No Escape

Exactly one year ago, on March 12, 2020, I was supposed to go to London for the weekend. The purpose of the short trip: a meet-up with several friends from all over to see Uncle Vanya in the Harold Pinter Theatre. March 12 was a Thursday, and the previous couple of days two of my fan friends – Kate and LoLo – had already had to cancel their trips in view of the developing Corona crisis. I had held out hope until the last minute, but when on the Tuesday evening I heard two health experts say on Irish TV that they advised everyone only to travel if absolutely necessary, I also took the decision to cancel. Admittedly, it was a bit easier for me to cancel the whole thing – I had been lucky enough to watch the play in mid-January; so I did not miss out on an opportunity to see RA live fandom event. But I was sad to miss my friends – and the excitement of being in London. And then there was also the whole administrative hassle of cancelling flights and tickets

A year on. And somehow, things are not much better than back in March 2020. If we had known what was coming, would we have despaired immediately? Strict lockdowns, closure of pubs and shops, work-from-home. College and school taking place on zoom only. No holidays abroad. Not seeing our families and friends. Who would’ve thought anything like that? And it is still not over, and I am still not used to this new reality. The slow pace of vaccination in Europe is deeply frustrating. I look at the US or the UK, Russia and Israel, and I am astounded how far those countries are. Why are things progressing so slowly here? Has someone effed up? Ireland has vaccinated about 5% of the population. They are still vaccinating the over-70s and haven’t even started on people with serious medical conditions yet. (My husband’s condition is listed on the list of serious conditions that require early vaccination; he has not heard from his hospital department yet.) I am so frustrated, I could scream.

I can also sense that this year of uncertainty, stress and fear has taken its toll on my mental and physical health. I’ve been feeling physically shitty for months, with a constant ringing in my ears, a mysterious sore leg and just general feeling off. In the past, I have always felt that “anxiety” was mostly used as a free pass by people who wanted a bit of attention, but I am beginning to understand what anxiety means – a constant worry, overthinking things and unable to stop, a weight on my chest, as well as strange dreams that border on nightmares. And I really, really just want all this crap to be over. I haven’t seen a doctor in 12 months, even though I feel I should – but with the threat of the virus looming, I just don’t want to go anywhere near where it is most likely to be lurking.

But no, I’m not giving in to anxiety. I’m distracting myself with crafty stuff and pretty pictures whenever I can.

“No escape” feels somewhat fitting in the current context…

Circling back to the beginning of this post – Uncle Vanya. Maybe today would be the ideal day to watch the recording of the play – I passed on my bloody luxurious ticket for a fourth row seat (D10), including a pre-theatre champagne experience in the “Ambassador Lounge”, with champagne, snacks and ice cream, for free to an unknown person who happened to be in London that day. (Never heard back from her again – I hope she enjoyed it.) But then this play is not really a mood-lifter, and really, I just don’t want to wallow even more in morose thoughts than I already do. (Which also means that neither My Zoe nor Spacesweepers are an option, either – sci-fi dramas with RA as asshole characters. Can the man please get a job in a comedy again? *huffs*)

Sigh. At least we are now transitioning into spring time. There’s always hope, right? Stay well, stay safe, everybody. We *will* get through this!

45 thoughts on “No Escape

  1. Ireland is one of the only countries that is accepting travelers from the U.S. My husband and I looked it up for shizz and giggles, and Ireland is the only European country allowing people from the U.S. in.

    I, too, feel the isolation. Mine has been going on for years, but I’ll tell you. It doesn’t get THAT much easier. It’s something you have to just get used to.

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    • „Shizz and giggles“ – hehe, I didn‘t know that expression, but I catch your drift.
      The whole issue with allowing flights to enter Ireland has been much discussed here. Especially last year at the beginning of the pandemic, there was much criticism because we were already in lockdown while the US wasn‘t, and plenty of flights were still landing. Even though I am currently effectively imprisoned here on this island, I think it makes a lot of sense to shut down non-essential (air) travel for the time being, just to avoid spreading the virus from here to there and from there to here… But well, economic interests, I guess…
      The whole isolation thing – I was fine with it for a year, not least because I am lucky and share my house with husband and daughter. It must be infinitely worse for people who live on their own…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hashtag sigh. I had actually suppressed the exact date of the anniversary of us NOT going to London. Still mad and sad, still can’t touch anything Vanya (with the exception of that little bit of fan art I made for the auction). I don’t know if it’s because of the general situation you described. Maybe if we’d missed it and then had a chance to get back to some kind of normal, I’d have gotten over it by now? I’m not sure. I, too, am weary and wish we could put all our efforts into vaccinating more quickly. It’s the only realistic option to get out of this. Instead the governments flip-flop around with restrictions when numbers are still rising to appease us only to throw us back into lockdown when infections pick up again. I’m deeply frustrated with the situation in general and mine in particular. I’m just tired of being worried all the time. I write this as I lie in bed sick, having had to take two in-person appointments last week. So this morning I had my third covid test since this all started. I’m over it.

