Each week, James Weir recaps his life in isolation. This week, he establishes the seven emotional stages of isolation.
I'm not a medical professional but I am an expert in terribly destructive behaviour.
Regardless of whether you're isolating alone or with others, the below flowchart has been established and details the seven stages of emotion most adults will endure during this prolonged lockdown.
Isolation feels like a treat. ASOS is always open and happy hour starts at any hour. You wonder why society hasn't done this sooner.
A wave of serenity flows through your body as you get excited about all the possibilities that a life in isolation can bring. They're endless.
Maybe you'll finally start that side hustle. Perhaps you'll even record your debut experimental acoustic folk album in GarageBand.
Even though you're working from home, you still get up at 6am to exercise – just so you can smugly post about it on Instagram.
You're riding that unique high that only a smug Instagram post can bring and you consider starting a lifestyle blog because clearly you have your life sorted and people probably wonder how you do it all. Maybe you'll even launch a podcast about health and wellness. You hop online and purchase potential domain names.
By 8am, you've reorganised all your cupboards and sterilised every surface in the house. After checking Instagram to admire your smug exercise post again, you fall down a scrolling rabbit hole and start seeing everyone's baking photos. When did we all agree to start baking? Well, clearly you need to get involved so you place an online Coles order for ingredients.
People are posting about jigsaw puzzles, too – so you order a couple of those from a chic online stationery store.
The Coles order with the baking ingredients arrived days ago and they're still sitting on the dining table. The boxes containing the bespoke jigsaw puzzles mock you.
You begin to resent yourself.
Happy hour starts a little earlier today – you know, just to take the edge off.
On a Zoom call with your colleagues, your boss asks how that project is coming along and the question slaps you in the face. Does that b*tch think you're not doing any work?
Maybe you're just being paranoid. You decant some wine into your water bottle and go for a walk. Obviously you just need some fresh air.
By the time you get back home, there's an email from your boss detailing a strict deadline for that project. You reply with a stern email detailing exactly what you think of her.
As midnight nears, you create a fake email address and an anonymous Instagram profile for the sole purpose of trolling your ex's new boyfriend.
After sleeping through your alarm and rising at the reasonable hour of 10am, there's a text from your mum asking if you're OK and you feel instantly attacked.
You feel irritated and you can't determine exactly why, so you look around for people to blame and begin lashing out.
This leads to several aggressive rants on Facebook before you pick a fight at a supermarket. Then you start filming people in the street who are walking too close together and submit the footage to A Current Affair.
Later that night, you decide Poh on MasterChef is getting too much screen time and needs to be brought down a peg, so you launch an online petition. In a normal world, no one hates Poh. Poh's a beloved national treasure. To turn on Poh is a sign of true rage and you're overdue to move onto the next stage of isolation.
You grow a beard and start talking to your lamp and it convinces you it has magical powers, like Pete Evans did.
After waking up in fright because you thought your lamp was trying to attack you, you catch your reflection in the mirror and pledge to make a change. But you're not quite ready to leave behind the iso life – after all, you didn't choose the iso life, the iso life chose you. Its hold proves too strong and you only seek in vain for a way out.
You convince yourself a new job will fix your problems and promptly Google: "How to become an influencer."
You then Google for articles where psychologists have advised people to "be kind to themselves during isolation" and then you use this to justify your binge eating and excessive drinking.
In a desperate attempt to feel in control, you wind forward all the clocks in your house by two hours so you don't feel so guilty when you start drinking before lunch.
You drink a bottle of wine and go live on Instagram.
RELEASE AND ACCEPTANCE
You fall asleep on your lounge room floor and wake up crying.
This is a cold wake-up call and you realise you have to face the problem head on. Isolation is a marathon, not a sprint. You pledge to put in place realistic solutions. These include waking up at a respectable hour to read inspirational quotes from fitfluencers on Instagram. And attempting to shower at least once every two days.
This article was first published on news.com.au.