My Pandemic is Different than Yours

Why I Unfollowed You on Social Media

For nearly two years I have been physically and emotionally cloistered from the world. I have fibromyalgia and several other autoimmune diseases which result in chronic pain. I did not want COVID-19 on top of everything I’m already struggling to manage. My husband has underlying medical conditions and my three kids have autism, putting every one of us in the category of “high risk” for severe Covid symptoms.

We don’t f–k around with Covid precautions.

Obviously, we’re vaccinated and boosted where applicable. I have the best masks. I get my groceries delivered. I give my kids haircuts. We only do essential medical appointments in-person, and we haven’t been to a museum or zoo since pre-pandemic. My one exception has been the library because we’re all nerds.

My kids were in distance learning well beyond the typical child’s experience with school closures. And I had to fight to keep it that way! I’m still homeschooling my younger two who just became eligible for vaccines. We had planned for them to go back after Christmas but then…Omicron.

Many of the people whom I speak with about their Omicron infection have been vaccinated and boosted and they had a mild infection. “I was just really tired!” or “It felt like I had a cold.”

That doesn’t sound so bad! Maybe I’m being insane and I should just dive back into living! (I have said this to my husband more than 700 times during the course of the pandemic.) And then we talk about how we’re all so fragile already and what would it do to us if even one of us got Covid? What does it do to us if even one of us gets regular sick?! This is how our pandemic is different from yours. We cannot justify the risk.

If you know what it’s like to have an exceptional child with autism and ADHD and generalized anxiety disorder then you know what really tired is. Okay, I see a few hands. Double that. Far fewer hands. Triple that? Okay, anyone left? Just the 5 families?

That’s my life. Chronic pain. Long suffering spouse. Three boys with different needs. Imagine that “I-have-a-newborn” level sleep deprivation but instead of 3 months make it last for 12 years.

This is why we’re so risk-adverse when it comes to catching Covid. We couldn’t survive more “tired”. Or worse, if one of us, or all 5 of us, got it bad? We are on the floor tired even thinking about it!

So here’s the rub: Your Instagram posts. Your Facebook stories. Your effing blog. They are each pushing me over the edge. You are on another vacation! You’re going to a winery! You are at the movies! Hell, you got together with extended family!

We just can’t be friends, because my pandemic is different than yours.

In my pandemic, I’m homeschooling multiple kids for the 4th semester.

“I don’t know how you do it! That’s not for me.”

Erm, I’m not some saint! It’s not for me either but this is how locked down we are.

I want to visit with my friends so desperately, but I just know I’m gonna come off as a freak because I’m not taking my kids on public transportation to a museum or queuing up at a theme park. I’m not going to be able to meet you at that bar even though “it’s outside.” I can feel you judging me even if you remember, oh, yeah, she’s got all that crazy crap going on. I don’t hear from my nearest and dearest because I’m a bummer to talk to! I honestly don’t blame you. I’m a tangible reminder of the pandemic. I’m Debbie Downer. And I’m lonely. Even in the special needs communities, who has three special kids and also has her own disabilities? Uh, bagel. I’m an alien during the best of times, but now? I’m a

I admit that it’s depressing, how much life I feel like we’re missing. But you read about those high-risk population and that’s me and mine. I’m hanging on for “after the pandemic.” It’s our family mantra. Even the 6 year-old. “Mama, after the pandemic is over…” Trust me, those words haunt my dreams. I’m so sorry, baby. Soon, I hope!

I ask myself, “Is it worth getting COVID to go to Marshalls?” Sometimes it is! But rarely.

We did take a vacation before Christmas but the locale was selected for maximum social distancing and we generally spent time in nature. When we went into the village to let the kids shop for souvenirs, a calculated risk, I was on high alert against overcrowding, glaring over my mask at anyone who got too close to my kids. And after 15 minutes, DING, we were back outside in the mountain air. We still managed to come home with plenty of candy, magnets and stuffed animals. I’m sure if you read my own family blog post for that vacation you’d think I was a “normy”, too. Nope. Full on Covid weirdo. I fooled you.

There are a bazillion articles about how people are “done” and “over” the pandemic. I know you are. I get it. I am, too!

I have Googled, “Should I try to get Omicron?”

NO! is the resounding answer from the scientific and medical community. This is not the 1980s when your mom held a chicken pox party. Remember those? They weren’t a good idea either because you don’t know if you’ll be one of the unlucky ones to get a more severe form of the virus.

Our medical community is even more tired of Covid than we are. Please continue to stay safe and practices all stuff we know works to prevent a Covid infection.

As for me, I eagerly await the time when I can re-friend you on Facebook and Instagram and only hate you for posting so many damn pictures of your food.

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