An inside look at how Covid impacted my life
14 December 2020
BY BRAIS DACAL
Eight endless months have gone by since that mid-March afternoon in Spain when we were fairly forced to stay home for fifteen days; later, for another fifteen days and so on, gradually going back to the streets in May.
It seems like we’ve been living with this new scenario for years. Don’t you have the same feeling? Yet, in the end, it’s just been eight months. Nevertheless, life has completely changed for almost everyone and I’m not an exception to that fact.
Since the end of 2012, my life had consisted of a mix of bikes and planes, constant traveling and relentless activity. My suitcase became my inseparable mate in a journey that has taken me to the five continents representing our team’s mission to inspire, educate and empower everyone affected by diabetes.
We made big plans for 2020 back at January’s training camp in the South-East of Spain. It included a few new countries where I had never been. It was the perfect feeling: the normal being as exciting as the extraordinary.
In early March, my baggage and mindset were ready to attend the upcoming adventure with type 1 kids in the UAE. But only a few days before the trip, the event got postponed and I found myself trapped in a home lockdown.
Never in our lives would I have thought that we could face a situation like this. That perfect feeling I mentioned earlier turned into the strangest: we knew it was necessary to be locked down, but we were somehow living in a very peculiar prison.
We all can picture a real prison with its physical barriers, guards and walls. But prisons can be mental too. This nation-wide lockdown became more of a mental jail for many, not knowing when we could be free again and what to do from that point on.
The first couple days seemed unbelievable. In Spain, we could only leave home to go to the closest supermarket or the pharmacy. No work, no friends, no traveling. The shock was hard: ‘how long will we have to live like this?’
But there was no other option rather than accepting the whole newness and a
dapting our lifestyle. It was for a good reason: preserving everyone’s health and lives. It was a strong enough meaning to take the next step and make that effort.
I quickly found the way to stay busy and distracted. I reorganized my work and caught up with forever-undone old tasks. I adapted my workouts to the indoor. I got back in touch with friends whom I hadn’t spoken in a long time. I rested. I thought.
It was the best way to face that physical and mental ‘imprisonment’, but it was far from being a wonderland. For someone as social as me, used to be here today and thousands of miles away tomorrow, that was not the place where I wanted to be.
We went through the lockdown as best as possible. Not only a strong mindset helped: it was key to be open about my feelings in general. The good thing about mental prisons is that we are just one step away from the path to freedom by simply reaching out.
Suddenly restrictions gradually lifted, and I was lucky to get lots of national traveling since the end of June. It was not the same, but it was something. I had a bittersweet feeling in the background of my mind, but it also felt like I was going back to normal.
It’s still hard for me to think of all the people I used to see and get to know anywhere in the world and now I don’t; how many new adventures and places I’ve missed and all the plans that have come undone.
But I’m also confident knowing that this will be over. We’ll get back to our regular lifestyle, we’ll hug and laugh with our loved ones and we’ll catch up with all the plans and goals we have set in our lives.
Meanwhile we need to stay strong. It’s our responsibility to avoid the virus to keep spreading, and make sure that our loved ones are not living in their own mental prison. And remember: if you are living in it yourself, reach out. In the distance, there’s always someone there to listen, guide and support you. We’re all in this together.
New horizons are opening up and I’m sure that sooner than later we’ll be changing diabetes everywhere in the world again, being it by racing bikes or by meeting up with our diabetes friends. Be safe, stay strong, and see you soon!