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I'm Not Ready to Open Up

By Matt Cavallo

Self-quarantining and social distancing have become our “new normal” but at times it can feel like being trapped in a cage. Humans are social animals and being cut off from social activities can lead to depression, anxiety and other mental health concerns for both adults and children. 

My boys, who are 12 and 10, are feeling the effects of social distancing. They wanted to finish the school year with their friends and play on their sports teams. Zoom meetings are just not a substitute for human contact. I am feeling it, too, however, I am accustomed to and capable of working from home. I love hanging out with my wife and kids. We are doing more family activities together at home now than we did amid our busy, non-quarantined life. Most importantly we are safe.

I know not everyone is like me, though. Many people do not have the luxury of working from home or worse, have been laid off or temporarily furloughed from their job. Others are just craving that ability to rejoin society. Whether the pressure is economic or isolation, people are restless. My wife and I watched the news clips over Memorial Day weekend showcasing crowded beaches, packed lakes and people dancing on bar tables all across America. Under normal circumstances, these images would not be newsworthy. After all, this should be the time of year for beach trips, barbeques, and celebrations. But given how the world has changed, is it worth the risk?

For me, the answer is simple: No.The fear of COVID-19 has not dissipated. I don’t want to take the risk right now. I am going to stay in my house when possible and abide by the Centers for Disease Control guidelines for social distancing and wearing a mask until instructed otherwise.

For you, the circumstances may be different. I understand and respect that you may have a different viewpoint, too. You have to do what is best for you. I just implore you to be safe. Remember, there is a lot of misinformation out there on the Internet. Talk to your doctor or your neurologist about specific precautions that a person with MS should take before re-emerging from quarantine. Put your trust in the healthcare system and the health organizations that provide guidance based on science. And remember to thank all the front-line workers for their sacrifice during this historical time. We will return and will be smarter and stronger than before. Stay safe everyone.