Covid Chronicles – Part 9

Written on October 1st, 2020. This is a journal of my thoughts and feelingduring the pandemic of COVID-19

We blinked, and now it’s October. As I mentioned in the previous chronicle, time has continued to pass quite oddly for me lately. Imperceptively slowing down and then rocketing forward.

I’ve had a turbulent couple of weeks. My mental health took a dive in the last while with the onset of fall. With the light levels shifting I was hit hard by my Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). I wrote about my experiences being diagnosed with this disorder last year, and my tips and tricks for dealing with it in a recent post.

I should have expected it really, the signs were kind of there in my last post, but somehow it still snuck up on me. I didn’t notice the fatigue, the stress, the anxiety, and the low moods as they built up. I said to my husband on my lowest day, “I feel totally out of control and feel like I am spiraling. And I don’t know why.”

I’ve managed to pull myself out of the spiral by recognizing I wasn’t feeling good and implementing what I know works for me to fight my SAD and my anxiety. So, I’m okay but it was little disconcerting.

But it’s also been a tough couple of weeks as we have seen case numbers soar again. We are officially in the second wave of Covid, which isn’t much of a surprise at least for me. Officials have warned that the second wave is likely to be much worse than the first – it’s scary. I’m scared.

It is hard to imagine how it could be worse than the last time given how bad it was. And yet, I know that it can. It can always be worse. The numbers are already a lot higher than the previous wave, at least here in Ottawa.

I have had a lot of moments where I could feel myself getting panicky and increasingly anxious about the state of the world. Whereas at the beginning of the pandemic we watched the news every day religiously with each new update. Now, I take the news in bitesize pieces, staying up to date yes, but trying not to dwell too long on it.

And it’s not just the pandemic but politics too. I can’t even begin to summarize the upset and anger I feel looking at so much of the news. Violence. Racism. Just the complete disregard for human beings here in my own country and elsewhere. Also the denial of clear science.

When confronted with all of this I think we have to keep in our mind the things that we can do, the impacts we can have, and what is outside of our control.

I can stay in, I can wear a mask, and I can wash my hands. I can refrain from visiting friends and family, and limit how much I go out in the world.

I can use my voice and platform to draw attention to the injustices in the world, amplify the cries of others, and try to be a good example and influence on those around me. All of those things are powerful tools to impact the world around me.

What I can’t do? I can’t guarantee that I won’t get sick or my loved ones either. I can’t control the actions of others. I can’t change the results of elections in other countries, no matter how much I wish that I could. I can’t undo this pandemic.

This goes for lots of things in our personal lives too. There are things we have control over, and many more things that we don’t.

Focusing on what we can do helps us to feel empowered and reduces stress and anxiety. There is not much use in obsessing over what you can’t control, although you should grieve it when you need to, just simply because you can’t change it. I’m not saying to just be happy or positive but simply to put your energy behind the things you can impact and try not to waste energy on the things that you can’t.

This whole experience has really pushed me to truly cherish my home life even more so than before. We have a good life here in our little apartment. It’s not fancy but we have what we need and we are comfortable. I am very grateful for that every day. I am getting to spend each day with my best friends – my husband and my fur children. This time is giving us the opportunity to figure out what is important for us to have in our lives.

We are taking this time to intentionally dream about the future. Sometimes it’s nice to have a forced pause – you don’t have to make any big life decisions because you can’t. It is giving us the space to think about all of our options.

This season won’t be easy. It’s going to be hard and we don’t even know exactly what that hard will look like from the outset. I miss my friends and my family. I want to say that everything will be okay, but I know that’s not really true. It is scary, but no matter what happens I do know that we’ll face it together. And I’ll keep sharing this crazy journey with all of you. We will get through this somehow.

Write soon,

Hannah B.L.

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