Spent week three of social distancing trying not to succumb to despair. Hope feels like a distant memory, but I have to remember that any moment in time is just as fleeting as spring-it comes, it blooms, it withers, and new things are on the horizon.
I don’t have a lot of hope for what’s happening, what will happen next or after that. Dark times are here and more are following. But in dark times there are still bright moments. You find something someone else planted, years before you, in your own backyard. For brief moments, your home feels just like home, not the fortress from fear of what surrounds us. There is still sunshine, flowers, food in the pantry, and love even in a world full of sickness, death, greed and corruption.
Positive thinking and self care won’t cure the hurt I feel for the outside world, but as I go through this fourth week of #quarantine, I’ll try to shift my focus to the moments right in front of me.
That was my post Sunday on Instagram. I think it summed up last week well enough when I didn’t feel quite well enough to publish a blog post.
Who is going to lead us through this uncertain, frightening time?
I couldn’t stop checking the news, couldn’t stop opening the floodgates of anger to surge through me as I learned of the president’s latest self-serving, American-people-last decision, tweet, comment, firing, action. It’s so disheartening. It’s overwhelming and painful and can make anyone feel so powerless. The world is crashing down and this is our leader? Someone who clearly lacks any empathy whatsoever? Who pushes drugs that aren’t proven to work because he has stake in the company?
How can someone be objective and have empathy and still support this person? Do I need to fear another four years of self-serving, greedy policies in the aftermath of the sickness, death, economic failure and poverty that is increasing by the day? How can American people agree with these acts if they know all of the facts?
Fox News‘ audience willingly doesn’t know the facts. I’ve seen a devastating discrepancy in their headlines in the weeks I’ve been connected to this. The same major network that denounces mainstream media (which it is), spews vitriol and tries to discredit facts, the same that called the virus a hoax and, despite recordings, later claims it didn’t.
The numbers continue to rise
The obsession with the news, I realize, is out of a desperate attempt to find hope. When will there be less deaths? When will doctors, nurses, and grocery store clerks stop having to put their lives on the line?
There’s now five people who have lost their lives in our little bitty town. Ninety-two confirmed cases, and I know of many individuals who were unable to get tested despite having all symptoms. People in New York are dying in their homes at ten times the average rate and those deaths aren’t being tested, therefore aren’t counted amongst the staggering number of deaths recorded for the city.
On the home front: our COVID-19 quarantine
Last week was another rough one. Every day was wet, rainy, or cold. I haven’t done a good job at all staying connected with friends. It feels like work to respond to text messages, plan FaceTime calls, zoom groups, whatever. So I haven’t. I’ve left people on read. A lot of people. It’s just more than I’ve been willing to handle, but I also am aware of the essential role that connection plays in mental health, so I’m going to ease back into more social connections outside of the house. Slowly.
Through Friday of last week, I was falling deeper and deeper into sadness. I had no energy but felt like I wasn’t doing anything except for binge eating and cleaning the kitchen again and again and again because there are so many more meals eaten here.
But my husband has been amazing through all of this. His good attitude is unrelenting. He’s been serving up one delicious meal after another. He even made his own yeast starter and baked his first loaf of bread!
Saturday we went on a family walk for the first time-it was two miles on a perfect spring day and it 100% helped me reset. Sunday was another gorgeous day, we all played catch in the backyard–even the dog. Monday, the little guy wouldn’t nap so I strolled him outside until he would. Today we all played more catch.
There are more April showers ahead but I’m so grateful that a few days of sunshine and my love uplifted me.
Another contributor to needing to read every news story is this unyielding feeling of needing to ‘do something.’ I don’t mean the American culture sense of needing to be busy. I mean feeling like it’s not fair that people are suffering all around and we’re just sitting around watching Tiger King. I realize the privilege that I have, and that if I wanted to close my eyes to all of it I could remain pretty comfortable with the resources we have. We’ve got a month of meals planned and plenty to do together as a family. A pay cut from a still very good job. A market down the street for essentials without braving a supermarket grocery store.
Survivor’s guilt is something that people experience when they’ve survived a life-threatening situation and others might not have. It is commonly seen among Holocaust survivors, war veterans, lung-transplant recipients, airplane-crash survivors, and those who have lived through natural disasters such as earthquakes, fires, tornadoes, and floods.
Diana Raab PhD
Yet this isn’t yet over! Who’s to say we’ll make it through this alive? And I’m already feeling guilt for what is happening as people without hazard pay are being spoken about using war terms. The guilt is something I will personally need to work on.
COVID-19 Quarantine: What’s up Next
I’ve created a lot more time restrictions on my phone so that I‘ll have less access to browse the news as I had been. I still have a limited time and I’m still informed, but I’m focusing on savoring these moments with my family and letting them feel good.
Last week I started a non-covid-related post, maybe I’ll try and push that out. I’ve had some projects I’ve been working on, and today I had back-to-back activities through the morning with my toddler. It feels good to let some things go (allowing more screen time than non-pandemic time) and also stay on top of a little of what mattered to me before all of this. Last week was all about letting things go, this week is about adding back and seeking balance.
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