Back in March 2020, who would have thought we’d still be waging the war against this microscopic enemy, five months later?
When the restrictions were first imposed, I (perhaps like much of the population) went into the whole experience with a sense of both awe and ignorance. It seemed such a novel experience to listen to the Prime Minister and the Chief Medical Officer almost on a daily basis, followed by respective ministers of the States and Territories. I felt then that the proposed stage 2 and stage 3 restrictions made little impact on my life – due, in part, to my living arrangements and personal habits.
Summer was gently giving way to autumn and I had plenty to do in the garden. I had moved into a new suburb a few months earlier and I was happy to stroll through the new streets and familiarise myself with the cafes and dog parks. I continued to maintain my structure for the day – exercise, work, creative pursuits… But as the days dragged on into weeks, and weeks into months, I began to feel lethargic. As the second wave hit us, I felt that my own personal sacrifices seemed to have served very little purpose.
As autumn ushered in the cold winter and long periods of being alone, increasing social restrictions and loss of freedom led to a decline in my motivation. I lost confidence in our ability to eradicate the virus, and sensed that I had to manage yet another personal risk – my mental health. I have lived with complex mental health issues for a long time and have had practise in recognising risks and managing them proactively – at times quite successfully, and other times relying on professionals.
But the one key thing I have learnt (which regrettably, no school biology class taught me) is that our bodies function within a range of systems. In addition to our various biological systems (the respiratory system, the nervous system, the reproductive system, etc.) we also have an Emotion Response System (ERS).