Several of my acquaintances were having a lively conversation about going to see a movie soon and how they’ve been looking forward to it since the pandemic began and someone tagged me to get me to join the discussion. So, I commented there were no movies coming out that would make me go to a movie theater. And the ridicule began… “You can’t live your life being afraid of coronavirus, things have to resume eventually…” Blah, blah, blah… After five or six comments I finally rejoined with a single comment “I have migraines, never has a movie been released that made me think ‘Oh yes, this movie will be so wonderful it is worth getting a migraine to watch.’ It just doesn’t happen and watching movies and TV in the dark is a surefire way to trigger a migraine for me.”
Here’s the thing; yes, I’m concerned about coronavirus, my immune system is f*cked and that means not only will I have trouble creating antibodies to protect myself from infection, but once I get it, I will struggle to fight it. I suspect I will be one of those hospitalized and on a ventilator. The reality is my elderly (but not feeble) mother would probably fare better than me if we both ended up with it. I also try to avoid people with pneumonia, influenza, bronchitis, measles, and other contagious and potentially fatal illnesses. Hell, I don’t even want to catch a cold because I struggle to get over them. For me, taking extra precautions to avoid catching coronavirus is a logical and smart decision not one based on hype.
But believe it or not, I have been avoiding movie theaters for more than a decade. One of the best things about technology is that if there’s a movie I really, really want to see, I can rent it over streaming and watch it in the comfort of my own home (and some of them get released for streaming while in theaters which is even better). And this whole “watching TV in the dark” thing affects more than just going to the theater. J would love to kick back in his recliner, turn out the lights, and watch TV or movies at home sometimes and I just can’t. The flashing strobing lights of the TV are enhanced when there is less ambient light. I don’t go to live music shows anymore for the same reason. I had to make a decision ages ago; I could enjoy these activities in the dark and suffer a migraine the next day or five or I could just avoid them. Obviously, I decided to avoid them because migraines suck.
I just don’t get why everyone is so quick to assume that “irrational virus fear” is the only reason someone isn’t doing something. Granted, I haven’t done a lot, but that’s just kind of my personality. I was like that pre-pandemic. I deal with some strange anxiety issues and one of them is a form of agoraphobia*. I just “know” that if we leave the house for hours or days or weeks, we will return home to find: dead bodies, the rubble from a fire, a meteor will have crashed into it, a tornado will have taken it to Oz, etc. And since I can’t take anti-depressants, this anxiety has been uncontrolled for three years now. Logically, I know this isn’t rational or real, but when your brain is convinced of something, no amount of self explanation will relieve the anxiety and stress of it. I mean, I know our house is just as likely to be hit by a meteorite with us home as not home and if I’m home I can’t do anything about a meteor striking the house, but in my brain, I feel like if I’m home, it won’t happen.
My point is, some people had limitations before the pandemic. Once some semblance of normalcy returns in our post-pandemic world there will still be people with limitations like not going to movie theaters because the lights trigger migraines or not going out because they have agoraphobia. I think in our desire to pretend everything is right with the world, we have forgotten this.
Also, I feel people have gotten nastier towards each other as states reopen. My acquaintances are a good example. They can’t look at me and see that my immune system works at less than half capacity**. Why then would they think they have a right to accuse me of giving into mass hysteria or being controlled by the right wing media? When in reality, I have a legitimate reason to take extra precautions especially since I have reached that age when I have symptoms of an underlying condition associated with increased risk of death from COVID-19?