Day 174 - TGIF
Ok, I am kinda kidding. Can one still be relieved it is Friday when you haven’t left your house all week?
Am I really looking forward to two days that have absolutely no structure whatsoever?
I can’t go anywhere or do anything so why am I looking forward to it?
Last weekend still felt like a somewhat normal weekend. I went on a couple of hikes with friends. I went out grocery shopping. I did things. This weekend, there are no plans and I haven’t been hiking in a week...My world feels suddenly small and I have to admit I am kind of afraid of enlarging it.
While my days are much less active and stressful than they used to be, I don’t feel relieved. I do not feel like “whew, so enjoying my down time.” My activity and stress level have been replaced with this constant and all consuming dread of becoming ill, of people I love or care about becoming ill and doing everything I can do not get ill. While it is not all I think about, it is this screen saver in the backdrop of my life that keeps pushing itself to the forefront. Then it takes me a little while to get it to the background again.
I have to admit, I feel a little lost. I can’t really embrace my new normal because I am trying to handle my old normal remotely. Work is busy just with new things that I am trying to keep up with every day and every day it changes. I am trying to get enough rest, exercise (I am failing hard here), decent food (does eating a bag of heirloom popcorn for dinner count as good?), supplements, contact with others, down time. All of it is kind of overwhelming me if I am honest.
At 6 pm every night, I kind of collapse on the couch and zone out to TV for four hours and then wash my face and go to sleep. It is all that I am managing right now. I feel kind of like I am bracing for something that I can’t fathom yet. Completely held captive by the new while a part of me is still tethered to the old. I am in some sort of other world that is neither here nor there. I said the other day, Swallowed by the new, but it really feels more like I am stuck in new’s throat...
I keep telling myself and anyone else who will listen that life is always like this, constantly changing and morphing before my eyes. This is really not new, it is just new to me, to us. Our minds have not been able to create a storyline that fits our new reality fast enough to make us feel safe. Most of the time, that knowledge brings me comfort...a lot of time, it doesn’t.
I keep trying to figure what I lack right now. I have contact - I have a person I can hug and touch and be in the same room with...I have food, even crappy, comfort food that makes me feel better, I have the ability to go outside even if I am not exercising it. I still have a job. I have meaningful work. I have writing and online meetings. My family is healthy for the moment. Nothing is really wrong but I can’t seem to really believe that which leaves me feeling a bit lost and out of sorts.
I think what I am really feeling is magnitude of my life. That I am really responsible for it. It was easy to blame my lack of focus and discipline on my schedule before but now it has become clear to me that I am the architect of my own malaise. I am the one that is not using my time wisely. I am not reading or doing projects or cleaning up clutter or really doing much of anything. I am living this trauma reaction every day and while I am sustaining, it isn’t really living.
I feel a lot like I did when I was evacuated during the Thomas fire. I was kind of in the same place, you couldn’t really go anywhere because there was ash raining down everywhere so being outside was not really possible, you didn’t want to shop because you had no idea whether you would have a home to go back to, work was kind of in limbo as the whole community scurried around trying to avoid the fire, while living through the daily reports of friends and family that lost everything. I was confined to my hotel room because I had all of our pets with us and couldn’t really leave them alone in the hotel room...so I kind of felt like somebody pushed the slow motion button on my life, I was doing all the things I was supposed to do but they seemed to take an incredibly long time to get done and before I really had the chance to get my day started, it was over and I was completely spent.
I am there again. I do not want to be here but I am.
I am grappling with my inability to really take charge here. I want to enjoy my life. I want to really soak it in and up but there is this part of my mind that is distracted constantly by the virus and the numbers and what new fresh hell we are being told today. It is like I have a mental leak...there is all this energy being bled off and I can’t find the source of the leak so I am just having to live with the reduced flow and output.
So that is where I am today. I am happy it is Friday because I want to use this weekend to reset myself. To do some spiritual work to really address my current leaky dynamic and find some energy to change it. I never knew how much energy the constant and unrelenting evaluation of my current health would drain me. I didn’t realize how much I am living with this constant and unavoidable sense of impending doom. Sure my attitude is positive and I am feeling the love, but there is this other darker thing happening inside my head that I keep feeling the need to hide...the constant worry that I am ill.
I now evaluate every headache, every muscle pain, every sneeze, every hot flash as evidence that I have the virus. There are moments where I am sure that I do, followed (so far anyway) by further evidence that I am fine. Then there is this complete mind fuck where I think what if I do have the virus but I have such mild symptoms that I don’t even know it...how am I to ever figure out when I can go outside again if I am not sure when the symptoms even started. Then I convince myself that I am fine but I would be a liar not to admit that there isn’t this part of me wondering all the time what is really going on.
The simple fix would be to take a test but, oh yeah, we don’t have enough tests so we can’t really know if we are sick unless the signs are readily apparent and even then we can’t test because there aren’t enough tests to go around...
And so begins the loop again. AAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
So just for today, I am going to be grateful it is Friday. I am going to be happy that I have a weekend with nothing to do and I am going to do my best to redirect my schedule so that I feel like I have some semblance of control over my life...even though I know I really don’t. I am going to take this time that I am being given and spend time doing the things that I always say I want to do: work on my book, read, walk in nature. What are you going to do with your time? I guess we are all getting a lesson in “what would happen if you were given all the time you needed to do the things you always said you were going to do if you had the time?” And seems as though I am getting the lesson that I really can't handle being given what I have said that I always wanted...
For me, today, it appears that I am going to do everything I can to avoid my current reality and instead sit idly in front of the TV for hours at a time....AND try to do something a little different while having compassion for where I am right now as I know it could be so much worse.
Happy Friday! You remember Friday, it was the day you used to pray for all week...