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    • I know, the whole „anniversary“ thing is a bit trigger-y. The funny thing is that I usually forget all sorts of anniversaries – from my own wedding to dates when I watched RA in Crucible etc. Those dates always pass me by and I only remember afterwards. Not this time – which kind of tells me how much of an impression this cancellation left.
      The fact that we still do not see any long-term improvement, is majorly frustrating. Ok, we very quickly realised last year that it wasn‘t just a case of a 14 day quarantine and then the virus would be eradicated. But that it has taken a year now, and by the look of things more big waves are yet to come… is disheartening if not frightening. The vaccination thing is just bizarre. Taking very long. Constant back and forth re. numbers of doses available. Fights over who needs to be vaccinated first. It feels chaotic.
      Fingers crossed that your test comes back negative – and that you get back on your feet soon.

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  3. I feel you… The vaccination process leaves me between frustration and anger. I hope my mum’s appointment on 31st will bring at least some relief for her as a high risk cancer patient. Fingers crossed. And fingers crossed for your hubby too! As for me I can’t deny the feeling of being trapped… They are loosening the restrictions while the numbers are climbing and neither the sufficient number of (self) tests nor the vaccinations can be provided. Who would have thought indeed… ? RAddiction doesn’t seem to comfort me that much anymore so I have to find my own distractions to get myself out of the rabbit hole. From time to time I am meeting up with a friend for a walk which usually helps immensely.
    I am sure you’ll find your ways and means to occupy yourself and as you said we’ll get through this. Somehow. All the best to you and yours!

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    • Feeling trapped – that is it, Nell. We are trapped in this situation, and we are more or less helpless as individuals. There is nothing we can do to stop the pandemic. We can only look after ourselves (and our nearest and dearest) but we have no influence on the general reaction to the threat. And it is just so disheartening to see that there are still so many new infections per day. Where do they come from? Who is ignoring the rules and (inadvertently) spreading the virus? Grrr.
      I hear you as regards RAddiction as a distraction. Same here. But that has got more to do with the changes in fandom and my own journey within than Mr A himself. Der Lack ist ein bisschen ab…
      I‘ve taken up daily walking again, after letting it slack in February. Even if it is just 30 minutes, it‘s good to get out and to have some fresh air. It‘s just annoying when you live in the city centre – you just can‘t avoid people…
      Thank you for your encouragement – I appreciate that very much!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m so sorry you are feeling so down, Guylty though it’s really not surprising and and you certainly aren’t alone in that. I have suffered from anxiety for years, triggered by a very stressful job, and have been taking an antidepressant for it… it’s helped me get through all sorts of situations and remain in one piece, including lockdown. So it might be worth talking to your doctor on the phone, if that’s possible. It’s true the spring coming is very cheering though! We are lucky to have both had our first jabs, and I take great comfort from my dog Carlo who of course gets me out of the house. I’m glad you are still being crafty though (with spectacular results, as ever!) – I have no creativity at the moment and lots of my friends here say the same. All the time in the world to do stuff and I can’t get my head around it! Keep smiling 😘😘😘

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    • You know, I have never mentioned my anxiety to anyone, not even the doctor. It‘s been slowly coming. I think my fear of flying is also part of it, or may have been the first expression of it. I probably would‘ve continued suppressing it, but this enforced period of isolation where we sit at home without the usual distractions, means that I have all this time to reflect on myself. Arrrrgh, and that is bad because I make mountains out of molehills. Maybe I‘ll mention my anxiety to the doctor on Tuesday.
      BTW, I can well imagine that Carlo is a great distraction and comfort. I‘ve long been wishing for a dog myself – to force me to leave the house and to care for and to be loved by ☺️.
      I‘m so sorry to hear your creativity is suffering from the whole lockdown and pandemic situation. It‘s really not that easy to uphold the usual routines and continue on as if nothing has changed. Here‘s hoping that things will get better this year.

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  5. I’m sorry about this anniversary. So many people were crushed by it (even if theirs occurred on different days). I’d have been absolutely flattened if I hadn’t been able to take that week in January (that seemed like such a foolish decision at the time).

