Written on April 29th, 2020. Over a month after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in Ontario, Canada. This is a journal of my thoughts and feelings.
My word to describe this situation with Coronavirus has been wild. I hear myself saying it over and over again, “It’s just wild everything that is happening”. I think wild as a word encompasses so much of what I have been feeling in the last couple of weeks. Wild to me symbolizes: something deadly, scary, out of control, unknown or strange, somewhat unbelievable, unpredictable, or triggering an instinctive response. Something that really challenges your notions about the world, just as when you discover something new and frightening on a journey in the wilderness.
So its been a couple more weeks, and I’ve accepted the new normal. Mostly.
The last 2 weeks or so has been a roller-coaster. I’ve been feeling at times better and sometimes worse than I did the last time I wrote. I have had huge rushes of creative energy, productivity, and motivation. More than I have had for a long time. I finally got the courage to put together my blog (obviously) and I feel very proud of myself for that. I am innovating at work to bring more content and connection to my community. I am confident that the things I am doing, in my work and personal life, are making positive impacts in my community and that feels good. A feeling I don’t always have quite so strongly in “normal life”, before COVID. I have had profound moments of gratitude for the many blessings still in my life, moments of laughter, of joy and happiness.
But at the same time, innovating is tiring. I have had low moments and days when I feel waves of grief, sadness and am completely overwhelmed by the state of the world. The shocking numbers which I struggle to wrap my mind around everyday. I am anxious about the future as nothing is guaranteed right now. I miss my family & friends. I am fatigued and yet often have insomnia, which is an entirely new and strange experience for me.
It seems to cycle from week to week. One week I am more cheerful and feel driven to get a lot done. That is usually followed by a week of fatigue and blues.
I have realized that it is essential for me during this crisis to focus on the present. Not only does it help reduce my anxiety and balance out the highs and lows, but I think it will be essential for long-term survival of this pandemic. Focusing on now helps things to feel manageable. It helps time pass quicker. And sometimes, it helps me feel a little happier. Taking a moment to relish in a good feeling, maybe curled up on the couch watching another Lord of the Rings movie marathon (yes we did that, all 3 extended editions approx. 10 hrs runtime over the weekend), or just enjoying the sunshine through my windows can really change how I feel.
In my attempt to acclimate I am trying to stay away from ideas about “back to normal”. Because there isn’t really ever “normal”, normal is whatever is. Or is it? I am torn between knowing there is no real “normal”, and yet deeply yearning for a return to it. What I do know is that, when I think about returning to normal, it makes me miss everything so much more. So, I try not to.
I find myself gravitating to simple comforts. Familiar movies. Comfort foods and clothes. I need a lot of hugs from my husband and snuggles with my furry children (dog & cat) on the blue days.
I have learned in the last couple weeks that we have to give each other and ourselves breathing room and space to feel however we feel. Because however you feel in response to this reality is valid. And it can (and probably will) change from day-to-day, even moment-to-moment. I hope this is something we can take with us past this crisis, just give everyone and ourselves a little more room to feel how we feel.
I am still hopeful, probably in vain, that we will get to go camping in mid-august. Camping is one of the things we look forward to most in the year and so I have to hold onto it for now. I am missing the outdoors even more than before because they are a source of escape and this is definitely a situation that would be nice to escape from (were it possible). I am happy to see the warmer weather returning but I dread how hot the apartment will be in the summer.
I try very hard not to think about how long this will go on because the dates keep getting moved back. I try to focus on today.
Overall, even with low points, hard days, and feelings of grief, I am finding things to smile about a little more often lately, and that is a good thing.
Hannah B. L.