I’ve spent a large part of my life in dangerous environments, often for longish periods, with small groups of people.
I get to stay home with my family, I can walk whenever I like, not just a half hour jog around the helideck once a day, I don’t have to wait until we get to a port where the schedule allows us to get ashore, I get to cook whatever food I want, sit out in the sun all day if I wish.
Great! Should be finding it easy? Right!
Not so much, even after a few days.
The biggest difference for me, is that it is not me particularly, in danger, It is my family, my elderly parents and my friends, work mates and neighbours. Worries we all share.
The next is having a houseful of young adults, without enough to do, who are not used to being in those situations, and don’t get on that well at the best of times. Including an under 25 year old male, who is of course “10 foot tall and bulletproof”, as we all were. Whose normal reaction is that it won’t happen to him or those around him. The reason why 18 to 25 year olds are used as cannon fodder, when we have a war. Persuading him of the need to take precautions, when he returns daily from his farm contracting, has been difficult.
Having a young baby in the house and two people at high risk, finally got through to him.
Of course we have it easy in many ways. We have house with a well stocked fridge, food supplies, a nice locality to walk around, no school age kids, no teenagers, and a big back yard. As we were reminded, %MCEPASTEBIN%
“Cabin Fever” is a real thing, in many of the jobs I’ve done., even with people who have done the job all their lives.
An extra long sea voyage, problems at home, too long on a ship without a break, latent mental health issues, being constantly on call, having to be aware the whole time of avoiding danger, gets almost everyone down at some stage.
We train how to deal with it, of course.
Everyone has their own “coping” methods.
It is important to remember that everyone is different, and what helps one person to cope can make things worse for another.
For my wife it is gardening, for my son above it is spending his day doing tough physical work, for me it is sailing, when I’m at sea going walking or cycling whenever possible, for many it is fishing or sport.
A huge number of people can no longer carry out their normal coping activities, at a time when they most need them.
On long voyages we have things like Toga parties, movie nights, spoof evenings, deck games and other activities. Many of those can be adapted to home. There are unwritten rules about both personal space and socialising.
At home you can try and give everyone a personal space where they can shut the door. Explain that “alone time” is important, and if someone is in their room with the door shut, they should be left alone. While keeping a lookout for signs of depression of course.
“Alone time” is especially necessary for teenagers and parents of young children.
The Government did exactly the right thing, telling everyone they can take outdoor exercise locally within the necessary physical distancing rules.
Trusting people to be sensible about the possibilities of virus spread. To trust that most people will , given the information and criteria, will make the right decisions for themselves and others.
The family with young kids, driving around looking for teddy bears, is not “driving unnecessarily” they are trying to keep those kids happy and healthy during the lockdown. The old lady driving down the local estuary for swim, cannot walk more than a few metres, and that is how she has got her exercise for the last decade. That young bloke swimming in the sea, has cystic fibrosis. It helps his lungs. The three hour walk, I took my son on yesterday, was the alternative to his siblings wanting to kill him. The bloke fishing off the wharf has anger problems. He is distancing himself from his elderly, in-laws.
It is important for public support and the robustness of the lockdown, that the restrictions on “blowing out the cobwebs” are ones that are necessary to prevent the virus spreading, not an exercise for authoritarian “control freaks” to impose detailed, confusing and ever changing rules.
There is no way, even with the army and tribes of ” curtain twitchers”, we can make this work, without trust and reliance on each other.
It works. We are not having the “Zombie apocalypse” predicted by science.
On the whole, all around the world, everyday people are doing their best to look after each other.
As this post is intended to encourage, please feel free to comment on how to help people through this.
I’m planning separate political post/s so we can indulge in our “coping strategy” looking for political and economic solutions. Please keep those sorts of comments for them, or other posts.