What if I’d contract the virus? What if my parents get it? It would definitely mean death for me.
When I first heard the news, I was anxious. Negative thoughts started to form in my head. It seemed like all the posts I could see on social media and the news on TV were all about the pandemic. And by the looks of it, it was getting to the country one person at a time.
Paranoia was starting to form in me, and so as many other Filipinos. But what really made me restless was the part when the government announced that there would be a lockdown in Metro Manila, which means all mode of transportation whether by land, sea or air would be cancelled.
At that very day, when the news of lockdown hovered the media, my mom was in Roxas City in Panay Island. What if her flight would be cancelled and she’d be trapped there until all these are over? What do I do? These thoughts started to bother me.
Maybe for most people, being away or being separated from their parents isn’t really a big deal especially when they are already adults and are financially independent. But it’s different in my case.
Yes, I am an adult— a 30-year-old adult man to be exact. And yes, I am financially independent. But I am not like any other adult. I am impaired. I am quadriplegic because my C4 and C5 vertebrae were severely damaged in a very awful accident more than a decade ago.
(Read full life story here https://www.virtualahan.com/im-quadriplegic/)
I could not do things normal people do. I can’t eat on my own, take a bath on my own, or even go to the comfort room on my own. I am totally dependent to my parents who are my hands and feet to survive. And if my mom would be trapped in Capiz, my dad and I would be left helpless here in Pampanga.
Apart from the lockdown, another fact bothered me. My mom would be taking a flight from Capiz to Manila and for sure she would pass through the airports. We all know that people who have travel histories, especially airport exposures, are prone to contract the virus. I was afraid, worried and restless.
My restlessness was hushed when my mom finally arrived Friday night, just before the Sunday Metro Manila lockdown. It was a sigh of relief knowing that the two important people in my life are with me in this crisis.
But that relief did not take long. It was taken over by another set of fears and anxieties when I heard the news on the growing cases and death tolls in the US and Italy, and now here in the Philippines.
What if I’d contract the virus? What if my parents get it? It would definitely mean death for me. I can’t be quarantined alone or be isolated on my own. I couldn’t even move my body and I can barely move my hand. It got me thinking that crisis like this is not easy for people with disabilities like me. Those who would take care of me would have greater risks because they need to do close contact.
For several nights, I had difficulty sleeping. And when I could find sleep, I’d wake up in the middle of the night grasping for breath. I had panic attacks because all these pandemic chaos is getting to my nerves. I panicked. I had anxiety for days. I couldn’t work effectively with my online tasks. All my thoughts were driven to the ongoing global scare.
I sought the internet to find good news that could lift heavy clouds of fears and anxieties hovering me. I tried to look for positivity in the internet. I read articles of recovery of virus-positive patients, cure and possible medicines made by scientists, and normalization of lives in other countries that were strongly hit by the virus. But social media is swarmed with bad news about the pandemic and political feuds. And then again my brain is adulterated with negativity and worsened my panic attacks.
I came to my senses and decided to do measures to address my breakdown and consciously decided to limit my social media access to avoid negative vibes. I added more time in watching Netflix movies, feel-good Youtube videos, and Bible reading to uplift my dampened spirit.
Little by little, my gray clouds turned white and realized that worrying won’t change the circumstances I am in. What I can do is look at the sunshine in this circumstance and be grateful to God for this life, and my family’s life.
Everyday is a struggle and the future is uncertain but we find strength in God to fight our daily battles, and trust Him that all will be alright in time.
To other PWDs like me, let’s hang on. This lockdown should not bring us down, but lift us up in prayer.
Virtualahan Batch 14
Virtualahan Coach 2018-present