‘Coronavirus has taught me that I am not alone, even during isolation’

May 18, 2020
Lockdown could have made things quite lonely for Fran, but she's found people are reaching out. Source: Getty Images

Being someone who lives on her own and sees very few people, I did not think any lockdown because of coronavirus would be a bother to me. I’m alone most of the time anyway. However, what I discovered was there is a difference. I know there is a difference between being alone and being lonely, but what I have experienced with the virus is different again.

Even when I was not actually living by myself, I was alone most of the time. My husband was either away working or away pretending to be working for a good part of the latter half of our marriage. By this time, one son had flown the nest and my youngest was becoming an adult, so he had his own life to live.

When my marriage eventually disintegrated, the last of my children left home and I was completely alone. I was lonely for some time, even though I still had a job and friends.

It was lonely coming home to an empty house, except for my dog. Having a dog is a wonderful thing, but it had been more than 30 years since I was the only human occupant and I suddenly knew what it was like to be lonely.

It took me awhile, but I finally got used to living alone and settled into a life of ones. One for dinner, one for the movies, one for a holiday. You get the idea …

After about three years, I moved from the north-west coast of Tasmania to Hobart. It is not like other cities in Australia, but it is my city.

The place I finally found I wanted to be. I had a job to go to, which did not work out. I have only worked in casual jobs since.

I have not found myself lonely, even though it took me a while to find new friends. Yes, there is a big difference between lonely and alone and I like being alone.

Nearly six years later, I had only felt lonely once, when I was quite ill. That’s understandable isn’t it? I only had me to rely on.

I go out now with friends or on my own. I love the movies, or driving or the opera, or as much exploring as my weary body allows. I’m not lonely.

Then a new friend hit the scene — coronavirus. This was one that wanted to befriend as many people as possible, whether they wanted it to or not. This would test the ‘lonely’ and ‘alone’ theory, I thought. I’ll be right, I’m used to being alone.

It turns out, I was not all right. It started out okay, but recently, I have been on edge. I even had a panic attack while in a pharmacy. What was worse, was the day after. I felt really lonely and a little apprehensive.

I’ve come to realise that while live alone and while I sometimes get lonely, I am never alone. Coronavirus has taught me that there are more people who care about me than ever before. They do not have to be here physically, because they are everywhere.

I get messages and phone calls. My social media runs overtime from friends I’ve known for a long time (or a not-so-long time). The care and love I’ve had poured on me over the past few months is unbelievable.

I may live by myself, I may feel isolated, but I will never be alone. Thank you to all my incredible friends. I love you.

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Have you struggled with isolation and loneliness during the pandemic?

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