Full disclosure, I haven’t mailed one letter yet.
It’s not that I don’t want to. It’s not that I don’t have a million letters that I could write. It’s that I have no motivation and I blame the quarantine.
It’s Not So Bad
This morning, I was making our bed. And by making my bed I mean pulling the blanket over so I could have a video conference from my bedroom without looking like I just rolled out of bed.
I said to my husband, “This life right now, it doesn’t suck.”
He said he felt the same way.
Sure, it’s hard. We both work full time and there are three kids living in our house. Yes, they are older and can do many things on their own, but they are still kids. There are meal requirements they can’t attain yet. They still need reminders for things like showers and teeth brushing. Yes, I’m serious.
But honestly, it doesn’t suck.
We stay up later because we can sleep later. Daily showers are somewhat optional, but we do call each other out if we stink. I’m pretty much on an every other day rotation.
eep later. Daily showers are somewhat optional, but we do call each other out if we stink. I’m pretty much on an every other day rotation.
We’re getting plenty of sleep. If we start work at 8, we can get up at 7:30, so if we go to bed at 11, that’s a ton of sleep compared to what we usually get. I run a 5-7 hour average, and that’s when I sleep.
We’re together. You have no idea. In the last year, my husband has worked in another state Monday through Friday most of the time. The year before that, he spent MONTHS in China. The year before that it was China and Mexico. Our time together was really relegated to Fridays until Sundays. Cram in family obligations, church and work around the house and sometimes I wondered why he even wanted to trek back home. I’m sure seeing us was nice, but he’d trade work for more work.
It’s brought so much change
My 10-year-old has never been in a better mood. I’ve spent years thinking she’d grow up to be in the military, end up in jail or at the very least she’d be the boss every one hates.
But she’s finally on her own schedule. She stays up late, sleeps in, gets up and starts her homework. She takes breaks. She runs around the yard. She helps out around the house–voluntarily. She doesn’t growl at me when she sees me in the morning. She helps with her little sister. Dare I say she’s happy?
And she’s not the only one. Our kids are getting along so well. We rarely break up fights. They play video games, cuddle and watch shows, they play board games and babies and draw together.
But it’s not all great change.
I have anxiety. Shocker, I know.
When I first heard about the virus, I was fine. When I learned my university was taking all classes online for the semester, I thought maybe we were waiting for a snow storm that would never come. When I heard they were calling off school, I rolled with it. When they sent my husband home from his remote assignment, I wondered how this was all going to work, but for the most part, I was fine. When they gave us the shelter in place order, I was still cool with it. We’ll survive this. My parents aren’t coming home from Florida on schedule? Uh, okay. That’ll be fine.
But little things have set me off. Not knowing about the kids’ school situation was really weighing on me. Would they go back this year? Would we keep doing online learning? I kept feeling like if I knew about that, I could handle things. If I knew how long they’d be going to school and how it would impact the start of the next school year, then I could deal.
I even wrote an email to the governor with some suggestions. I never do that stuff. I know how that works.
A leader at work turned in his resignation effective the end of the school year. He’s been a great leader and a big reason why we are where we are right now. And now he’s leaving? Everyone on the Zoom call was crying. I was holding it together…barely.
Emotions were raw and on the surface.
Right now, our dog has an injury and a big dog with a big injury is hard. And while he’ll likely recover from this, the entire incident sent me over the edge. What? The dog? My emotional support animal (not really) was in need of his own emotional support and really, I couldn’t.
There were tears. Actual tears. (And if you know me, this is a rarity.)
Trauma is real
I’ve heard recently on the news that depression and anxiety during this time are real things. I’ve told this to other people. But suddenly, I couldn’t face it myself.
It’s not the school year, or the work leader, or the dog. It’s the stress of this situation.
The fear of the unknown. The reality that no one has lived through this and has no idea what to expect. The fact that the media has reported the Surgeon General saying:
“This is going to be the hardest and the saddest week of most Americans’ lives, quite frankly,” Adams told “Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace. “This is going to be our Pearl Harbor moment, our 9/11 moment, only it’s not going to be localized. It’s going to be happening all over the country. And I want America to understand that.”Surgeon General Jerome Adams
We’re just sitting over here waiting for it.
For people with serious anxiety disorders, this is a recipe for a mess. Combine that with less than ideal weather and those of us with diagnosed seasonal affect disorder are just over here wondering what’s going to happen to our “good months.”
The first few weeks, people were actually checking on me. “How is your anxiety? How are you handling this?” Well, fine. I’m fine. You’re fine. We’re all fine. This isn’t a vomiting virus so I’m good. (Emetophobia…remember?)
Today, I took a nap.
I’ve been trying to get up, work out, do work, make dinner, clean up and then do something other than work. That was, until today. I didn’t have work to do this afternoon, so I took a nap. On a Tuesday. It’s been a while.
Following the doctors orders
Taking a nap, for me, is an escape. My mind goes away from the stress and the anxiety. I don’t have to feel the weight of depression.
The news has said we have to give ourselves a little grace. So today, I did that. We have to understand that this is a traumatic experience. We will experience symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression in a way that people can’t possibly predict because we’ve never been in this situation.
So what does the World Health Organization recommend:
I have a good friend that I know I can text. While her first response is actually to check on my physical health, I can assure her it’s anxiety. When I texted her the other night, she said:
“You worry about what you can control. I’m the one that had a glass of wine at 11 a.m. because I was caving under the stress a week ago. Find something to do to distract you from your thoughts. Write.”
The next day, a package showed up from another friend. Unexpectedly.
Both instances were enough to help raise my mood. To keep me in touch with others’ realities. So while I have yet to send a letter, I know I need to. While I might be feeling the stress of the situation in weird ways, so might you. And maybe a letter would help perk up your spirits on a day when the weight of the world just feels like too much.