My Corona neurosis

My corona neurosis began with Guiseppi Verdi at the Sydney Opera House on March 10. The theatre was half empty. No tourists. As Covid-19 began to spread, masks appeared and everybody started looking very suspicious. I cunningly seat-hopped to avoid the virus. I sat safely in the middle of seven empty rows until two women came and sat three seats away – speaking Italian! OMG.

I began mindfully measuring out 1.5m in the dark. Each duet was met with enthusiastic ‘Bravi, bravi’ – sung out with an operatic saliva-ridden spray. My mind started crumbling, creating an epitaph of a catastrophic, covid capitulation.

Onwards to a friend’s Jazz gig on Saturday night. A rejected kiss was a corona slap in the face to start my social distancing.  I cornered myself at the back…. ordered a drink…. then thought ‘but what if the waiter breathed on my beer? ‘. Epitaph No 2.

Sunday – close friend’s 40th. We all began in earnest with elbow, foot and the excitable ‘bottom taps’. Not hugging friends felt weird. However, we were magnificent in our citizenship. until about the 3rd wine. By the end of the party, it was all-on for young and old. Debaucherous,  skin-on-skin contact was had. The shame of it all. The third epitaph etched.

Then came that bizarre moment we all experienced. Empty shelves with no toilet paper. Australians can be weird. My Czech friends assured me that back in Prague, stockpiling beer was the obvious necessity. With tighter restrictions here in Sydney, bottle shops and hairdressers were deemed ‘essential services’. I can’t really recall haircuts with martinis on Maslow’s Pyramid /hierarchy of needs.

The suburban exercise bonanza began. It was great! Sidestepping with spacial distancing – and with a smile! How lovely! Everybody was walking! It was amazing! Happy walkers, family walkers and then there were the aggressive walkers with attitude. Sunnies, headphones and lycra-flexing muscle pounding the pavement. I feared potential, windswept-wafts of Covid-19, so I barrelled to the side. Pathway fascists, I grumbled.

On the Easter weekend, I was scared to drive anywhere for fear of being arrested. Police state? A tiny taste for those who have lived in one.  Governments are weird creatures. The one time it might be responsible to turn back a boat – we didn’t!  A suggested app that traces my every Orwellian step? Maybe for others, but not for me. I would self-combust with guilt.

Speaking of guilt, our dog escaped one Sunday. He is a rescue dog and doesn’t boomerang back. High stress. Heroic neighbours found him. So elated was I, that within a flash I had hugged the whole family in glee. Ah! OMG. What had I done? The 1.5m boundary had been broken… in a big way. This was serious.

As clear as a crystal ball, I was an asymptomatic carrier and had just infected the whole family, street and neighbourhood. I begged forgiveness – and after 27 text messages assuring my professional isolator status, I was off the hook…. but the guilt infected my innards for days.

Kinesiologists have been impacted. I slipped a sneaky session in before lockdown – but with responsible mindfulness. As the client, I wore two masks, gloves and brought a BYO towel for the table. My kinesiologist geared up with additional ski goggles. I must say, the session was a great success on two levels. Meaningful, insightful exploration, and providing the most hilariously ridiculous moment with my practitioner looking down at me with fogged-up, goggle-eyed compassion.

As the weeks have passed, my corona neurosis has subsided.  News of decreasing numbers and light at the end of the Covid tunnel. Relief. Upon reflection, the only justifiable fear I had – was being an asymptomatic carrier when entering the nursing home of my loved one.

For one current Sydney aged care facility, the situation remains critical – with many deaths and over 40 infections. A poignant reminder of the seriousness of this pandemic – especially for the vulnerable. Sobering, too, the second wave of infections in Japan and Singapore…and, of course, the devastation in China, Europe, UK and the USA….and what of the third world?

As we carefully move towards a post corona life – I feel a great opportunity for change. Slowing down, restraint, adaptability, patience, more quality time with my loved ones, re-assessing values/priorities in day to day life and moving closer to being the person I want to be.

It would seem a waste to not grasp this opportunity.

David Starr

Dip TP Art Therapy

Dip TP Counselling