How to survive a quarantine and not go crazy: advice from the trenches J. D. Salinger

Already millions of Russians are forced to stay at home in order to stop the further spread of the epidemic. Someone in the country, someone in a city apartment… And there are those who are ready to hide from the coronavirus in the underground mazes. How to cope with claustrophobia attacks if you are alone with yourself in a closed room? Recommendations of experienced “recluses”.

In fact, a person is able to maintain cheerfulness and interest in life even in the most space-constrained circumstances.
Seraphim of Sarov, for example, voluntarily went into prison and stayed in seclusion, avoiding personal meetings with people, for 15 years. And some monks of Pskov-Pechersk and Kiev-Pechersk monasteries settled in small underground cells, and even asked to wall the entrance so that there was only a small window for the transfer of food.

Of course, there may be objections from skeptics: what is the use of using people of fanatical faith as a model?! We live in the world and are used to it!
Then let’s turn to the “worldly” examples and talk to those Muscovites who do not easily lose those who are studying the cave systems near Moscow.
At the time, the correspondent of “MK” had a chance to visit some of the caves-quarries in the company of the famous spelestologist Mikhail S. and his colleagues. It was during these excursions that it became clear how differently a person can perceive the surrounding conditions. 
I’m not used to it after a couple of hours of climbing the caves began to “put pressure on the psyche” of these low arches, narrow passages and very narrow places of manholes-“skurodery”. And my companions felt here in the literal sense of the word “home”.
Judging by their stories, some very enthusiastic SPELESTOLOGY even willing to spend under the ground day and night. And this is “a question of autosuggestion and psychological discipline: do not panic, calm yourself, make your mind understand that nothing terrible is happening.”
And, indeed, when I saw a tent of bright parachute silk stretched out in the middle of a stone bag. Next to it, on large hewn stones, there is a “refectory” – there are cans, mugs, guttered candles, and a small Primus is perched in a corner. And colored balloons are suspended above the makeshift table. I immediately began to have fun: you can live! And fun to live!
I was told that this is the home of one of the regulars. Food, charged batteries, and fuel have to be delivered “from above”, but the water is local. In some places in the nooks and crannies of the cave system, there are areas of faces with a lower bottom, where water accumulates. Some of these major reservoirs SPELESTOLOGY gave their own names – “Lake Francis”, “Pacific ocean”. The last one was about three meters long and one and a half meters wide. The “sea of Franz”, however, is several times larger. But the depth of these waters is very small: only ten centimeters. Swimming here, of course, will not be possible, but it is quite possible to collect water for household needs. And if you give inanimate objects names, then somehow use them more fun.
Well, how long can you last in such Spartan conditions? – It turned out that “dives” for a couple of days, quite ordinary business. But on new year’s holidays, some people not only meet the new year’s holiday itself in the dungeon, but also “hang” in these mazes for 5-6 days.

By the way, the climatic conditions there underground are quite suitable by tourist standards. The temperature is always about 8 degrees Celsius. In addition, the caves are naturally well-ventilated. So in any prison, a comfortable temperature and fresh air-consider it half the battle!
According to spelestologists, there was a case when one of their young colleagues in the hobby because of some conflicts with her parents, she moved to a cave for housing. In the morning, she would get out into the world and go to the Institute to study, and in the evening, she would return to her underground “Fazenda”. This went on for days.
I guess that the vast majority of readers will be horrified by this recipe for self-isolation. Here in your own apartment,you don’t know how to survive for several days among four narrow walls!
After the above story about “mansions” – quarries, it is appropriate to listen to the recommendations of a specialist to combat claustrophobia attacks.
This pathological fear of “pressing” closed space is quite common. And in the current conditions of apartment self-isolation, it can be experienced by a much larger number of our fellow citizens.
Therapist Raisa Lutovinova recommends that if you experience similar sensations to use simple techniques:
“If you are suddenly “pressed” by walls and this causes bouts of anxiety, irritation, and maybe even fear, use, for example, the method of muscle relaxation. To do this, you need to close your eyes and alternately strain individual parts of the body, starting with the hands. – Forearms and hands, shoulders, neck area, upper torso, hip and calf muscles… Each such muscle tension should last 5-7 seconds. Relaxation will come naturally.
Another method of relieving the psychological tension that arises when you are in a confined space is to switch your attention to details. Focus on looking at the seemingly familiar details of the room-Wallpaper pattern, and texture.

A good calming, distracting, tonic “medicine” can also be a call to a friend. If you can, talk to someone close and familiar on the phone. It is best not to dwell on existing problems, but to touch on “outsiders” that are pleasant to both of you.
It is also useful to engage in self-analysis: list first what specifically annoys you, does not suit you in this situation, and then make a list of the “pros” that you have: you are healthy, well – fed, warm, safe… you Can do this in writing-count the “pros” and “cons” on a piece of paper. In any case, it turns out that the overall balance is positive. And stating this fact will also help to cope with the attack of phobia and irritation.
And for those who will have to endure self-isolation, we remind you that there are several dozen caves on the territory of the Moscow region. Among the experts, many of them have their own names (usually after the name of the nearest village or village) – Silicates, Syrians, Kissels, Volodars… all these are artificial underground cavities. They arose many years ago as a result of the work on the extraction of white stone. Our great-grandfathers pulled blocks cut out of solid monoliths underground and sent them to Moscow and other cities to build houses and temples, while underground there were labyrinths of tunnels, connecting galleries and faces.
Quarries have long been abandoned, the entrances to most of them are blown up or blocked, but this does not stop fans of underground travel and adventure – spelestologists, who still get inside through the excavated manholes. The efforts of these enthusiasts explored many corners of the dungeons. The size of this “pedestrian metro” is impressive. For example, the length of one of the longest systems – the Ulyanovsk one-is more than 20 km.


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