My Life in Lockdown by Nguyen Thi Mong Dang

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This piece is a short of summary what I experienced during the current pandemic, including comforts and anxieties of being forced to self-isolation. Throughout my writing, the audience may have a different perspective about quarantine time which is not only a problem, but also a chance for us to think about the value of life within enjoying time with family and the efforts to overcome difficulties during survival.

Being inspired by two texts, including “I can’t stop crying” from The lifted Brow – Quinn Eades and “Last call” in Kill your darlings – Ryan Matthew, I am going to detail my experience in quarantine due to the covid-19 pandemic in this creative nonfiction piece. In my opinion, these two readings have been relevant to the current global issue which have influenced human life on both physical and mental health from December 2019 until now.

With Quinn Eades’s test, I am finding excitingly about contrasting emotions that the writer described by compact writing style, for example, “I can’t stop crying. Not a sob, not a weep, not a howl, this is a leak” (Eades 2017). It is short sentence, but has a huge effect on reader’s feeling. From “Last call” of Ryan Matthew, I am intending to focus on the emotion when we part something or someone from our lives, and the live will be continued even though we wish to look backward sometimes. Therefore, in my work of creative nonfiction piece, I am going to unpack these themes in an attempt to illustrate my engagement with the comforts and anxieties of being forced to self-isolate.

What have you spent throughout your self-isolation time? Is it beneficial or harmful to you?

Let me share with you about my story I spent during my quarantine.

“Stay far away from me”, a neighbor said to me when I came out to throw rubbish and coughed unintentionally. She went back to her house quickly and she unforgotten to fling a furious stare to me behind her. 

That day, I only stayed in my room and kept warm myself during the daytime. Thinking…

“Reng reng reng…” my phone rings giving me a start.

“I am not feeling well … (coughing)” I said to my mum via Facebook video call.

That is my first day after Melbourne has been in lockdown.

I wake up and open the message from my friend. Vietnam has been faced to Covid-19 pandemic effectively. I feel relief after knowing this news about my home country. But a blue feeling comes when I hear the news from 7News channel – over 6,000 confirmed cases in Australia – my current “home”. One more bored morning, wasted day. I sigh when wearing an overcoat to get out and have a look some mints outside. Another cold day. No work, no money, no communication. There is a big change during this quarantine time. Why is it important? Coronavirus pandemic has changed the way we live, work, communicate day by day (Australian Government Department of Health, 2020).

 I am thinking of…

We need help. Many people lose their jobs when Australia has proceeded lockdown policy. Worried, scared, pressurised. I also feel unsafe to live in the most liveable city on the world – Melbourne while I have had common cold and flu during this sensitive circumstance. “You need to self-isolate at home from now on”, the doctor Le Phan advised me on call. Spent two weeks at home for self-isolating, took high responsibility to protect myself and community. I entirely obtain awareness of the danger of coronavirus towards our lives. But the pandemic gets more negative effects on human psychology. Before lockdown, some people buy toilet rolls into a panic, even hitting others to scramble for their stockpiling (Hall 2020).

Coronavirus has a big threat toward both human mind and actions. Some just worry, but some even just think about themselves only. While many aspects need to be focused on: national economy, trading custom, people’s health. Are there anyone thinking about a quiet Melbourne? A blue feeling is covering an ebullient and colourful city. Negative emotion will lead many of us to a selfish and transient reactions.

I come back the house and take a cup of peach tea. Sit down at the front of TV and hear presenter on 7News channel. Jobkeeper, jobseeker, seeking early access to superannuation.  WE GET HELP. Good news. I stop thinking about how difficult we are or how terrible the pandemic is. Let’s make the rest of our self- isolated days meaningful. No more wasted. No more boring. Perhaps many people start to think optimistically like me. 456 applications from people seeking early access their superannuation and 587,686 jobseeker applications have been approved on 23 April (Guardian News and Media Limited 2020).

Now is the time to mirror: what is important to us while the threat of coronavirus is much bigger and bigger? “HEALTH”. Spending 2 weeks with unwell situation, I recognised that when we obtain a good health, we actually have everything: confidence, alertness, positive thoughts and a lucid mind. These are what I felt during the time facing to the long sickness.

Planning time….

Wishing the good health coming back with me. I start to plan time for a positive life. Speeding up my study. Accessing to materials, discussion board. Working on my assessments and reading through my peers’ feedback. I have refreshed my mind and thrown out the fear and adverse feeling. Update news every day. The recovery cased are increasing in every hour. Confirmed cases are being reduced day by day. Everything is well again, and I… should be fine to stay strong and safe here.

I have planned schedule for my routine. Reading, cooking, talking to my family and friends, relaxing. I find some associations where I can find assistance or I can give a hand to support other people. I research how Australian government supports their citizens and their policy as well. Find, read and listen – my mind has opened positively. I choose to keep staying in Australia to overcome pandemic… it is right. Right decision. Right way. Definitely right time and helpful experience.

As Ryan Matthew tells us story “Last call” he writes: “Dad made most of the recordings – thousands of individual words and phrases – after the diagnosis. Diagnoses: first prostate cancer to be treated, then the resignation of metastases. I accompanied him to a few of the recording sessions. He would sit in a soundproof booth, headphones on, reading his list of words. Each word recited in three variations: upward inflection; downward inflection; flat. He enjoyed it. It reminded him of the work he had left only a few years earlier. He was a radio journalist” (Matthew 2020). The dad becomes respects the rest of time of his life after the diagnosis. He keeps an optimistic mind and proud of his voice even though he is unwell. Spending the awful situation, awful time will be boost us to love what we have and who we are. Throughout this period, I am able to improve myself entirely.  Strong thought, opened mind and helpful perspective.

In short, my personal essay presents my experience during self-isolated time while I have spent illness in sensitive situation currently. My emotion definitely has been changed from from negative to positive, from difficulties to pleasures by changing thoughts and reactions. My work of creative nonfiction also reflects my experience regarding the understanding of how important the health is towards all of us. During this text, we can see that I concentrate on clear writing to help readers who can understand the meaning of self-isolation and it is not awful. “Going through rainy days helps us love the sunny moments”.

References

Australian Government Department of Health 2020, Supporting the mental health of

Australians through the Coronavirus pandemic, viewed 30 July 2020, <https://www.health.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/2020/03/covid-19-national-health-plan-supporting-the-mental-health-of-australians-through-the-coronavirus-pandemic.pdf>

Eades Q 2017, ‘I Can’t Stop Crying’ in The Lifted Brow

Hall J 2020, Clinical psychologist helps us understand why people are stockpiling toilet paper, viewed on 30 July 2020, <https://www.news.com.au/finance/business/retail/clinical-psychologist-helps-us-understand-why-people-are-stockpiling-toilet-paper/news-story/2c5c25f1b556b6e559bd6f22493c28f3>

Ryan M 2020, ‘Last Call’ in Kill Your Darlings, Melbourne: Kill Your Darlings

The Guardian News and Media Limited 2020, Australia’s Coronavirus loockdown- the first 50 days, viewed on 30 July 2020, <https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/may/02/australias-coronavirus-lockdown-the-first-50-days>