I can’t be the only one who has lost track of time

telegraph.co.uk By Bryony Gordon
I knocked over a glass of water the other day. It was the kind of thing I do quite regularly and laugh off as clumsiness, but this time it sent me into a full-scale existential crisis. As I watched the cup roll on to its side and the water pour over the floor, I realised I had let out a scream. I stormed into the garden and found myself howling at a tree.

And as I howled at that tree, it occurred to me that I felt exactly as I do just before I get my period. How strange, I thought – my period had finished just the other day, so there was no way this could be PMS. What, exactly, was wrong with me? Had I finally completely lost it?

A little later, after I had calmed down and mopped up the water, I looked on my ovulation app just to check. And there, much to my surprise, I discovered I had not, actually, finished my period just the other day – in fact, my period had finished over three weeks ago. The next day it arrived, right on time, with me scratching my head as to where the previous three weeks had gone.

If I appear to not be making any sense, then let me explain: I have realised, during lockdown, that time has become an almost abstract construct. I am aware that it is there, but I am not necessarily paying any attention to it. Entire weeks seem to have flown by in the blink of an eye, while at the same time feeling interminably dull and boring. I could never have imagined these two things could both be true in tandem until lockdown – but then, I could never have imagined lockdown at all a few months ago.

And speaking of a few months ago… Well, before coronavirus (BC) feels like several millennia ago, even if it was actually this year. I know it is factually true that I went skiing in February – I can even see it in my diary. It’s just that in my head, I am sure I actually went skiing in February 1996. Or perhaps even a parallel universe. It’s as if my brain is in two entirely different, but eerily similar, places at exactly the same time. And it is confused. Very, very confused.

One minute I am actually enjoying lockdown and the opportunity to shut out the world, the next I am climbing the walls. Does anyone else feel this? Like they are slowly – but also, quite quickly – going completely mad, or at the very least into a sort of strange catatonic state? I suspect so.

I read the other day that most people have stopped setting alarms, those wake-up calls that we all dreaded for so long. But if only two months ago I felt imprisoned by the rigorous nature of my diary, now I yearn for the structure it gave to my days. All the things I thought to be true about myself have turned out to be completely false. I need a rigid timetable, or else I become quite stupefied, with only the monthly cycle of my body to remind me that actually, entire weeks have passed without me knowing.

I never thought I’d write this, but as recent times have proved, you should never say never. So here goes: come back, alarm clock! I miss you!

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