sense that my mother had just died and the nightmare was there to tell me. I’ve had a few nightmares recently and I’ve just read that there is apparently a phenomenon that people are calling “quarandreaming”.

As I have observed around these parts before, the UK (well, England; the other nations have their own rules) is on lockdown and has been since the beginning of the year. That’s approaching three months. There will be some relaxation of the rules on April 12th, which will allow me to undertake a trip to two different theme parks that I’ve planned for my birthday on April 22nd. But hotels will not be opening until mid-May.

Last week a Facebook memory popped up.

Nice, isn’t it.

It’s the Studley Water Gardens. It was where I was on March 17, 2017. It was a lovely day and it’s a fun place to take the dog.

It’s also illegal for me to go there now.

I’ve been trapped in Harrogate since December 26th. My earliest escape from the crushing monotony will be April 22nd. That’s four months of being almost entirely isolated from other human beings, certainly of meaningful in-person interactions with other human beings. It’s literally me and my dog.

I realised a couple of weeks ago that I was starting to lose it and I decided I needed to cut down on my working hours. Being self-employed, this was an expensive realisation, but things were sufficiently bad that I knew I had to act. I became aware that I’m now at the age my father was when he had his first heart attack. I’ve felt some thudding from my heart a few times in the last month or so. I cut my hours, and my income, by 25%.

On Wednesday I had the first vaccine and almost immediately afterwards I felt physically fantastic. I’ve read of others feeling like this. It’s the draining away of accumulated stress.

It didn’t last long, however. Within a few hours I saw on the news that the UK vaccine supply is being disrupted and a significant component is going to be suspended for a month. Meanwhile the EU, which has handled COVID and the vaccine incredibly poorly, is threatening to ban exports of vaccines to the UK. The stress flooded right back in. (It subsequently emerged that my second dose would probably not be affected by any of this, but by then the damage had been done. The stress was back.)

Nonetheless my hope that my endlessly rescheduled trip to WDW, now in August, would actually take place increased. The UK is still doing really well on the vaccination front and so is the US, as I understand it. But just to be extra sure, I booked an emergency back-up trip to Disneyland Paris for the same dates, so I have two chances to get away.

But then today I read headlines saying, “Scientists have said going on a foreign holiday from the UK this summer is very much in doubt.”

And I just found myself back at hopelessness and despair and falling and falling and falling.

I’m going to get a little angry now. It’s going to sound like I’m angry with you. I’m not. I’m angry with the situation and my utter powerlessness to do anything about it.

It fills me with rage that it seems like for so many people everything is just normal. Well, new normal. WDW may be operating at 35% capacity or whatever, but that’s still a buttload of people going there day after day. And they’ve been doing so since last summer. Disneyland Paris reopened — I managed a sneaky three night trip in August — and then it closed again. And it’s stayed closed. And there is no reopening date. And even if there were, we are literally not allowed to leave the country. It’s literally against the law to go away on vacation. That might change in May. Maybe June. Maybe not at all this summer. Maybe the scientists are right.

I have a friend who goes to WDW every month. And, when DLR reopens, she’ll be going there every week, as she lives in LA. I should be happy for her. I’m not. I hate her for it.

I am in jail. I am in solitary confinement. And it is pushing me ever closer to the edge. And I don’t get why other people aren’t feeling the same.

What makes it worse is that, no, there is nothing you can do. No, I don’t need someone to talk to. I have friends. We talk online, or by phone, every day. I FaceTime students five days a week. That’s not the issue. The issue is that I’m physically alone in all this. No-one brings me a cup of tea. I have to do everything myself. All the time. With no respite. I can’t even escape to a hotel for a few days because they’re all shut. And we’re not allowed to travel outside our hometowns anyway.

I’m writing all this partly out of explosive frustration. Partly in the hope that there may be other people who feel the same. And partly because I just want the record to reflect that lockdowns may be necessary to control this pandemic, but they are driving people (well, me) insane. And while I love the fact you’re all posting trip reports, I really resent you for it. And, yeah, it’s not your fault. And why shouldn’t you get away if you can. I would.

But I can’t. And it’s doing my head in. Sorry.

16 Likes

You are 100% NOT alone in this. While I’m not subject to the same strict lockdown as you, I am essentially in the same boat as my high risk status has me taking every precaution available. It sucks. It’s infuriating and yes I too resent those who are going about their lives like nothing happened. I don’t know which is worse. I do know you are not alone in this as several of my friends feel the exact same way. This has been a tough week for me as well. I cry. A lot. Like someone died and you can’t breathe and you sob with your whole body cry. A lot. Like you I have so much to be grateful for and thankful for, but it’s just not enough in this climate. I know you aren’t religious, but I’ll add you to my prayer list which at this point is so long it’s depressing in and if itself.

