How has coronavirus affected me?

When the pandemic first hit, and we were getting bombarded with news and information about coronavirus, I promised myself one thing. I wasn’t going to write a post about it.

Apart from not wanting to contribute to the influx of information, I think this is also why I couldn’t write at all. It feels like this is the only thing we seem to talk about these days; I didn’t really want to talk about it more.

BUT here I am. I thought I would just share with you what’s been going on lately with me, and hopefully, you can relate.

Writing is hard when you’re stuck inside.

As any writer will know, trying to write when you’re uninspired is like trying to run in quicksand.

I can tell you, when you spend 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, confined to the same four walls, with the same four people for months on end, it’s a real inspiration crusher.

This is the reality of lockdowns, of which we have experienced quite a lot here in Victoria.

I’ll admit things could be worse. For one, I haven’t caught the ‘rona’ yet (touch wood), and I’m fully vaxxed – yippee!

I’m also lucky that I don’t live alone during these tough times. As much as the family can be a right pain in the arse, at least I have people to talk to and play a board game with every once in a while.

Uni is hard when it’s online.

Like many other school and uni students, lockdowns also mean online learning!

I’ll be honest; I don’t mind online learning so much. I definitely get much more sleep now that I don’t have to factor in the getting ready time and the commute.

The downside is twofold. First, I miss all my friends and teachers. I’m a social person, and not interacting with people face to face is killing me.

Second, I’m missing out on being out and about during the most important year of my degree.

I graduate at the end of this year, and without even thinking about whether I’m even going to have a ceremony, I’m still missing out on things like internships and practice reporting in a newsroom.

We all probably know the feeling of missing out these days. It’s challenging at the best of times.

A pandemic is hard when you’re considered high risk.

It’s no secret that I have a disability – a “pre-existing health condition”, if you will.

According to both our federal and state governments, that puts me in the high-risk category for catching and suffering severe symptoms from coronavirus.

If you’re like me, you’ll understand how scary this can feel (especially before you’re vaccinated).

It’s made worse by the fact that every time there’s a death, it’s minimised by whether the person who caught the virus had a ‘pre-existing health condition’.

It’s a phrase, I believe, that is designed to shift the blame away from government officials who haven’t made the right decision by their people. Or away from people who haven’t followed the government restrictions.

Vulnerable communities are made to feel responsible for their own health, even if we’re already doing everything we can.

That is why I fully believe that the only path out of all this is one we must walk together. We need to work together – following restrictions and getting vaccinated when possible.

We must do what’s right, not just by ourselves but by the greater community. That includes protecting our most vulnerable citizens, children, elderly, indigenous and disabled communities.

It’s hard for everyone.

In summary, I think we can all agree this pandemic has been a rude interruption to all of our lives in one way or another.

But as we dismay over the hardships, we should remember to appreciate the good we have in our lives.

We live in a safe country with a good healthcare system and a good education system. We have access to vaccinations (depending on where you are), and our friends and family could be a phone call away.

We should live with the hope that things will get better, and that will depend on the decisions we make now.

So do the right thing, and please stay safe!

Claudia Forsberg is a Melbourne based writer and journalist. She is currently studying for a bachelor’s degree in communication (Journalism) at RMIT University.

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