anxiety/depression, Health, mental health, Writing

Stress with a Side of Pandemic

So, readers…how are you?

Hanging in there? Stress eating? Two fisting your beer by 2pm on a Wednesday? Is it Wednesday? Oh…right…it is.

Wait…no it’s not. It’s Thursday.

To quote my new favorite YouTuber Brandon Farris….Jear Desus.

I don’t know about you guys but for me 2020 has been kind of a beyond hot mess of week-old garbage under a blazing hot sun in Death Valley. I wake up a lot thinking, “Is this real life?” I mean, the great orange has recommended ingesting disinfectant. Ingesting…disinfectant. And that’s not even one of the strangest things that’s happened. It ranks up there but then people are using The Purge siren to signal curfew. Is this real life?!

About a month ago, my state shut down and the governor called a “stay at home” order. I was fine with that. I’m an introvert so I feel like my whole life has prepared me for this moment. I didn’t think I’d be scared about running out of toilet paper but holy crap (no pun intended)…there was a moment that it actually happened. Again…is this real life???

The only problem with this stay at home order and following said order is this…I’m an essential employee. So every day I have to go to work, hyperaware of everything I touch, living off antibacterial soap, hand sanitizer and an obscene amount of coffee while making sure these kiddos in the system get the best kind of distance learning we can provide them with what resources we have. And when I get home…I switch out of my clothes, throw them in the washer and switch to homeschooling mode to make sure my kids stay on top of their school requirements. I made it about three weeks into this pandemic before caving and getting back on my anxiety meds. A couple panic attacks talked me into that pretty quick. And this whole working and homeschooling thing is burning me out faster than working as a daycare director did. I’m currently waiting to hear back on whether or not myself and the few co-workers left on site were exposed to someone with Covid-19. It’s nerve wracking, to say the very least.

I think….no…I know….that this pandemic has really put a strain on people’s mental health. The social distancing, the stress of trying to keep yourself from getting sick, parents taking on the role of teachers, teachers having to give up their school kids sooner than expected, first responders working in situations where safety gear is horrifyingly limited, grandparents not being able to see grandkids…the country is hurting.

Every day is another day where fears are faced, where the normal slips further and further out of our grasps. I truly doubt anything will go back to normal. How can it?

But that doesn’t need to be a bad thing.

I don’t think this is our new normal. I think this…what is happening right now…is a temporary normal. I think people are going to come out of this more cautious, more conscientious of the footprint their leaving on the earth, more aware of their mental health and how to care for it. Or, more importantly, recognizing that they have to take care of it.

It’s a stressful time, but it’s a good time to sit back, realize that it’s okay to slow down, that it’s okay to take care of yourself and that you don’t have to answer to one damn person if you’re going to take some time for you because you need to.

I thought I should write something, let the few followers that I have know I’m still out there. I hope you guys are all doing well and staying healthy. And writing it therapy for me. At the moment, one of the only therapies I really care for besides binge-watching therapy but now that I’m through all seven seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, figured it was time to fall back on what I should be doing with the writing thing.

It’s a tough time to be creative, I tell you.

It’s a tough time to be a lot of things. Dig deep and be hopeful, readers. Take care of yourselves.

“The hardest thing in this world is to live in it. Be brave. Live.”

~Buffy Summers

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