I’ve been sitting on these thoughts for weeks, avoiding actually writing them down. The fear that they will somehow add an unmanageable level of reality to this new normal is gripping. My mind is a minefield riddled with trauma response after trauma response.
Living in this time of a global pandemic is hard to get used to, even for me – and I feel like I have trained for this type of crisis my whole life. I was built for this sh*t!! I am a master at survival.
It’s the living part, the staying present and properly processing what I am experiencing so it doesn’t catch me off guard later in life, that I often skip over.
In the first couple weeks I felt comfortable, at ease even – completely at home in a state of hyper-alertness. There was no need to wonder where the danger was, I knew.
Slipping into the role of caregiver was easy. Taking complete control of the household (shopping, cleaning, our over-all exposure to the outside world), and acting as an emotional rock to my husband, adult son, and small child was natural, it happened almost subconscious. I continually told myself I was fine, I didn’t need the same level of support or self-care.
I was wrong, and I wore out quickly.
I am currently laid off, my store closed due to stay-at-home orders. As the general manager I was staying in touch and checking my work email almost daily, now I check maybe once a week.
I slept well for about four days, now my sleep is interrupted and fitful, dripping with the essence of dreams I can’t remember, every night. The dreams always leaving an aftertaste of unease.
I kept my temper for the first couple weeks – then my patience began to run thin. Add in trauma triggers due to current events and the waves of rage, grief, and tears have all come, not necessarily in that order.
Even cooking has become a chore.
The depression is beginning to weigh heavy. The days blend together, the hours evaporate into nothing. I wish I were more productive.
I’ve felt myself becoming tense and irritated by the emotions of others, especially when they need my support – I feel drained. My soul is exhausted.
New memories of a childhood full of abuse, many lost due to trauma – have begun springing to the forefront of my mind. Something that only happens when I am under extreme mental stress.
It dawned on me; I’ve not really got anyone to speak to other than my therapist. Let me rephrase that – I haven’t done a good job of reaching out when I need someone.
Quiet, solitary, withdrawal is also a natural and comfortable place for me to hide in the face of powerlessness. I’ve been doing that a lot.
That’s what I feel. Powerless in this pandemic. Unable to provide for and protect my family in the ways that I am most skilled; I feel vulnerable, scattered, and anxious.
Yeah, this new normal is messing me up a bit. Throwing me off my game.
Showering me in uncertainty: financial, professional, and yes personally too.
Through my processing and pondering I have come to realize that there is opportunity in uncertainty.
I still have personal goals I want to achieve and I now have the time to work on them.
I have a book project I want to work on.
I want to learn how to meditate, I’d like to take a yoga class.
I want to be a teacher to my child, a present and active participant in her growth and discovery of the world. I want to spend time with my husband. All things I can do right now with this precious time.
This pandemic has also put into perspective my priorities when it comes to my work/life balance and the changes I want to make in my life going forward.
My mental illness rearing it’s ugly head during this unprecedented health crisis is giving me chance after chance to learn how my mind works and how I can heal it without the distraction of every day life.
This isn’t going to last forever, even if normal doesn’t get back to the normal we all knew just a few short months ago. It’s an adjustment for many, but I have faith in the collective.
These are opportunities I don’t want to lose. I don’t want to squander this time, as insane as it is, into a dark cloud of depression haunted by the ghosts of my past.
This is a time for rediscovery of self.
So here is to opportunity.
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Please stop by and check out the essential oils that I use for coping and the books that I reference for clarity and understanding as I learn to live with PTSD.
Do you have a hobby? I make homemade cards as part of my self-care routine.
Love & Support 💜💚