(Semi) Quarantine and Complex Post-traumatic Stress Disorder

I knew this was going to happen sooner or later: six days ago I was in close contact with a friend who later tested positive for COVID. On Wednesday a friend alerted me, and I contacted Salud Responde. As I am fully vaccinated (the privilege of age) I don't have to do a strict quarantine, but I do have to avoid close contacts, i.e. I can't really meet anyone, except with distance and a face mask, which doesn't work for me. I wear a face mask when there are a lot of people, or when I go into a shop, or on public transport. That's as far as I can get.
A day later my doctor called me. He told me the same thing, and gave me an appointment for a PCR for the following Tuesday, day 9 from the contact (when the quarantine lasts 10 days), or, six days after I informed Salud Responde of the fact. He also gave me an appointment for a second PCR for the following Friday (if the first is negative), i.e. day 12 from the date of contact. To me this makes little sense, but this is not the subject of this blog entry.
At the beginning I felt privileged not to have to do the hard quarantine - the total isolation. And I probably am. The rest of Wednesday and Thursday I spent quite well, following my work routine in the morning and trying to occupy myself in the afternoons. I went out for a walk or to have a little glass of wine (alone) and write in my journal. Sometimes I met some friends, and explained that I need to keep my distance, and that we can't hug. On Thursday I also had to cancel meeting a friend in the afternoon. But, the first few days I passed rather well, although with a downward trend.

That changed yesterday, Friday. In the morning I worked, and at noon the weekend started for me. A weekend without the possibility of meeting anyone, without the possibility of leaving Seville (as I can't take public transport, and I don't have a car). And at this moment I went on a downward spiral. I went out for a drink (alone), but obviously I met someone (inevitable in my neighbourhood), but we couldn't hug and we couldn't even stay without a face mask to chat for a while. I felt like crying. I realised that I was on the verge of a flashback, that my back was tense (I haven't had a tense back for months - it's a sign of emotional stress) and that the situation has all the triggers that could make me fall into another episode of complex post-traumatic stress: the impotence in the face of the situation, the cancellation of all my plans, all my illusions for 10 or more days, staying alone, and not by choice. All this made me crash brutally at the beginning of the pandemic, and again in autumn, during the second wave. So, again? I was on the edge of the abyss, but I had not yet fallen.

Back home I started to share my emotions with friends, and expressing them already helped me. I felt supported. A friend of mine called me and offered to meet me in the evening and have a glass of wine, but keeping our distance. I appreciated the gesture, but in the end I decided not to do it. I felt unable to meet and relax, thinking that I would potentially expose my friend to the risk of infection. I mean, I don't deny the need for this semi-quarantine, and I am doing it. But, this doesn't mean that it doesn't affect me strongly emotionally, that it can't let me fall back into an episode of post-traumatic stress.

For now I have not fallen. Yesterday, as I realised the triggers and the risk of crashing, I also tried to look at my situation with different eyes, and I thought about what I could do. I started to look for things I can do to keep myself occupied, especially things I feel like doing, like cooking, for example. And, I've decided to go out less (or, at least, less at times and places when and where I'm likely to meet friends), but still go out. I asked a friend for a recipe for seitan. And I started to think about my holidays from the middle of August on, and looked for routes (I want to cycle from Seville and possibly through Portugal to Galicia, or wherever). I also decided not to have the second PCR on the 12th day after the contact, as it doesn't make sense, and it's going to fuck me up yet another weekend.

This morning I went out for breakfast (alone) and went to a park for a few hours. Then I returned home, and put some henna in my hair (it was about time), and then I made seitan (it turned out quite well). And I think I'll do something similar on Sunday. And on Monday I'm at least back to my work routine.

I have four more days to go. Wednesday next week is day 10 since the contact, i.e. the last day of my semi-quarantine, although my doctor will only call me on Thursday. As during the week at least I have my routine, I hope it won't cost me as much, especially now, after realising the triggers for a traumatic response are present. And, in deciding not to have the second PCR (a nonsense 12 days after the contact) but to go ahead with plans for that weekend, I feel I am also regaining my agency, leaving the impotence behind. I really hope that I will make it to the end of the semi-quarantine without crashing.