Take a deep breath, Victoria. The trauma of past lockdowns is still there, but so is our bravery | Melbourne

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Everyone right to go?

Take a deep breath.

Not of the infected air. Don’t breathe that, obviously. Inside, masked-up breaths only. Try not to breathe on anyone else when you exhale.

Take a deep, safe breath.

Dan is yelling on the TV. “This is different,” he yells. He means the virus is different. I have no scientific knowledge of viruses whatsoever but I won’t let that stop me: this one is worse. Faster, I think. Bigger? Meaner? I can’t hear what he’s saying about the virus being different because everything else is exactly the same. The suit. The rules. The fines.

A great pounding drum in my chest goes, the-same the-same. How about yours?

Do you know what happens when you’re traumatised? Your brain changes. Your body can feel things even if you’re not remembering them. Even if you block it out. How were you when Dan got up in his suit today? I didn’t even feel sad until after I realised I was already crying.

Deep breath. But not near any nebulisers, please. Unless you need one to stay alive, in which case, all the best.

How were your days going before this? I was just getting out of bed and putting on clothes and doing work! Not stopping to watch even one single press conference. I had almost forgotten what it was like to speculate on how much sleep the premier has been getting, or who that English man is. Nearly!

I had nearly, nearly forgotten what it was like to be in lockdown. Don’t worry, though. My body remembered.

Deep breath. Also, consider rationing your breathing. Two breaths in, one breath out. Limit the spread of the virus by hyperventilating at home before you go to the supermarket for essentials only.

Did you cram in enough outside activities to get you through until hopefully-but-maybe-not-Wednesday? Of course you haven’t. You’ve been conserving your energy in case you need to loudly panic for an unspecified number of days in a row.

But lockdown is easy. Just stay inside your home, if you have one, and eat food, if you have any. You got this. Someone on the internet said it, so it must be true. They’ve never been in lockdown but they had a friend who went to Victoria in the 90s so they understand. It’s only five days. You got this!!

Do you know what your brain does when you’ve been through trauma? It reacts as though you’re in danger. When Dan Andrews stands at a lectern, your brain can think you’re at risk.

Remember when we were allowed to go to playgrounds again? My kids don’t even go on slides any more but I borrowed someone else’s and listened to them laughing on the swings. It was like medicine. Like a vaccine. You know vaccines? They’re a kind of announcement you can make over and over without ever actually doing anything.

Deep breath. No but seriously, take one. Take 10. Sing loudly. Do an enthusiastic dance. Lie on the floor. Feel the weight of the world simultaneously crush and comfort you.

Everyone right to go? Like, as far away as possible? Everyone right to go to the bottom of the ocean?

We’re doing so well. The numbers are still low. The man on the TV says we’re the only place in the world that’s come out of a second wave. All it cost us was our ability to watch a press conference without having a trauma response.

Deep breath, Victoria. Right into your toes. The trauma of past lockdowns is in there but so are you, pushing bravely on.

Five days is no time at all. You can make lasagne that takes more than five days. It’s a flash in the pan. Sometimes it takes longer than five days to return a text message. And anyway, the tennis is on!

Hafta Ichi
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: Take a deep breath, Victoria. The trauma of past lockdowns is still there, but so is our bravery | Melbourne

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