    Anxiety is real and I’ve felt it like this sort of low level buzz for much of the last three years, to the point that the dementia counselor told me “when you start to notice that mood punching through your control, just lie down and go to sleep.” I think she’s trying to trigger the same sort of thing that breathing / mindfulness exercises do — and I used to do a lot of creative visualization but it’s lost its effect for me. Sleeping works about half the time (and I have never been a troubled sleeper). I hope Ireland can speed up its vaccinations and get you out of the house soon!

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    • The foolish idea applies to me, too. I mean, it was completely unnecessary for me to travel for one night just to see that first preview. In hindsight – it was great luck. No doubt I‘d be really frustrated if I had missed the play entirely.
      I really like your dementia counselor‘s suggestion – especially as I often feel that that is what I *want* to do when I feel the anxious thoughts beginning to wheel around in my head. In that case I often think „I just want to go to sleep“. Maybe I just *should*…
      Hope you can keep your own anxiety under control despite added pressure. At least you have got your vaccination now – hopefully that will lift some of pressure!

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  6. I´m sorry to hear you feel this way, you´re not alone, I feel it, too, it´s all too much and I also want all of this to be over. It´s good that you keep yourself busy and distract yourself, I try that as well… I´m glad I could see Uncle Vanya in February, I missed the final performances, I had also intended to meet some of the fandom friends and to celebrate my birthday… I really hope things will get better soon… Take care, best wishes to your hubby 💗.

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    • Many thanks Andrea. It somehow is always good to know that the feelings are shared by others. Not that I want others to feel miserable as such – but shared hardship is a bond that just makes it a bit easier to accept that we have to go through this sh*t right now…
      Here‘s hoping for new opportunities to meet and to see Mr A – in the future!

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  7. Oh, G, thank you for posting this today. You hit a nerve, as I, too, have hit some kind of “wall” this week. Just knowing I’m not alone helps.

    As a life-long, serious introvert with 20 years of practice working from home, I’ve handled quarantining better than most, but I, too, am finally, officially, sick of this. Sick of it all. Not being able to go anywhere or do anything.

    Not to mention, thank you for reminding me, that I, too, was applying for refunds of air and theatre tickets this time last year. Arrrrrgh.

    The pictures help, and that “no escape” photo has ALWAYS been one of my favorites. He’s such an appealing man.

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    • I‘m glad that my post may possibly express what you and others are feeling or experiencing too. Not that I want others to be miserable just because I am. But yeah, sometimes the desperation and negativity needs to be released in a post rather than just continue glossing over things with my usual happy henrietta approach…
      I feel very similar about previous experience with introversion. I‘m not even sure whether I *am* an introvert, but I have never had any problem entertaining myself or being on my own with only myself for company. I used to *love* living on my own. But then we also didn‘t have this atmosphere of a constant yet vague threat around us. I feel helpless at this point, even though I have been able to keep myself and my family safe until now. We really need some hope…
      Or some pretty pictures *haha*. Appealing man, is right. I quite like what I have seen from the Stay Close set – well, let‘s face it, as long as there‘s stubble, I will find everything attractive…

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  8. Sending virtual hugs to you Guylty, and all here who are feeling the same way, my thoughts are with you, take care of yourselves.

    Australia’s isolation has been a positive when it comes to the virus, and it’s been summer here, so the situation has been nowhere near as dire as in other countries, but who knows what will happen in the next few months with the colder weather coming, The vaccination rollout is way behind its target numbers already but I can wait. I’m fortunate that I live in a rural area, and am retired, so not having to cope with work, home schooling, job loss or trying to keep a business afloat under such difficult circumstances. I can only imagine how hard it’s been for so many people. Vaccination won’t be the end of it, the mental and physical toll will be with us for years to come.

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    • Australia seems to have come through the pandemic much better than we have. At least so far. Definitely envy anyone who is living in more rural environments at the moment. I‘d really love to see some mountains and green fields. It‘s all very well to go for walks in town, but all those stones are grey and lifeless…

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  9. How different March 12, 2020 looked from March 12, 2021. Last year we took out 2nd son out to eat at a restaurant of his choice for his 21st birthday, it was the last time we when out to eat. We don’t do it much but with him moving to a small/mid size city there is more choices. The next day we when shopping and saw people with shopping carts full of toilet paper, us having no idea what was going on with the toilet paper buying frenzy. March 12, 2021 and we when shopping at the same store where everyone wears a mask and toilet paper was not being bought at an alarming rate. No restaurants this year, we are making everything for his birthday weekend.

