We made it to Friday — Friday during a pandemic. Feels a little more like this week was a week of Mondays on repeat. Nevertheless, here we are.
I have had the words for this blog post in my head for a little over a week now, but to be honest, I’ve spent a lot of the past few weeks feeling paralyzed. Frozen. Stuck in one of those whirlpools that keeps you moving but you don’t even go anywhere. Maybe you can relate.
When COVID-19 made its way to my area, so did a whole host of feelings. And you know my opinion about feelings … the more conflicting, the better 😉 Feeling conflicting emotions = reality. And there’s nothing that’ll bring us back to reality like an international pandemic.
However, until this past week, I wasn’t really seeing a lot of emotion being shared among us. We started sharing tips and tricks, positive messages, sarcastic memes, and 1,343,552.4567 age-appropriate math worksheets for our Kindergartners. We shared news posts of the latest, positive Coronavirus cases, commiserated over the declining economy and begged and pleaded for our neighbors to #stayhome. No doubt, we were in this thing together, and there is always comfort in being together in our suffering. But what were we feeling about our lives being uprooted, shifted, and broken?
I am a newbie in the therapy world; a rookie-counselor. I just graduated in December 2019 and started seeing clients full-time. I was starting to get into a groove. I had a fairly full calendar on a weekly basis, and my family was getting used to the transition.
Transitions have always been difficult for me. Even good, exciting, fun transitions. I like predictability and routine. COVID-19 is anything but predictable and routine. It’s nasty. It’s big. It’s completely unknown. It’s life-threatening. And it’s fatal. So how am I feeling?
I’m feeling lost and lonely, panicky and shaky, tired and sad. I miss seeing and talking to people face-to-face in my office, on the sidewalks, at the ice cream stand. Getting out of bed in the mornings has been harder and harder, and I find myself getting back in bed earlier and earlier in the evenings.
I’m also feeling thankful and grateful for the chance to continue working. What an incredible gift technology is giving us in these days, to be able to have a sense of “normalcy” amidst completely abnormal times. I feel connected to people I’ve never met, and I feel a longing and a fondness for friends and family I know I’ll be able to see in the future.
To be completely transparent, I am having trouble digesting the “let’s make the most of this” message. “Read to your kids a little longer,” “do a puzzle with your family,” “embrace this time of rest.” I’m not just having trouble digesting it, I just plain do.not.like.it. And after I accept my own feelings of guilt for not being able to join in that chorus, I have peace with myself. It’s ok for me to not like this new normal. It’s ok for me to like being busy and social and to like my old routine.
I’ve also had to decide which battles I’m going to pick during this pandemic. There are so many battles to fight, you know?! Homeschool or free-play. Eat local or eat at home. Grocery pick up or grocery delivery. Hand sanitizer or soap and water. Essential business or non-essential business. Happy or sad. Peaceful or anxious. Scarcity or more-than-enough. Ahhhhhh! Just typing it out makes my heart beat a little quicker.
What battle have I decided not to fight? Touching my face. Yes, you read that right. I’m not fighting the battle to touch my face less. Do you know how hard it is to not touch your face??? Have you tried it? I mean, come on! I may not be a hugger, but I touch my face probably more than some people. And to punish myself for every time I touch my own face is just not on my priority list. I guess that works for now, since I can’t see anyone outside my family, anyway.
Whew. I feel better getting that off my chest! That’s how processing feelings work. You process through them so they don’t get buried. You don’t have to live in them indefinitely – they come and go. But when you resist or reject them as wrong or bad or selfish or you fill in the blank, they don’t go away. They just settle a little further down in your body and find a way to emerge in other ways.
My hope is when we come out of these dark times, we’ll come out with plenty of space to hold the plethora and abundance of feelings that will surely hit us and need a place to rest and move on.
Stay safe, neighbor.
Written by Lauren Eisleben