You will get through this. And we’ll all be here to listen.

9 Likes

This made me really sad. I’m really sorry and I get how awful being alone is for long periods and what it does to mental health. I’m going thru family issues with severe depression in one of my children most definitely made worse by this pandemic and so all I can say is please take care of your mental health however you can given the circumstances because your community needs you. Find hope that it will end and in the meantime “just keep swimming”.

9 Likes

You are not alone. This is so hard. For me it’s the opposite issue. I go to work everyday but am not doing anything else. It is so unreal. Surrounded by people everyday but not able to socialize when not at work. It’s this weird loneliness while surrounded by people. Not just lonely but totally overworked. It led to me realizing that physically and mentally I am tapped out. I was afraid of what would happen if I didn’t make a change so I have changed everything. I’m hoping I will be able to reverse some of the damage of this year. We lost so many loved ones this year that maybe I have a false sense of urgency to not wait to make changes. As a single parent I hear you being sick of having to do everything! It has gotten so old! Obsessing over our trip has been one of my coping strategies even if it doesn’t happen! This morning I looked for Disney face masks for 2 hours before remembering I bought appliqués to use on the ones we already have! I hope knowing you are not alone helps.

8 Likes

I didn’t read all of your original post before knowing what to say (I promise to read it later…). You are absolutely not alone. I would totally email the sellers asking to see the variations on the bags, it matters! To me as an art historian anyway. There is nothing at all wrong with looking very closely at something and caring about that. I’ve been buying a lot of art prints off of Etsy lately and have sometimes been sorely disappointed if things aren’t exactly as on computer. Sigh. This too shall pass. You will get to go places again and this may seem like some bad dream eventually. I may comment more once I can read your whole post.

5 Likes

I’ll reiterate what has been said by others, you are not alone.This will pass. I keep repeating this to myself as I struggle each day to focus on the positive. I will remind you that you bring joy to many people, especially here. I was so excited when I discovered that we both had trips in June 2020; the prospect of a liner meet with @mousematt was thrilling (albeit lost on my family). Though I was crushed by having to cancel my summer trip, I’m holding out hope that someday I can meet you in person at WDW or DLR and thank you for the smiles. There is light at the end of this tunnel. Until then, do whatever you can that brings you joy. :heart:

7 Likes

I don’t think you even have to be living alone with your dog to fall into madness with all of this - although I have no doubt that the human toll indirectly related to covid thanks to lockdown has barely been touched. A lot of the way we live looks “normal,” but it’s not. I keep erasing my big long pitty-party comment. None of us are unscathed. But truthfully the worst of our problems are (still at least) small. We’ve managed better than I thought we could in a crummy situation. We have been able to keep the mortgage (on a suddenly much smaller house than would be comfortable given all of the time at home) and fill our bellies and keep clothes and shoes on our kids (all 5!). A friend used airline miles to fly me out to Colorado last month and we stayed in her boss’ mountain condo rent free. The (admittedly unglamorous) beach is just over an hour away and only costs gas. My parents and in-laws are all vaccinated. My siblings and I have all had at least 1 dose of the vaccine. I’ve had the chance to read a lot of books. I don’t click on anything in the news that looks alarmist or might stress me out.

But lockdowns? They make me climb into my car and drive away (no destination but back home again) and cry. A common cold recently kept us home from work and school for a week and I was right back to our spring-lockdown-overwhelmed.

I do my best to be upbeat and positive and keep the negative from overwhelming my mind. Today hasn’t been a good day for that. So feeling there with you.

8 Likes

I don’t have anything to say to make the conditions any better or to make the feelings go away. All I can say is that it’s completely valid. No one should be forced to be in solitary confinement. You should be allowed to have in-person human interaction, and I hope you find a way to do so. You should be able to go on vacation and go outside to get exercise in parks and other public places, with distancing and a mask if necessary.

I believe in government restrictions for the sake of public health, but I also think mental health and yes, personal freedom, should be taken into account.

I truly hope that you will be able to travel this summer.

10 Likes

I just want to say we’re here. I used to be so active in these forums, and then I drifted away as trips got canceled and there was no hope for the future. Now that I’m back, it isn’t even the trips that have brought be sunshine. It’s the familiar usernames, the camaraderie, the safety of an online forum that is primarily supportive and positive.

We’re here. We see you. And there really is a great big beautiful tomorrow out there for all of us. Hopefully in the nearer rather than farther future!

