I’m Starting to Lose It with Social Distancing

Jen Cueva avatar

by Jen Cueva |

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Have y’all had times during this self-quarantine when you’ve lost it? If so, you’re not alone.

Last week, my husband was home from work all week. He was feeling achy and had chills for several days, which was far from normal. Thankfully, he did not have a high fever. But because of emergency stents that were placed back in November, we were concerned, along with his doctor. They suggested he be tested for COVID-19.

Of course, I couldn’t go with him. When they called him to schedule a test, he was provided specific instructions about where to go and how to proceed. From what he told me, I am grateful that it was a designated area for testing, not where they care for positive COVID-19 patients. That said, it does not sound similar to the friendly environment that we typically experience at doctors’ appointments.

My husband described the test as “torture,” adding that “they stick that Q-tip up to your brain.” I have also heard from several others who had the COVID-19 test, and they typically agree.

And the waiting began.

Naturally, he was sent home and provided specific instructions on self-isolating for at least 72 hours while we waited for the results. Waiting is always the worst part of anything, don’t y’all agree? One would think that after dealing with PH for over 15 years, we would be experts at this waiting game. I believe that I had much more patience with my patients while working in nursing.

Although we already were practicing social distancing, his self-isolation became more difficult. Because we already were distancing from our daughter and “son-in-love,” it all began to take a toll on my psyche. As my husband slept in another room, I did not have the comfort of lying next to each other. Additionally, he took Sasha, our mini schnauzer, with him.

I lost it. That night, I cried alone in my bed until I fell asleep. Then, I woke up almost every hour and looked at the clock.

I don’t know about y’all, but I am not a fan of this social-distancing trend. I am a hugger and talk to everyone that I meet. Dealing with not seeing my daughter weekly for our outings has been tough. In person, I could receive her hugs and touch her face. This is not comparable to any FaceTime call.

Are you craving physical touch?

Research shows that humans need physical touch. Greater Good‘s executive editor, Dacher Keltner, talks about how physical touch brings us emotional balance and well-being. This is the reason that social distancing and self-isolation are affecting my emotional and physical health. It’s almost like a Catch-22. I self-isolate to protect my health, but at the same time, it’s detrimental to my mental health.

My husband’s test eventually came back negative, for which I am grateful, and he is feeling better. Despite that, I realize that my emotional health is suffering as social distancing continues. To cope, I look for ways to keep busy and help to lift others. Although I cannot hug and touch my family and friends, I can talk to them and try to help boost their thoughts.

Another way I try to refocus my thoughts are by writing this column. Using the Pulmonary Hypertension News Forums also helped me to talk with others in the PH community and remind them that this will pass. As I converse with them, I often realize that I also need to take these reminders and use them in my own life.

I would like to leave y’all with a quote from Michelangelo: “To touch can be to give life.” I would certainly agree and cannot wait for the world to reopen for more “touching.” I’m sure that most of y’all are ready, too.


Note: Pulmonary Hypertension News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Pulmonary Hypertension News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to pulmonary hypertension.


Ruby Midkiff avatar

Ruby Midkiff

Jen’s articles are always good. Social distancing is hard. I want to see and get a good hug from my son, but he’s in FL. He understands that since I have Pulmonary Hypertension like Jen does, It would be a high risk for me to see any of our family right now. Our daughter has 3 children and live 7 hours away. I’ve heard 3 different doctors on tv say that grandparents won’t be able to safely see their grandchildren for about a year. That breaks my heart. I’ve had a couple of melt downs since this started and another PHriend has had a melt down and probably more PHriends have had them. In other words, for those of us with serious diseases, it is more normal to have a breakdown than not. When you do, go to your coping strategies, music, coloring, lists of things you are thankful, prayer journals, Bible studies, reading a good book, talking to a friend, etc. Having a meltdown may be what you need, but too many may be a bad sign. This is a very difficult time for all of us. We all must find ways to cope that work for us. Thank you, Jen!

Jen Cueva avatar

Jen Cueva

Thank you, Ruby Nan. I appreciate your support each week.

I agree it is challenging to stay away from our loved ones but detrimental to our health. I think that we all need those meltdowns at times. Between that and your other coping mechanisms, it sounds like you have what you need. That and lots of prayers will push us through.

Take care of yourself. I am sending you hugs and prayers.

Rebecca A Talkie avatar

Rebecca A Talkie

I am losing it too with the social distancing. I am stuck in the house with my husband of almost 44 years. He is not a good conversationalist. Everything he is saying to me right now is straight from Facebook and something I have already seen. I miss my kids but mainly my Grandbabies desperately. The younger ones are growing up so fast without me anywhere nearby. ( They live from 9 - 20 min away.) I want to hold them so bad. I am crying almost hysterically every night. If I hear one more "Hollyweird" type say we are all in this together, I think I will scream. Nobody can really do anything for me. I can't walk in this weather, I am sick of sewing and my previous well- hidden ADD won't let me do my genealogy or read for long either. I am a mess.

Jen Cueva avatar

Jen Cueva

Hi Rebecca,
As I mentioned in the forums, I am so sorry that you are having such a difficult time. My heart and thoughts are with you. I am sending you hugs and sunshine from Texas to help boost your mood.

Thanks for reading and take care of yourself,


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