Isolation diaries part two: one week down

By Andrew Johnston

Our man behind the closed doors has filed an update from downtown Launceston. But looking out of his windows ANDREW JOHNSTON is wondering if the country has gone cuckoo, marvelling at the sheer selfishness and stupidity of the moron minority determined to be rebels to the end. Possibly their own. But most likely some innocent senior citizen who crosses their path.

CABIN fever (noun): lassitude, irritability, and similar symptoms. The Cambridge dictionary suggests the feeling of being angry and bored because you have been inside for too long, resulting from long confinement or isolation indoors (esp. during the winter).

You’ve probably heard these two words being tossed about ad nauseum – especially by people such as me.

The self-isolators who returned home to Tasmania before Bass Strait became a no-man’s land.

Well after years of knowing – and totally ignoring – the malaise, I am here to report the dictionary has been very low-key in its estimations.

Low – let’s consider that word for a moment (work with me here, we have already moved on).

Measuring things low.

Well right now you don’t have to look too far for examples.

Think Bondi Beach, think Maroubra, think groups training together on public equipment in parks and on running trails, or think any number of places you have seen people still gathered in groups far larger than crowds of two.

They can’t all be immediate family, even allowing for the Catholics.

Yes, when people are stuck in the same place for a long time, it really starts to get to them.

I half assumed it was going to hit me at some point (other than my first day glitch), that it was going to drive me nuts being stuck doing laps of my house.

But after a week, it hasn’t come to that.

I think knowing when I got back to Tassie I would have to spend the 14 days in isolation made life a bit easier for me.

When there is a set period of time, you can plan for it – and around it.

It's like writing to a deadline for the Riv – you know how long you have, you know what you have to do, and you do it.

So after a week, I was feeling pretty OK, knowing I was on the run home (well, not really, more de-home). That I would be able to have a degree of freedom.

But I think the announcement by Canberra (which has since been accepted by the states our readers live in, and the one I am currently based in) has made the walls a bit smaller.

As has been said seemingly a thousand times by those in charge of our country and states, these rules are not to save you or I, they are to save the most vulnerable among us.

And unfortunately, as photos from beaches across the country have shown in recent days – sometimes you have to put things in place like fines and jail time to make the selfish and stupid (those may not be mutually exclusive) of society do the right thing.

But back to the walls.

Where the cabin fever is coming from is the somewhat unclear length of the latest regulations.

Naturally, it’s impossible to put an exact time frame around a crisis that seems to change the landscape every hour.

But what made week one easier was the knowledge that on Tuesday, April 7, I could have a somewhat normal life.

Lockdown, however, redefines normality and that makes it somewhat harder to get your head around.

The world is changing at a rapid rate – everything that made sense yesterday seems to be completely out of date today.

This is going to be where the difficulty will start hitting us – not why, but when.

It’s going to be increasingly difficult for us to hold our sanity as our world spins out of control, swept along by events no-one really has the time to analyse, let alone reject.

But this is also when it becomes most important to help each other through, remaining connected while in isolation.

Because we are going to need to support each other through this, we need to get on top of this so we can all come out strong and healthy on the other side.

It won’t be easy; I won't pretend it will be.

But we can get there.