Sophia, 19

Updated: Jul 20, 2020

Little things let me know I’m hurting. I didn’t notice them at first, because at least I’m alive, at least my family is alive. I don’t feel any overwhelming grief or fear, but for the first time in my life I woke up angry. I wasn’t even fully awake yet, but my jaw was tight and clenched, my neck and back were slick, and I felt like raging against my pillow, and my covers, and the light streaming through my window. I have nothing more to complain about than most, and much less than some, but I’ve always prided myself on being level-headed, and now that’s gone. I spend all day, every day just a little bit angry. I find myself going on a run, or a walk, or a drive to nowhere multiple times in a day to compose myself.

Ever since I was a kid, I’ve felt anxious about being confined. I’ve always had anxiety, but the first time I can remember that panicked, tunnel-vision, unbearable kind of anxiety came from feeling trapped. It might have been a shirt that fit too tight, or a cramped elevator, or a room with no AC that would set me off. Over time I learned to cope, to accept these feelings. Quarantine feels like a coping marathon. I feel as though I’m always on the brink of cracking. I think I have built up a large threshold for anxiety, that I can always feel like I’m on the brink without ever finding it. That could just be an illusion.

My mom is a pediatric nurse. She doesn’t work in the emergency room, and she doesn’t knowingly deal with people who are sick with COVID-19, but I still worry. People keep leaving flowers and candies on our doorstep as a thank you. The flowers brighten up quarantine a little bit. Something about quarantine makes being home alone feel much more lonely. When she goes to work, I feel powerless and trapped. There’s nothing I can do to protect her except sit and wait. So that’s what I do, I sit and I wait.

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