I'm going to be real. I've been a bit absent on here the last month because I am not dealing well with this whole Corona Virus thing.
No it's not obvious. I do what I have to do. I might even seem motivated to some of you. I don't lose my sense of humor, I smile for photos, I smile for my daughter, I smile because well? What else can I do? I smile even though inside I feel like I am suffocating and it took me until tonight to figure out why.
See? We are all smiling through some weird stuff right now.
No, it's not that literally thousands of people are dying, that the damn news has a literal "death ticker" that you can watch go up as a new person bites the dust, although these things certainly probably aren't helping any of our cases... I'm actually surprisingly calm under real pressure and during real emergencies... Anxiety disorder is funny like that. Sometimes I cannot drive a mile without having a panic attack but throw a damn global disaster at me? I'm calm as hell about that.
Disclaimer: I am not in any way minimizing the seriousness or the sadness of what is going on in the world right now, I just have a dark sense of humor. It gets me through. I like to think it's part of my charm but that's up to you.
I haven't written here because I didn't feel like I had anything worthy of sharing with you guys. I feel empowered when I can help people and I haven't been feeling like a particularly helpful kind of person. In fact, I haven't felt like I have been helping myself. I didn't feel like I had anything positive to say, any advice to give, any tips or tricks to make this weird feeling we all have go the eff away. I felt like I'd exhausted everything in my box of tricks but exercise, and who wants to hear about how I forced myself to work out everyday for the last month, not to get a "hot" summer bod, but to not feel like I'm suffocating, to avoid that inevitable chest pain we anxiety sufferers know all too well. I also felt guilt for feeling so anxious and downright sad because I'm lucky right? I am healthy when the world is full of people who are dying. I should be feeling fantastic.
For example, It's 2 AM, my heart has been racing for at least the last hour. I've been having PVCs ( those suckers that feel like skipped heart beats and freak you right the hell out) it's cool they are benign, you best believe my anxiety ridden self got those checked out a long time ago. I have a baby who will be up in a few hours and need me. I know I will be tired. I'm upset because I have worked SO hard for SO long to get my anxiety attacks under control, yet here I am again. I know this is a physical response. I know it cannot hurt me. I know that it is adrenaline. I know it's not dangerous, just uncomfortable. More importantly I KNOW it's temporary. So, if it's not the rising death toll, the guys in hazmat suits I see at the drive-by-testing center by my house, if it's not the fear of catching this thing? What the heck is wrong with me?
For the last few annoying hours- in between checking my pulse- and then yelling at myself in my head for checking my pulse, I've figured out exactly why I'm feeling this way.
I was looking at this whole thing a bit backward.
I kept wondering or what the I was doing wrong to suddenly fall back into an old tiring anxiety routine I know so well.
I mean, I'm not breaking the stay-at-home rules, I'm not going out, I'm not seeing friends or family, I'm not going to work (and I feel lucky to be one of those who gets to stay home safely trust me) , I'm not putting myself in the way of harm, I'm not... I'm not...
OH. THERE IT IS. I'm NOT. We're NOT.
WE ARE NOT DOING ANYTHING THE SAME WAY WE WERE A MONTH AGO.
This was sudden.
Everything feels weird.
Because this is all weird, everything about it.
We have lost our routines. We have ( some of us) temporarily lost our jobs, careers, our passions. We have lost the ability to see our families, friends, to go to the gym, to go shopping, to do anything we did before that gave us any sense of comfort or normalcy. I've realized that my routine, my job, my trip to the gym, a hug from my Mama- these are or WERE my ways of coping with stress. This feels weird. This feels weird because it is a loss. Loss sucks. We mourn loss. OH, we are mourning. OH. This is starting to make some sense.
I have NOT been treating myself with kindness and I have not been giving myself any grace to be sad or to feel a loss. I've been being HARD on myself, and then beating myself up about it later.
I been pushing myself to be overly motivated, to finish projects, to start projects, to think of ew ridiculous projects, GOD am I sick of the word PROJECT, I've been pushing myself to eat perfectly clean, to read a certain number of books, to do a certain number of reps and sets of a million exercises... because I mean I thought I had to use this time at home to be productive... I only saw a million Facebook memes that told me so.
When we are mourning a loss do we usually push ourselves to start a million new house projects? To deep clean the kitchen? (If you do this, I ENVY you), do we pressure ourselves to stick to our diets? NO. We do what we can to survive, to get by, to make it to the next day so we can get closer to the part where we start to feel normal again.
So, here I am. Struggling along with you. Fighting back against anxiety, and hoping this made you feel a little less alone.
I will leave you with no advice besides these 3 tiny things:
1. It's okay to feel really weird right now. It makes sense because, well, everything is weird.
2. Eat the fucking ice cream, drink the glass of wine, sleep longer than you should. WHATEVER you have to do to get by right now? DO IT. You can count calories and motivate yourself to get up early when we aren't in the midst of a global pandemic. Or if you are are one of those people who deep clean the whole house ( I bow down to you) do it! Seriously, whatever makes you feel good. find that. Do that.
3.Keep punching the monster in the anxiety monster face. It will eventually get bored and peace the hell out. You know it always does. Don't you forget that.
We are all in this weird thing together.