Solitude Soothes: The upside of isolation and quarantine

Oceanoxia made a good point about checking up on friend and isolated people.  I know several who have dealt with mental health issues and sucide attempts, so I agree.  However, there are other people who find great relief in quarantine.  There are also people who wish they were in isolation but can’t.

The upside of isolation

Introverts are enjoying these days, the lack of social and work pressure to interact.  There’s nothing wrong with people who don’t like having the presence of only one person at a time.  It’s perfectly normal for people to enjoy weeks without any social contact.  I have a friend who can have panic attacks in groups as small as six.  Dinner parties with friends can be difficult for her, never mind strangers.

I’m in several family estrangment groups, and many people are enjoying quarantine.  Their unwanted and either toxic or narcissistic family members cannot travel or visit.  And once you turn off the phone, close your email, and ignore social media, it’s complete silence.  They are enjoying quiet days alone, with their partners or their nuclear families sans unwanted individuals.

A few have expressed some guilt about not taking care of “parents” who were abusive.  Some of them are not mobile enough to go shopping alone.  Others might be or die alone in hospital if they  contract COVID-19.  Others are wary that abusers and narcissists see this as an opportunity to mentally control and abuse people.  There’s nothing wrong with acting in your own self-interest, and nothing wrong with shunning “family” that’s as abusive as an ex-spouse or ex-partner.

7 Reasons Some People Actually Feel Better and Happier During the Pandemic

By Jonice Webb PhD

As most folks struggle and stress to get through this messy mishmash we call “pandemic,” there is a certain group of people who are living a whole different sort of life.

These folks are actually doing the opposite of struggling and stressing. There is, in fact, something about the current situation that makes them feel better in some deep and important way.

  1. Folks with Chronic FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out)
  2. Those Who Have Always Felt Alone in the World
  3. People Whose Specific Childhood Challenges Prepared Them
  4. People Who Feel Numb Unless Something Extreme is Happening
  5. Extreme Introverts
  6. Those Already Struggling With Significant Life Challenges Before the Pandemic
  7. Anxious Worriers Who Have Spent Years Anticipating Disaster

The downside of isolation

As said above, some gain isolation from abusive relationships during quarantine.  Others, however, suffer the exact opposite.  They are confined with their abusers, isolated from the outside world.  These are the people that concern me most.

I have read accounts from scores of young LGBTQIA people, forced to cohabit with bigoted families – religious fanatics, anti-Trans bigots, etc.  Job losses and lack of income has forced many of them to move back into poisonous relationships, and equally bigoted governments and welfare systems don’t care (“be grateful you have a place to sleep”).  A close friend of mine was forced to return to England and now must live with “parents” who are coercive and abusive both mentally and emotionally.  Already she is under pressure to find work that does not exist, to bring in money that they will take from her as “room and board”.

Not everyone has the confidence, self-assuredness or lack of fear that I or Wren Sanders do.

9 Strategies for Quarantining in a Non-LGBTQ+ Affirming Environment

It took me nearly two years, a global pandemic, and the prospect of spending an unknowable amount of time quarantined in close proximity to my parents to finally confront them about their habit of misgendering me. I sent a long text. I held nothing back. It was brutal — two years’ worth of don’t call me thats rolled into one six-inch blue chunk of **** you.

They’re not transphobic, I told myself. They just forget sometimes. Besides the slip-ups, they’re good, considerate, caring folks, I’d think. Dad proofread my papers even when he had no idea what I was saying. Mom went on long walks with me when my heart had broken in ways she could never fully understand.

But last week, when it was announced that New York, where I live, would likely be going into lockdown mode, I realized two things: First, that no matter how good their intentions might be, my parents’ glacial approach to using my pronouns was unacceptable; second, that if I was going to wait this out with them, I needed to explain as much. Enough was enough.

In a second message, I asked that they not respond to my first. Live in this for a while, I told them. Reflect — really reflect — on what it means for your child to tell you that they don’t feel seen by you. And they did. I am grateful that my parents took my words to heart. For this I am lucky — and for so much more: To feel secure enough at home to call out one’s parents or guardian is an immense privilege, one that cannot be appreciated enough during this deeply uncertain moment.

More thoughts below the fold.

From The Jerusalem Post:

Coronavirus lockdown exposes LGBTQ+ people to family abuse in Middle East

With phone counselling and emergency deliveries of HIV drugs, LGBTQ+ groups across the Middle East are stepping up support for gay and transgender people trapped with abusive families or struggling with isolation under coronavirus lockdowns.

With more than 40 confirmed coronavirus cases in the West Bank, the Palestinian Authority said on its website that it has closed places of worship, urged people to limit contact, and enforced a curfew in the city of Bethlehem.

“The environment we live in unfortunately can be aggressive toward LGBTQ+ people,” said Omar Al Khatib of the Palestinian LGBTQ+ group alQaws, which is based in Jerusalem where gay and trans people often live with families that do not accept them.

“Staying at home can eliminate their access to private spaces and increase bullying,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Acceptance of sexual and gender minorities is low across the largely conservative Middle East. Same-sex relationships are illegal, often risking fines, jail or even the death penalty, according to Human Rights Watch.

An odd twist: Israeli’s health minister (an ultra orthodx jew) blamed LGBTQIA people for COVID-19 and refused to impose health restrictions practiced in most of the world.  Now he and his wife have it.  The ultra-orthodox have refused to follow quarantine and distancing protocols, and now they are paying for it.

Ultra-Orthodox in Israel hit hard by coronavirus

Israel’s ultra-Orthodox community of some 1.1 million, about 12% of the population, has been hardest hit by the epidemic. According to Health Ministry data, the rate of infection in ultra-Orthodox towns and neighborhoods doubles every three days, compared with a national average rate of every six days. The number of those diagnosed with COVID-19 in the suburban ultra-Orthodox Tel Aviv town of Bnei Brak was projected to be as high as 50%, said professor Joshua Shemer, chairman of the board of Assuta Medical Centers. “Bnei Brak is a disaster zone,” Shemer said on Channel 13 News, as a campaign was launched to remove all residents 80 and older from their homes to confinement centers.

From Human Rights Watch, speaking about discrimination in general during the pandemic:

Human Rights Dimensions of COVID-19 Response

On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that an outbreak of the viral disease COVID-19 – first identified in December 2019 in Wuhan, China – had reached the level of a global pandemic. Citing concerns with “the alarming levels of spread and severity,” the WHO called for governments to take urgent and aggressive action to stop the spread of the virus.

[. . .]

The scale and severity of the COVID-19 pandemic clearly rises to the level of a public health threat that could justify restrictions on certain rights, such as those that result from the imposition of quarantine or isolation limiting freedom of movement. At the same time, careful attention to human rights such as non-discrimination and human rights principles such as transparency and respect for human dignity can foster an effective response amidst the turmoil and disruption that inevitably results in times of crisis and limit the harms that can come from the imposition of overly broad measures that do not meet the above criteria.

[. . .]

The right to health is closely related to and dependent upon the realization of other human rights, as contained in the International Bill of Rights, including the rights to food, housing, work, education, human dignity, life, non-discrimination, equality, the prohibition against torture, privacy, access to information, and the freedoms of association, assembly and movement. These and other rights and freedoms address integral components of the right to health.