Here I am, day eighty-something of this pandemic. I have no idea where the time has gone and how it is now June. I am writing this with an abundance of different emotions; happy, sad, grief, disappointment, love…etc. It’s been such a roller coaster ride. One, that I would love to get off right now.
The part I have been struggling with the most is the fear of the unknown. I do not know what I’m doing for the summer. I have no idea what that looks like and it is terrifying to me. I’ve been fighting negative thoughts about not being enough. Not being good enough to do things that I think I should be able to do. I’m holding myself to unreachable standards, that I wouldn’t allow a friend to do to themselves. But for whatever reason, my anxiety tells me that I SHOULD be able to do this and SHOULD be able to that. Even when there are so many things out of my control. My anxiety is bringing back old feelings from last summer, feelings I would rather NOT have to deal with…again.
But I’ve also been doing pretty well lately. My new medication routine is working. Yes, I still live with daily anxiety. I will likely always have to do that. But things seem calmer now. And I’ve started working out and holy moly has it changed my world. I now find myself planning my day around when I’ll workout. Last Monday I had a really bad anxiety attack, which was exhausting but I found myself craving a workout. I wanted to feel the burn, have sweat dripping down my face…I wanted to not think about thinking. And it worked. For 1 hour, it was just me working out, nothing else mattered. A feeling I’m finding that I crave more and more.
During this quarantine time, I have reached out to old friends who I was out of touch with. It was when I was trying to share what I have gone through since Fall of 2019 that I realized, holy $h!t I have faced so much in such a short period of time. And still made it out. Still conquered it all. I know I have said it before and I’m going to say it again…people always leave me. I could sit here and write a list for you, but what good would that do? How would that help me? Instead I’ve written letters that I poured my heart and soul into. Will I ever send them? Probably not. But I had to do something so I could get some closure and remove these now toxic people from my life. But going through $h!t like I did, lets me see who people truly are. Their true colours are showing, and from this point on I know what a true friend looks like and what a true friend does not look like. I reconnected with a truly great friend and we both believe our friendship can only grow from here. Life gets tough, life gets messy, but please do your best to check in your friends and family.
My mom and I were talking the other day, and with everything I’ve gone through we talked about how I’ve been doing and if I feel needed, wanted and loved … I paused before I could answer. And I said, “well I guess, but from who?” She said “From anyone” … again I paused. I didn’t know what to say, I didn’t know how to respond. I eventually came up with the answer “the list is small”. As someone with severe anxiety and depression my illnesses cause me to second guess myself and engage in negative self-talk, (I think you’d be shocked at what my brain can tell me). I tend to deal with more anxiety than I do depression, but they go hand in hand together. And it can get pretty dark and scary when the depression hits you, in massive waves, that sweep you off your feet and you don’t know which way is up and which way is down. You mix that with a little anxiety in there and you don’t know if you have the energy to shower. The energy to pull yourself out of bed. But then you feel bad because you can’t get out of bed, and worried that you haven’t showered in a few days and you probably smell. Let me tell you from firsthand experience it can get dark really quick, sometimes before you even realize it’s happening.
Recently, a friend from high school posted on social media about sharing your favourite memory with them and they would do so in return! I immediately knew what I was going to say, I didn’t even have to think about it! My favourite memory with them was this nickname they had for me and how I would often hear it shouted in the halls in between classes. Whenever I heard it, I immediately smiled and knew who was saying it. Even now talking about it here, 10 years later, makes me smile. I told them that they probably didn’t realize how much that nick name meant to me, and how hearing it, kept me out of going to pretty dark place in grade 11 and 12. In a way this nickname saved me.
If I have learned anything during this pandemic, quarantine, social distancing period it is that life is too damn short and it can be changed in a blink of an eye. We have to prioritize what makes us happy, and slow down our busy lives. Remember that it is okay to take a moment to stop, reflect and breathe, and you should always dance in the rain.