Sunday, April 26, 2020

Blurt

Hi. How are you? It's been a while, and it seems even longer given that we are all living in what feels like an alternate reality. I was thinking a lot yesterday about the last week of normalcy I had, the week of March 9th. I went to a yoga class that Monday morning and my gut told me it was the last time I'd see North End Yoga for a long time. I was right. At work that week I felt awful. Awful. My anxiety was so bad I could barely get anything accomplished, my hands were stinging from the ridiculous amount of hand sanitizer I was using, and I felt like my co-workers were looking at me like I was insane. I made it to Thursday at 5pm and decided I needed to stay home the following day in an attempt to pace myself. I took my laptop home with me and said goodbye to my office thinking it might be a month before I saw it again. It's been six weeks and I'm thinking it's going to be a bit longer still.

Since March 13th I've left my home a total of 11 times: four walks, three grocery store trips, two "just for fun" car rides, one trip to Mike's Pastry, and our outdoor social distancing-themed wedding in East Boston Piers Park last weekend. This is tough, but I consider myself very minimally impacted by Covid-19 and extremely privileged. I have been fortunate enough to keep my job, stay healthy, and safely obtain food. I have access to a variety of virtual fitness classes so I can keep moving. I've kept my weekly appointments with my therapist going via Doxy, and I was able to have a telehealth appointment with my PCP to check in about a (non-Covid) minor health issue. Most of my family members are able to stay home and Doug, while he does have to go out to work everyday, has been able to keep himself safe so far. I feel fortunate. I've made a few charitable donations, done my best to support as many small businesses as I can, and I've signed any and all petitions posted by trusted friends.

That said, I am still feeling a bit... not great. I feel depressed knowing how much others are suffering right now. I feel scared most of the time and am having horrible nightmares. I worry that Doug will be exposed somehow when he's at work. I miss my parents, my brother and sister-in-law, and my sweet nephew. I loved our wedding but I have a tinge of sadness that our friends and families couldn't be there. I'm worried I'll lose my job eventually. I feel angry at Donald Trump. I feel concerned that I'll really REALLY struggle when the stay-at-home advisory changes or ends and I'm expected to leave my home and show up and act like a normal person in professional and social settings again.

How are you? Everyone I talk with agrees this is a roller coaster. One day you feel alright, the next day it's all too much. I am trying my best to try and not feel quite so shaken by the highs and lows. I already know I'll cry at some point this week, feel really really scared at some point this week, feel very pissed off at some point this week, and have moments this week where I feel euphoric. Probably about something I'm eating.

The things that are helping me immensely are:

GUZZLING water and tea, it is obnoxious how many mugs I am going through in a day.

Beam CBD products. I like this and this.

Mindlessly watching old Sex & the City episodes. Like very early SATC. Season Two-ish, nothing complicated with The Russian. Simpler times, very soothing.

Leaving my phone in the living room overnight so I don't immediately wake up and look at the news.

CeraVe's Eczema Creamy Oil because, wow, the skin on my face is loving all this indoor time, but my arms and legs are FREAKING out and so so itchy. I've heard others are having this problem, too? This seems to help.

North End Yoga's livestream classes. I always love NEY, but getting to see a glimpse of the North End out the windows on the screen behind the instructors is immensely comforting to me.

In addition to all of the above, I am easing up on myself in general and I think this is something I might carry with me even when we start to return to "normal" life. I first noticed I was doing this in a class I was taking. An exercise we were doing was killing my lower back, so I modified it and did something else. I told myself, "Well, it's okay to not force myself and grit my teeth. This is a tough time right now and I can let myself do something that feels a bit better."

Then I noticed it when I was putting my makeup on one morning. I hate eyeshadow, so I decided to skip it because, again, this is a tough time and I should ease up on myself a bit. Fine. But hold on a sec, why am I forcing myself to wear eyeshadow and grit my teeth through exercises that kill my lower back even when there is NOT a pandemic outside the window?

I thought a bit more about this and realized there were plenty of things (even greater than fitness and eyeshadow) that I might not bring back into my reality when this is all over simply because I don't like them and they aren't mandatory. If there is a silver lining here at all, I am finding that this great big pause is creating a tiny bit of clarity for me and that it might help me be a bit more mindful and nicer to myself in the future. At least for a little while.

I missed writing here. I liked this space because it was a place to just blurt stuff out and maybe chat with a handful of people about what I'd said. If you're reading this, I hope you're healthy and hanging in there, and I'd love to hear what you're doing to take care of yourself during this. Love you. Bye.




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