How I found myself Social Distancing from Social Media during a time when Social Media is one of our only ways of social interaction.
Social Distancing will be 2020’s word(s) of the year no doubt. During this time we are relying on social media to fulfill our need for human interaction. The problem is that too many of us have replaced work and hanging out with friends with hours upon hours scrolling. At first, I found myself commenting on all of my friend’s posts complaining about the extended Spring Break, then the posts turned to Home Schooling Memes. We all need a little humor during this time. Then slowly the posts turned into articles about the number of cases, then deaths. Posts in Facebook Groups started to turn into fights over Social Distancing and what exactly “Essential” means. No more pictures of cute kids or funny memes–minus Joe Exotic/Tiger King. Even obnoxious selfies and brunch mimosa pictures were gone, replaced by grim articles of our future.
Then it happened two days ago. I finally had my Corona Virus Mental Breakdown. Being cooped up in the house under a Stay at Home Order, really isn’t getting to me. It really is no different than how I live my life anyway. What triggered it wasn’t that I am out of money or that our economy is crashing. It was that a woman in a local Facebook group announced that she was going to bring her father from a nearby “Hot Spot” city without quarantining.
She is a former RN, a yoga teacher, and mother of 3, announcing she would not have her father quarantine because he had not been exposed. Despite being the law to travel into our city you must, she wrote about how anyone that thought her father should, should be ashamed of themselves and hopefully we never have an elderly (she stated he is 65) family member that was lonely.
The Selfishness. I couldn’t believe it. She wrote that WE, the people that spoke out against her for public’s safety, should be ashamed for wanting a lonely old man to be alone in a house for 14 days. I was angered, sickened. How could some woman, a former NURSE, think that her father’s loneliness was more important than everyone else’s health. To publicly (as in posting in a Private Group of 9,000) admit she does not care about anyone else’s health sickened me. It is one thing to go grab something from a store and unknowingly be a carrier. To bring someone into a community that is from one of the highest per capita cities in the country is down right criminal.
Reading articles about how it was spreading were just stories, this shit just got real in my head. I am not worried about my children getting it when they are with me, as we have not left the house in weeks. It is when they are with their father that scares me. His house is less than half a mile away from this woman’s (yes I looked up her name and got her address.) What happens when the father of my children goes to the store and that woman is also there? He is not the healthiest and though he as put me through hell in back, I need him to be alive and well for my children.
She claims he has not been exposed but there is no way to know that. I have read all sorts of information, from it being able to stay on cardboard and plastic for hours/days. What about if her father needs to gas on his drive to our city? Unless he is sanitizing the gas pump handle (and maybe he is) there is a chance he could be exposed.
But, why? Why take the chance that he hasn’t been exposed when you can know for sure after 14 days? What happens if he shows up healthy and starts showing symptoms a few days later? By refusing to quarantine, you have risked exposing thousands of others to the virus all because your dad is lonely.
I am not saying he shouldn’t come. I 100% understand why someone would want their elderly parent with them during these times, especially one in a city that had very high rates of infection. My question is why refuse to quarantine? Because you feel bad that he is locked up in a room for 14 days?
I asked her point blank whether he would be quarantining because it was a Public Health Concern. She said, “he isn’t here.” As someone who was married to an attorney, I know talking around when I see it. I followed up her response asking if he does come here, would he?
I didn’t even allow enough time for her to get on Facebook to answer before my blood started boiling. How dare this woman think she and her family are above the law. How dare they openly admit they are taking the chance he is negative and knowingly going out in public. Fuck you and your high horse. Your and/or your father’s and anyone else for that matter’s need for social interaction is not more important than possibly exposing thousands of people.
Not knowing you are carrying the virus and exposing people is one thing; to bring someone from a Hot Spot and refusing to quarantine is practically committing manslaughter and I truly believe if any deaths can be connected back, they should face charges.
My anger raged on. I cried for hours. For the first time I was really scared. I was scared for what was going to happen. Not only because of the fear of what this woman was possibly going to do, but the thought of how many others were doing it. They just were not narcissistic enough to post about it in a Facebook group.
Then it hit me, I had been spiraling for a few days before because of Facebook. I didn’t realize how bad till I broke down and all the fear came spewing out. I had to stop allowing other people’s behavior to control my mental state. Even if this woman decided to do the right thing, how many other posts had I seen out there that had enraged me? At least 6 that I can think of.
I did it, I deactivated my Facebook. I decided to choose my mental stability over social media. These posts were only making me more anxious, depressed, and angry. They were not adding anything positive to my life. They were only making it worse.
It has only been 2 days, but I already feel like my anxiety level has gone from a 9 to a 6. I am not staring at my phone aimlessly for hours. Nor am I angry over people’s stupidity. I am reaching out to my friends via text and phone versus a comment on social media. I am playing with my kids more. It might be cause ignorance, but I am feeling better.
So “Ignorance is Bliss” shall now be my life’s motto to get through Social Distancing and remain mentally stable…and out of a psych ward haha! So, Goodbye Facebook, Hello Sanity…at least till this is all over with.