On Ending Week 11

Well this was a challenging week on the mental health front. Every week it seems like something different comes up with COVID.

I’m still very much feeling the pit in my stomach as I watch everyone start to go out and do things again. People have become fond of saying “I have to live my life”, and I just don’t have that luxury. Maybe I would be fine if I got COVID. Maybe I’ve had it and I was asymptomatic. It’s just another thing in a long line of unknowns that are out there right now. The one thing I know for sure though is I would rather not tempt it. It could literally be the difference between life or death.

For the brief, two month period that we were in lock down, I actually started to feel like everyone else. I didn’t feel like Jackie, the disabled person. But now that things are going sort of back to the way they were, I find myself being isolated and different all over again. Even the fact that I think that wearing a mask is a big fucking deal puts me into a class by myself sometimes. Many of my able-bodied counterparts just don’t understand what the big deal is. It’s convenient for people who can say, “I’m not worried about getting the virus”. That’s nice for you, but a lot of us don’t have that option.

I’ll be the first the admit I was completely wrong and completely misjudged how this virus would turn out in the beginning. I still stand by my anger with people hoarding the toilet paper, but I 100% thought this would be like Ebola and blow over eventually. But once I realized that this was a much bigger deal than that, I started to take it very seriously. I still take it very seriously. I’m living as close to lock down as I can for the foreseeable future.

The unknowns of going outside the house were always challenging before. I didn’t know what obstacles I might be met with. I’m not going out nearly as much now but when I do, I’m still met with a bunch of unknowns. What’s the store’s policy on masks? Is everyone going to be wearing one? Will people wear one into the store and then take it off? Am I going to have to control my anger if I do see someone not wearing a mask and I have the very deep urge to tell them off? How far is 6 ft. again?

It paralyzes with me anxiety to the point that not only is it safer to stay home, it’s just easier for my anxiety levels. Because out of the maybe 4 times I’ve left the house to do the simplest things (get gas, grab tea from a local place I love), I’ve been around people not wearing masks. Everyone behind me will have one on, but the person in front or near me won’t. It kind of sums up the way my entire life has gone.

For the most part, I hadn’t been worrying about my job. Mostly because I couldn’t take one more thing onto my mental plate. But now I’m starting to get really terrified something is going to happen to the company. That we won’t be able to withstand this. It took me so long to find this amazing company and job. From the day I got it, my brain started telling me “something is gonna mess this up”. It’s not a healthy way to live or think, I know. A former therapist of mine would have said “what evidence do you have for feeling that way?” and unfortunately, there would be a lot. I’m so fortunate to have a job, even if it’s not the way it was just a few months ago. Even if I can’t go into the office. That’s never lost on me for a single minute.

Throw in some truly horrific events that happened this week, and you have a real shitshow when it comes to trying to maintain sanity.

I made it though. I even did an advocacy call yesterday; something I’d never done. Today I did a Zoom call with a local bookstore that was featuring a local author. So even though I’m home, I’m still trying to step out of my comfort zone. And honestly, doing things online takes the whole disability stress right out of the equation. I don’t have to worry about parking, or stairs, or how low the chairs will be, or how I’m going to explain my limp to all the new people I meet. That’s a definite relief.

My medical provider gave everyone the “Calm” app for free too so I’ve been using that every single day for over a week now. Some days I can tell it helps a ton (though I have to admit, one of the meditation guides has the most annoying voice. But hey, it’s free). Others, I wonder why I’m doing it. But it’s like anything I guess, there’s good days and there are bad days. I can’t do much else other than keep trying.

Hope everyone is doing ok out there ❤


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