Isolation In The Time of Pandemic

We have been home now for over a week, leaving for only food and long walks around our neighborhood. Luckily, I am here with my partner, soon to be my husband. We complement each other well and usually do not get on each other’s nerves. But I am anxious to get back to my more active life. I have been asking myself, what do I want to focus on with all this time on my hands? I’ve decided to resurrect this blog, which I used to write in more frequently and to read more. I’ve also decided to watch less news.

Last night I hosted a support group meeting for a local peer support group for men, like myself, who are or have been married or in relation to a woman. This was our first attempt at a virtual meeting now that our in-person meetings have been shuttered due to the virus. 

As we kicked off the video meeting we focused on how men were doing isolated in their homes. Of the six men on the video call, three lived alone. Two men lived with children and I was the only man who lives with a same-sex partner or spouse. Everyone on the call described some degree of loneliness and a few talked about going stir crazy being home all the time.

As someone close to retirement, and living mostly off my savings, I’ve experienced significant stress as I’ve watched my IRA and investment portfolio decline significantly.  The money I expected to live off of for the rest of my life seems to be evaporating before my eyes. That said, I have enough of my savings out of the markets that I am not worried about the short term but could have long term problems.

I think that isolation is more pronounced for men or women who live alone. Straight or LGBTQ may not matter when the world seems to be going through significant disruption and we have nothing but our own thoughts to counteract the barrage of bad news. My partner reminds me regularly not to be so dark about the future. Our silliness and laughter amid the chaos of the world around us brings up my spirits and lightens my stress.

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