Monday, January 18, 2021

Is Cabin Fever Solitary Confinement?

November 9, 2020 by  
Filed under Health, News, Opinion, Weekly Columns

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( The other day my wife–as I was watching TV–burst inside our bedroom and yelled “I’m sick and tired of being confined to this house. I need to get the hell out of this house. I’m sick and tired of the pandemic. I’m sick and tired of the face masks. I’m sick and tired of the rubber gloves. I’m even getting sick and tired of YOU and the KIDS. And, then she burst into uncontrollable tears; shielding her face with her hands as she did so.

Wordlessly, I cast my eyes upward to stare at her. Perhaps she was having a breakdown, an emotional collapse. Yes, maybe she was at her breaking point. I knew that this was a tender moment. I had to be careful. She appeared to be on the brink of breakdown. I knew that she wanted me to reassure her that everything would turn out okay. And, she wanted me to promise her that our children would be able to safely return to school. And, that our children’s education, if ever again interrupted, then we would home school our offspring. And she wanted me to guarantee her that if/when this pandemic is no more, our children would also be as healthy as a horse or better yet, strong as an ox and wise as an owl.

black man COVID

I felt powerless, impotent. I’m not doctor. However, I could not—in good conscience—promise a vow that I knew I would not be able to wholeheartedly ascertain. She would never forgive me if things were to suddenly go south. I believe that she had reached her breaking point. That said, I am fully aware of the harsh similarities between Cabin Fever and Solitary Confinement. But, for my family, it was more like a culture shock. The entire ordeal began to sicken those of whom were most dear to me. I felt helpless, almost hapless.

I’ve viewed, firsthand, the remnants of those who spent too much time in solitary confinement. Their symptoms were the same: fear, anxiety, stress, uneasiness, hair loss, uncertainty, mistrust, paranoia, high blood pressure, violent outburst, and the like.

Personally, I have viewed more caskets, more urns, and most definitely more cages than an undertaker who moonlights in an active war zone. Imagine residing in the midst of millions of cemetery minded, animalistic barbarians. In the early years, we were called puppies; you know, DOGS; but, small dogs. And, that was okay because, in truth, our BARKS were actually BIGGER than our bites. Consequently, the powers that be locked countless of us in these small, miniature cages that resembled dog Kennels. But, I guess that shouldn’t be too surprising for a system that “LOST” its way.

As we aged, the symptoms worsened. We had become so sinisterly sick that the prisons morphed into crazy hospitals and/or insane asylums. You couldn’t tell one from the other. Many inmates adopted animalistic instincts and barbaric behaviors. They bit, scratched, fought, stabbed, and sometimes slayed their prison mates over items such as sardines, cans of tuna fish, or some other miniscule item.

Staff Writer; Saint Solomon



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One Response to “Is Cabin Fever Solitary Confinement?”
  1. Pelvo White, Jr. says:

    I am a master at keeping my distance from other people. Some people thought that I was just a cold , frigid guy, but this wasn’t true. I just enjoyed my privacy. I learned to mind my own business by studying and practicing Zen Buddhism while living in Fairbanks, Alaska for approximately eight years. Fairbanks is about one hundred and ninety-eight miles from the Arctic Circle. In this part of Alaska are wild animals, earthquakes, tundra fires and volcanoes. I experienced many spring breakups, summers, and falls which are warm and comfortable. and snow packed winters in” Magna Terra” ( i.e. the great land ). The springs and summers are comfortable, and allowed for out of doors activities like fishing, hiking, panning for gold, and searching for jade. The winters were long and dark and freezing cold. In time,your body adjusts to wearing only a field jacket outside for brief periods of time when it was fifty below zero. I experienced six months of daylight and six months of darkness. In spring, summer,and fall the sun sat for about an hour and it was day again. The sun shined at midnight and at twelve noon. You had to create your own artificial darkness in your bedroom by placing sheets of aluminum foil at your windows. In winter, you spend many hours inside. You get up in the morning and it is dark, You go to work and work all day and it is dark. You come home from work to eat your supper and it is still dark. In winter it is dark all day and all night. In a situation like this you must find ways to fight ” cabin fever ” which is a troublesome state of mind encountered by some people after long periods of being alone. Loneliness is more acute during the winter months when your field of vision is comprised of visions of the aurora borealis, walls of ice fog, various peaks of white snow, an occasional bull and or cow moose, and packs of big, powerful wolves.

    The Zen Buddhist proclaims ” I sat before a blank wall and came away enlightened .”The combined sameness of Alaska rural living in time tends to create a boring blank wall. The logic here is that if there is nothing more to read or observe on the blank wall, the mind, or your attention, turns inward. Through introspection, interesting learning begin to happen when one cognitively explore the space and content of their own stored thoughts. I can envision myself making a tall lamp out of a length of beautiful diamond willow tree. I can stroll and admire the beautiful contrast of white and gold displayed by the tall birch trees in fall. The mind is a wonderful celestial car with which you can experience the present or go backwards or forward in time. The expanses of three dimensional space and time are yours to experience and re-experience time and time again.You can sit and plan how to clean your house, envision how you will do it, and then get up and begin cleaning according to your plan. Growth and true enlightenment comes when you are able to analyze your thoughts with a mind towards improving you mind. From your COVID-19 confinement, while devoid of personal contacts, think about the face of your mother, your father, your sister or your brother, your children, your school teacher, or other acquaintances. Envision your creation of artworks.

    Converse mentally with a friend. Remember and re-enjoy your party at the lake or that time when you caught the big salmon. The mind is a wonderful celestial car with which you may zoom backwards in time or forward in time. You can use your mind to picture it all, the flight over the Pacific Ocean, the cruise ship on the Caribbean Sea, the mountainous, winding road across the Brooks Range down the hills and through the Matanuska-Susitna Valley all the way to Anchorage. From the confines of your home, mentally imagine your activities today, what you did yesterday, and will do tomorrow. Practice and learn the value of your mind by repeating these fascinating mental exercises.

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