By Molly, 18, London, UK
When I lost my sense of taste and smell on Friday the 28th of March, I was terrified. Ironically, in the months prior to the lockdown, my friends and family had all joked: “If any of us are going to get it, it’s gonna be Molly”. As I had to travel an hour and a half across London on public transport to get to school or see friends- that was a sensible conclusion. But, I didn’t really consider the possibility until that morning when suddenly my pot noodle didn’t dramatically offend my senses in the way it’s supposed to. From that moment, I stayed in my room.
I had no physical symptoms, so I could happily get through a day distracted, until I had to push myself through a bowl of tomato gnocchi that might as well have been actual slugs in gravy. However, the whole situation sounds like a minor inconvenience at best. Right? Sadly, this is without considering the implications on one's mental health. I avoided spending hours piling over weeks worth of mental travel information to deduce a possible point of contact with the infamous virus, it didn’t seem like it would have helped in the slightest. My main concern was whether I had unknowingly passed it on to my loved ones before any symptoms materialised. This concern only grew over my time in isolation. For me, the anxiety surrounding the virus was more painful than the physical effects. My stomach still drops every time I hear a cough echo through my still house. I spend the next 15 minutes in a state of frozen concern, fearful to ask how people are feeling- terrified of the possible response. My dad got sick around 4 days into my isolation, my mum refused to tell me what was wrong with him : “Just don’t worry please- he’s okay”. It’s almost a week later now and he’s feeling a bit better- no persistent cough or fever, just a bad headache. It’s still concerning but less consuming, I suppose.
Still, I devised a couple ways to get through the periods of enhanced anxiety. I compiled a long list of movies to get through on Netflix. Mainly, focused on school work and appreciated how incredibly lucky I am to be studying a subject I really love with such dedicated and supportive teachers. One thing I discovered quickly is that getting to sleep is extremely difficult when you have hundreds of “worse case scenarios” rehearsing in your head. To combat this I started to play podcasts to fall asleep to, like how I had CDs of Roald Dahl audiobooks playing to get to sleep as a child. I found the podcast "Welcome To Nightvale" especially helpful for me.
Now that I have come to my senses and my mandated 10 day isolation period is over, I’m at peace with being stuck at home away from my school, friends and boyfriend. The relief is that everyone is safe and well, and if I just have to stay home to keep it that way, then it’s a small price to pay.