Living a different life

By Kerri-ann Messenger

Since COVID-19 has become a huge part of how we live our lives now, I would like to tell you how I have been feeling. For my part I feel afraid and you probably feel the same way too. But I do believe we will all come out together at the other end okay. 

I find I fear touching anything and I am confused about when I should wash my hands rather than use hand sanitiser. I have done both so many times that I had to go to the doctor to get cream for my hands. My skin was getting very dry and before long would begin to crack, due to frequent washing or sanitising.  

I know I’ve changed since the pandemic began. Now I find I am extremely anxious, fearful and confused. I don’t go anywhere for fear of becoming infected, too. I think these feelings are made worse by repeated updates and warnings being shown on television all the time. My parents try to keep as much as they can away from me.

Thankfully, I have come to live with my parents again because of COVID-19. My parents are getting older and should not be going out into public areas unless they really need to for food shopping and things like medical appointments. They brought me home so we could look after each other, until this awful virus is over. In a way, it was to make life easier for staff at my house and that means that staff can give more time to care for my house mates, as some don’t have other homes to go to.

Living with my parents is not always the easiest thing after living away for 12 years. We have our own routines that we are used to. We have developed our own daily routines over the years since I moved away. I have my own bedroom at my parents place but it is not the same. At my house, my bedroom is my comfort zone, and I can go there to listen to my music, write my poetry, work on my play, do my university study and watch television, whenever I want to. 

But my routine is not like that at my parents’ place. Even though I have my own bedroom here I like to sit in the dining room and kitchen area to do these things.  It can be a pretty busy place with them ringing to check that family and friends are well, and cooking meals – ordinary daily life. I like my parents around me because I feel less afraid.

Because of COVID-19 we have to stay at home, and away from others, which means activities like going out to work, travelling on public transport, exercise classes, attending university and even visiting family members. One big disappointment caused by travel restrictions meant Mum and I had to cancel our holiday in Cairns where my brother and his family live. I miss them so much and talking on the phone is just not enough sometimes. The virus has changed all our lives but we have to stay positive and enjoy what we have to keep us busy, and safe, until the world goes back to normal.

It is my birthday in a couple of weeks and I usually celebrate with work mates, family, and my house mates. This year it will be a very quiet time. Does that mean that I get double next year? I hope so. 

Stay safe, follow the rules and we will get there okay.


Kerri-ann Messenger lives in Minda accommodation at Reynella, but is staying with her parents John and Yvonne through this challenging time. The successful higher education student has previously authored a book chapter for Sydney University and shares her thoughts on the Coronavirus pandemic in the hope of helping others.