    Sorry that you have no idea when your husband can get the vaccine. Hopefully soon. Every state in the US is at different stages with how they are giving the vaccine. It has been a draining year for everyone and some people have been affected heavily.

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    • Crazy, isn‘t it? What was normal is now something we haven‘t done for ages. The last time I was in a restaurant, was last July, on a short holiday when hotels opened again after our lockdown. So glad we took the trip then – no other chance of travelling otherwise. And equally good that you took your son out for dinner. I nice memory to have.
      The situation is definitely draining and frustrating. We can only hope it will get better…

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  10. Last year we were meeting my youngest from a flight from Lisbon, a hurriedly arranged return after only a day into a weeks holiday believing she was safer in the UK (what a joke) than Portugal
    Borders were to close , another joke.
    My advice, stay away from the media and online negativity, life will resume to a new normal afterwhile it did in all the previous pandemics .
    X

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    • You are absolutely right, and I have long given up following the Covid news. I get an update about once a week, and that‘s enough for me. I don‘t really want to know the daily stats – it really depresses me.
      I remember those dramatic scenes last year when governments were bringing back their holiday makers from abroad. It probably made no difference where we were then. The virus caught up with us everywhere. (But maybe it was otherwise good to have your daughter back with you…)

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  11. sorry you are experiencing anxiety for the first, it’s a very horrible condition and can vary so widely in symptoms. I have suffered with severe anxiety from a young age due to trauma. And yes it is a real condition as much as other health conditions. Thankfully for me it’s mostly under control these days, but it’s had such a negative affect on my life. I’m glad you are finding ways to manage it, which is very important because, yes, it can overwhelm your life.

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  12. It’s incredible that a year has gone past so quickly. I am so sorry you’re feeling low and sending you a big hug. Sometimes anxiety just has to come out – we can’t always be ‘ha, ha, hee, hee’ , as Meera Syal put it – and it will manifest in physical ways. I feel like I’m gibbering internally much of the time this year but walking really helps lift my mood too. There will be better times but Ireland should really hurry up with the vaccinations.

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    • Thank you for the hug – much appreciated :-). You are right, we sometimes need to let it all out. It‘s not good to bottle it all up. Even just realising that I am not alone, makes it easier to bear…

      Liked by 1 person

  13. I totally understand how you feel. Things changed so suddenly last year and since then everyone is just doing their best to keep going. Already existing depression doesn’t make it easier but being an introvert helps a bit. I really hope your feelings will turn for better sooner than later.

    My friend and I bought our UV tickets in September 2019 and we supposed to go to London to see the play at the end of March. Those months between September and March weren’t the easiest ones but the thought of the trip kept me going. Then a week before out trip everything was cancelled. It hit me hard and I hate to say this but all these things (and two later disappointments) made me almost hate the play. Most of the time I try to avoid things related to UV.

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  14. I’m not in the anxiety mode so much as I am in frustration mode. Yes, why is vaccination slow here in Europe? We are up to 7% now, not moving fast enough either and life still feels like it is on hold…
    Hang in there, you’re not alone even if it may feel like that sometimes. (((Hugs)))

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  15. Sorry it’s all getting you down so much. Canada is also only a bit over 5% vaccinated. We’ve never been fully in lock-down, but I still can’t see my older son (since October) due to gathering restrictions. As of this week, we could meet outside if we want, but seems safer to wait. Vaccines here have been done for care homes and medical workers and they are just starting on over 90’s this week.

    I try to live in the moment and not expect too much. There are things about being at home that I like and I am able to go out and get coffee (while wearing a mask of course) every day.

    I’ve been having a problem with my leg and hip too (which in itself can be depressing) and I’ve had tinnitus (buzzing in my ears) off and on for years. I also suffer from anxiety, not due to the pandemic, but in general. In case it’s helpful for you to know, I’ve resisted going on medication, but a month ago I started on meds for the anxiety. I feel better and my family notices a big difference. The one thing I didn’t know, though, is that the SSRI class of these medications actually can make tinnitus worse. I’m hoping that my body will adjust to the increase in serotonin and the noise will settle down, because the other effects are good for me.

    Hope your doctor’s appointment goes well.

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    • Living in the moment is probably the best strategy. I try to do that, too. (And then I lie in bed and can’t go to sleep…)
      Reading about your experience with anxiety, I have decided to definitely mention it tomorrow and see what the doctor says. Also the tinnitus issue. I mean, I can ignore it all, but I am beginning to feel my quality of life impacted…
      I hope Canada also catches up quickly on the vaccinations!

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