Five Days Alone

Artwork: Eliza Williams

CONTENT WARNING: Allusions to Alcoholism and Climate Change; Depression; Brief Mention of Death

Day 1

I am alone, and I’m okay with it.

My alarm goes off at 7am. I sit up from my bed. Then I remember that I don’t have anywhere to go today, so I fall back down.

I open my blinds and look out the window. It’s a nice, sunny day outside. Maybe I’ll go for a run later.

I get up, have a shower, have breakfast and start work at my desk. I work until 5pm with a break for lunch and a run in-between, like I’d normally do if I went into the office.

I channel-surf, have a cup of tea, brush my teeth again and go to bed at 10pm.

Day 2

I am alone, and I think I’m going to get used to it.

My alarm goes off at 7am. I turn it off and go straight back to sleep. I wake up at 8am. I got a lot of work done yesterday, so I can afford to sleep in for a bit.

I get up, have a shower, have breakfast and start work. I get everything done quickly. To kill time, I go on my phone for a bit. Every post is about crisis, sickness, mass panic. My heart flutters. I’m in the midst of it all. We all are.

I try to go for a run, but it ends up just be- ing a walk. Today, my muscles seem heavier, my legs seem weaker, my breathing seems faster. Oh well. We all have bad days.

I channel-surf and have a glass of wine. I brush my teeth and go to bed at 10pm, but I can’t sleep. My mind creates stories, images, conversations with my family I might never have. By the time I fall asleep, it’s got to be at least midnight.

Day 3

I am alone, and it doesn’t feel right. I’ve been in isolation for days now, and while I thought I was used to it, I’m getting cabin fever.

I jump out of bed and walk outside in my pyjamas. I look up at the sky – the clouds are grey, looming, like the end of the world is coming.

I don’t feel like breakfast.

I stay lying on my bed, thinking about all the possible things that could happen in the near future. Everyone could die. The human race might perish with the Earth crumbling underneath us, the Sun exploding above us. This kind of thinking isn’t helpful, but I feel helpless.

Mum calls me, but my brain is moving so quickly, my mouth can’t keep up. We make small talk for five minutes, then I make an excuse and hang up.

I channel-surf again, not paying attention to anything on the screen. All of the images blur together, people’s voices are simultaneously too loud and too quiet, and my brain just won’t stop moving. I give up and have a nap.

I have dinner at 6pm, a glass of wine at 7pm and another three glasses of wine by 8pm. I’m in bed by 9pm. I sleep for what seems like the rest of eternity

Day 4

I am alone and I am in bed, even though it’s midday. Everything seems wrong, like I’m looking into a mirror that distorts your reflection, except nothing’s been exaggerated right now. My life, my present, is my reality. And I don’t know what to do.

I go about my day on autopilot. I get tunnel vision, and my legs feel like they’re made of steel. I don’t bother turning on the TV. Mum calls, but I don’t bother answering. What would I say, anyway? While yesterday my brain was running at a million miles per hour, today it’s barely moving a muscle.

My stomach cries out for me to eat some- thing, so I make two-minute noodles. I eat it, but my tongue doesn’t register the taste. Afterwards, I eat an apple, hoping it’ll up my energy levels, but I still feel like a zombie.

I’m in bed by 9pm. All I want to do is sleep.

Day 5

I am alone. I didn’t turn my phone off last night, and now it’s making a buzzing sound. I don’t really want to answer it, but I check it anyway. It’s from Mum:

Hi darling, I just wanted to check if everything was okay. You didn’t pick up yesterday. I get the sense you might be depressed. You know you can talk to me anytime. I’m only one phone call away. I love you so much, Mum xx

I am alone. But maybe, I’m not after all. Maybe, there are people I can rely on to get me and them through this mess. I text Mum back:

I am depressed. Everything’s so hard right now, but I’m so grateful to have you.Thank you for all you do, and sorry for not picking up yesterday. Maybe we can talk later to- day? Love you. I’ll be okay xx

And for the first time in days, I genuinely believe it.