15 Likes

I read the entire post. Is there some family or very close friend(s) that you can go live with for awhile? I realize that would be a huge adjustment, but it might help. I will admit that recommending this I don’t know all the specific nuances of the laws where you are. If this is something you might want and it wasn’t allowed maybe you could get your dr to write a letter explaining why you need it. I say this as someone who has been significantly impacted by having close relations suffering in isolation.

6 Likes

The Germans are feeling it, too: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/mar/21/people-are-exhausted-germans-grow-weary-of-endless-lockdown

6 Likes

You’re not alone in feeling like this. I am so grateful that during this lockdown I’ve been at school every day, so I have human interaction every day. But I understand how you feel about the endless lockdown. The weeks just go by and the weekends are frankly dull right now.

But @cjandres has it right about this forum. So much so that when I saw that headline yesterday, I thought of you. I knew you had a trip planned and a back-up to DLP, and it occurred to me you might not be able to take either of them.

I’m not even thinking about planning our next trip to WDW. I have no idea when it might be, Easter 2022 at the earliest. But I know I couldn’t cope with another planned trip cancelled. So at times I wonder if I’ll ever be back.

But things are starting to happen and we’re heading in the right direction. So why not plan another trip to Alton Towers? And other theme parks, make it the Summer of U.K. theme parks. As a back-up plan. But I have a feeling the DLP trip might be OK. Europe are desperate for us to travel since we are ahead on vaccinations. So don’t give up on it yet.

7 Likes

I thought of you when I heard about the continued Paris lockdown BUT I also thought of you when I read this headline

“The Biden administration is looking toward the middle of May to relax restrictions on travel across the borders with Mexico and Canada and on inbound international travel from the U.K., Europe and Brazil, according to two sources familiar with the matter. “

Hope…I grasp any straw I can. Here is one for you.

15 Likes

Unfortunately that’s only one part of the process that needs to happen.

Here we’re looking at mid June before anything near to “normal” returns. International leisure travel will be one of the last things to be allowed.

Vaccination is going better than expected, but we’ve been hit with delays and threats by the EU to ban exports of the vaccine. Even with minimal impact it could be Fall before all adults have been fully vaccinated - they’re giving the 2nd shot after 12 weeks, not 4.

The Foreign Office need to lift their advice on no non-essential travel before insurance companies will be able to offer cover (advice not to travel invalidates any travel insurance policy).

Somehow there will need to be some kind of proof of vaccination that cannot be forged.

And airlines will need to unfurlough or rehire crew, airports need to fully re-open etc before airlines can start selling tickets.

And our quarantine hotels are also a problem. If you arrive from a red list country that will cost you about $2,200 and 10 days quarantine. And countries can be added to the list with 12 hours notice. That could be a concern if there was a sudden surge in any part of the US.

6 Likes

I understand that but for months travel has been stopped both ways.

Honestly it does not seem like the cruise companies are worried about forged vaccination documents. In the US every time we get a vaccine it is put in the database, is the government not tracking it in the UK?

Finally, I am going to stop thinking about “what if”. I am grabbing at hope with both arms and hugging it tight. One year later I will collapse if I don’t.

10 Likes

Yes. But there is no process for people to access that yet. We cannot access any of our health data directly here.

Are the cruise companies really going to accept a piece of paper as proof?

1 Like

They are sailing on June from Nassau with “proof of vaccination”.

1 Like

With the primary concern being spread of the virus, I wonder if (considering the consequences, difficulty, and ethics of the situation) the number of people who would do such a thing compared to the number of vaccinated people who will be on the ship could be considered negligible.

I’m also pretty sure there will be a database readily available. There was mention of that well back at the first talk of vaccines. Ticketmaster was talking about requiring proof of vaccine for ticket purchase.

4 Likes

I don’t live alone but otherwise I relate to much of this. It’s not even just people going to WDW or socialising with friends and relatives, we can’t even go shopping! Lockdown hasn’t bothered me too much before but during this one my FIL passed away and we couldn’t be with him. My son’s girlfriend moved over from the US and I haven’t been able to meet her. But at the same time I can’t imagine going shopping, or to a restaurant, or on holiday. We haven’t mixed with people for a year! I don’t have words of comfort I’m afraid. But you are not alone in feeling like this.

Also, I love the bag and now I’m tempted to buy one.

14 Likes

The U.K. government have said a vaccination “passport” is not on their agenda. Obviously that could change but the main focus will be on the vaccination programme.

Anyone wanting “proof” of their vaccination will only have their appointment card. I will certainly laminate mine and I guess if you had ID in the same name that might be sufficient.

I’m not worrying about this right now. I was simply pointing out why Biden lifting the ban on people entering the US will not mean a sudden influx of tourists. And why I won’t be even trying to book until things like that are sorted out.

1 Like