To me basically, it hasn’t changed my life, what it has done is I talk to people, I don’t see them, I talk to them, I am at home and they are somewhere else. So, we don’t sit in the same consulting room together. I use different platforms (phone, skype, zoom) but what happens is as a result I am more tired at the end of the day and less satisfied, that’s for me as a therapist.
For me as a person, it doesn’t make any difference, which I have always known, I love my own company. My joke about it is, I like talking to interesting people and that is why I keep talking to myself. It hasn’t changed for me at all. But I will say one other thing, of my patients, many have (maybe it is partly my help) benefited, benefited greatly from the COVID-19. To just give one example, a woman who a few years ago left her husband, then she was in a relationship with another man and this guy wanted a lot of her time and basically to be with her all the time, but she did not want to, and she had difficulties asserting her right to say “…look I am happy to continue a relationship with you but I want to see you only once or twice a week, not more than that.” Come Corona and she now can say to him “no”, Corona has given her the strength to say “no” and she now can use “Corona” as the reason or the excuse. A number of other people who prefer their own company and feel guilty at asserting their right to be alone now can say it with much more ease.
It is wonderful news for the introverts! Introverts want to sit and read books, extroverts want to talk, to go and talk to everybody. Let me conceptualise it differently. I wanted to produce for you a one-liner “Corona is a gift for the introvert”.
Now I will put it another way, let me conceptualize. A number of people experience Corona as a gift and why amongst other things, what happened is basically they dictate to the world is, what’s the key word with Corona, “social distancing” when you are required to observe distance it means you have more time to yourself. Now in a world in which we live, a child in Australia, a boy who goes to school but likes reading books or played the piano or the violin is given a bad time in Australia. Now, to be isolating we have lots of words for people who are not team players, who want to do individual things, they are loners, a loner is a loser, and a loser is a loner. We live in a society in which the person who are more reflective, the person who values their own company, loves music, the person who also does their own thing is the minority. You see I am a crusader against psychology, what does psychology strive to achieve – better adjustment in the world. What is adjustment? Is it conforming? that you will be in a way like everybody else. A person may to “stay a child”, or a person where “social obligations are difficult”. Corona has given us permission, more than permission, now you are a good citizen, you get a medal for observing social isolation and being non-conformist.
Now to those of us, who like to listen to Bach’s music or read, or if you want to read ‘War and Peace’ it takes a very long time – you can. Quite a number of social obligations that I had before, I am free from them now, I have more time for myself and that is good.