One of the things I learned about myself while in the hospital surprised me. Generally I consider myself an introvert, even a loner. And I am, to some extent. I’m not the life of the party. I’m not the clown or the one that can tell the jokes and get laughs. I’m not the first to speak out when I have ideas that could help a group. I enjoy my alone time and many of the areas I’m skilled in do not require a lot of input from others.
Yet, as a result of the coronavirus and the accompanying restrictions, alone time has worn out its welcome. Quite possibly it wore out its welcome quite quickly, because while I tell myself I’m an introvert, many of my weekly activities (prior to Covid-19) involved meeting with other people. I regularly attended AA meetings, volunteer work, greeting at church, attending a women’s Christian business group, and various “dates” for coffee or lunch. I still think I’m an introvert, but I do not thrive when I spend most of my time without contact with other people.
In talking with the therapist assigned to me at the hospital, she challenged the notion that I’m a good loner. She pointed out how much I contributed to the conversations and group discussions in the hospital setting. I also asked if anyone played cribbage and would want to play with me (and then was involved in conversation with those people when they were identified). She pointed out that when I first arrived at the hospital, I tried staying by myself, but was drawn into the groups quickly (all I had to do was be asked by someone – usually a mental health worker (MHW) – if I wanted to attend a group).
She went on to observe that in our first meeting, she had me describe an average week pre-coronavirus and it was filled with contact with other people. She laughed as she reminded me that I told her I would go to our local coffee shop to work on my computer just to be around other people. She also pointed out that almost all that stopped abruptly with the start of coronavirus restrictions.
What it boiled down to was that I needed human contact and I needed to start strategizing how I was going to have that even with Covid-19 restrictions still applying to me (letting up right now would not be wise due to several high risk conditions I have). So in view of that discovery, I have begun looking for others to “meet” with (masks and/or social distancing in place). I have come up with several options and keep brainstorming for more. And, having had several of those meetings, I do feel less alone. And, emotionally and mentally, I’m doing better each day.