• Voices of Quarantine

I wanted to share a few quick thoughts on yesterday's postings and the impact I saw throughout the day. Moments after the original post went live, as I'm sitting at my desk getting ready to take on the day, my phone rings of a new notification. I figured it was just a casual text that I could respond to later but it was far more than that - this person was so moved by this piece alone that they felt the need to reach out to me personally and offer some words of encouragement to the author but didn't know how to do it and wanted to be anonymous. This is what they wrote. From Anonymous: "As I read this article tears streamed down my face. I can't imagine the heartache you are going through ALONE. My heart breaks for you. You are in my prayers in this very difficult time. Stay strong! If you know someone in this situation please, please, please reach out to them. Call them and let them know you are there for them. Just be available if they need to talk or cry or even vent."

This moved me in a way that I wasn't expecting. The power the written word can have on someone during a time of crisis is probably the most powerful thing out there. Sharing a not-so-great [personal] experience with a random internet blog takes a lot of courage but as I've seen today, both public and private, is that these are stories people can relate too and that's exactly why I started this project. I myself expressed publically that I was moved to tears while transcribing our second article of the day because of how open and real the poster was. It broke my heart how hopeless this person felt at the time of the recording but it was genuine, they did it for themselves and they did it for others - both authors. They even expressed that yesterday's articles have also been somewhat therapeutic. Sometimes writing things down is all it takes.


Documentation is important and so is connection. But it's hard. Especially in today's digital age, we can really lose sight of how beneficial the documentation process can be to our mental health. Technology is everywhere - we should be documenting everything - but everyone is in such a 'quick, go, now' mood that we 'never have time'. Personally, I'm trying to get better at documenting various avenues of my own life as well (hell, it was one of my New Years Resolutions). But now is the time to document all that you can - even if it's not submitted to this project.


Document. Everything.


We have nothing but time and our thoughts, even those of us who keep busy to avoid them. I promise, not only will you feel better after but you'll be able to come back to it years later when we make it out of this and go, 'Wow. I survived that. and I wasn't alone'.


You're NOT alone. YOU have a Voice. Let it be heard. Until Next Time,

- DJ

(Creator of "Voices of Quarantine")

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  • Voices of Quarantine

Below is a transcription of the audio attached to this document.


Transcription: [heavy breath]

"So... how do I do this? I do-I don't even know where to start. Uhm-"

[soft chuckle]

"Wow. This."

[heavy breath]

[voice trembling] "Oh God. Oh God." "This quarantine has me really really fucked up. I don't even know if I can say fuck -- but I'm just gonna say it -- I'm gonna say it's fucked up because I-- am just locked in an entire apartment all day. I can't really go out anywhere. All the public areas are closed, like parks and whatnot. So, it's just a real-- shit situation that we're all in, but we're all in it together [laughs] I guess.

Uhm, yeah, I--.

I'm really really just sad. It's just -- that's the main thing -- it's just I'm really sad. I want to really understand how to better my situation. I have ADHD, so, my attention span has been thrown out the window. Being locked inside of a house all day with no schedule or anything to keep me on track. It's just been ruining my self-esteem, it's been ruining my psyche, it's just been ruining a lot of--a lot of emotional things for me and I need to know that this thing can't control me but this situation that we're put in doesn't really help it and -- luckily enough, I live with people that I assume care about me, that I assume are there for me if I need them, uhm, they're my roommates, you know? They're the people that I live with and they're pretty wonderful people. They make me laugh, they make me giggle. But, uhm, I'm just not my smiling face right now. And I wanna make sure that everyone else is able to smile during this process.

[pause]

I don't know.

[pause]

I--I've always been this sort of person, that has been the type of person to make everyone smile and make everyone laugh. But you know, who--who is supposed to make me smile? Who's supposed to make me laugh? Noone, no one's supposed to make you do anything. Noone, ya know? It's just -- I'm here for me but it's what I want to do in this world that really defines who I am. And I--I do things to distract myself like write scripts or record videos or play video games or watch TV but it's starting to become the point where it's just the same thing over.

And over.

AND OVER.

AND OVER AGAIN.

And it's-- [stops]

[sniffs & heavy breathing]

[crying]

I HATE it so much.

I just -- I want it to stop. And I just want -- I just want someone to -- to talk to about this. I just want -- I just want to go back to normal. But I know for a fact that nothings really gonna be normal after this.

I don't know what I'm gonna do for money.

I don't know what I'm gonna do for rent.

I don't know what I'm going to do for bills.

I don't know.

I. Don't. Know.

But -- I've made it this far in life and y'know -- I have made it through every worst moment in my life ever and this is no different. And if I can make it through this [laughs] - I can make it through just about any fucking thing life decides to throw at me.

So [deep breath]

Oh - that was a lot. I didn't even know I was going to cry during this but y'know - here I am. And uh--I honestly really avoided doing this because, I don't know, I just really did not want to talk about this kind of stuff cause I knew it was going to lead to and it was going to lead to strong emotions but, honestly, I'm glad that I got it out.

[laughs]

I'm glad that I put it out there for the world.

And, if I had to give advice to anybody else who is listening --

[pause]

We're all in this together. And I know it's easier to say that than it is to understand it but, ya know, I've experienced more nice people in the world than I have experienced mean people in the world. And--I have been blessed with the things that I've been given and I hope the same for you and I really wish that--

[pause]

I don't know

I really--

I don't know

[pause]

I really wish that you make it out of this as well. And I really wish-- that you're doing okay. Cause you know, we're all struggling here.

Alright, well...

[heavy breath]

Have a good day.

[*END*]

  • Voices of Quarantine

If it was just a pandemic, things would be different.


My mother passed away on February 15th. For the next few weeks, I took a trip to visit family at their snowbird retreat, made phone calls, and helped organize a memorial service. The celebration of her life was scheduled for March 18th. It should have all gone off without a hitch.


Then, the world happened. Again.


On March 12th, we decided to postpone the memorial. It was one of the toughest and most bizarre decisions of my life. No one should ever have to make that choice.


8 days later, we were ordered to shelter in place. What’s slightly ironic is from the time we postponed the memorial, I had pretty much been in a personal shelter in place. I tried calling people when I felt up to it, sorted through old pictures, cleaned closets and pantries, watched too much TV, and cried. I was forced to stay home and mostly grieve alone. There would be no closure and that shook me.


There have been fair days and not so fair days. I can’t walk to visit someone and get a much needed hug. I can’t put my head on a shoulder and cry. I feel like a plant starving for sunlight. I’m still crying at least once a day. I walk when I feel like it (I’ve found I really enjoy walking down the middle of the streets against the almost non-existing traffic). Shopping is a stress-filled nightmare.


Life seems absolutely surreal. The fact that I even get out of bed is a huge step most days.

I would not wish the double burden of grief and a pandemic on my worst enemy. If it was just the latter, things would be different. But now, it’s day by day and I can’t stress that enough. I allow myself to feel how I feel, good or bad. I avoid people and social media if I need to. If I get something done in a day, that’s great. If not, that’s great too. That’s all I can do right now.