Daylight always seems to bring with it a renewal that has a ray of positivity in it. I’m beginning to notice that when night sets in, I’m freefalling towards sleep long before it seems normal. I’m so tired at night… by 7:30 – 8:00… I’m feeling the cloak of fatigue wrapping its heavy sleeves around me, pulling the hood over my eyes and making it difficult to keep them open.
What is this? Is this illness creeping over me? The fog of depression drifting in? Or the stress that creates the adrenaline that keeps the body moving until it finally abates at home? Whatever it is, I am acutely aware of it and it’s getting to me. I’m unable to stay awake in the evening and there’s a void in my brain where thoughts and ideas used to reside and bump into each other, jockeying for a position in conversation. I. Just. Don’t. Have. It. To. Give.
I am presently “excluded from work” due to a sore throat, runnier-than-usual nose, and a headache. We have this really cool hotline that you call and talk to a real person who tells you what you have to do and tells you not to go to work until your PCR test is negative. Working in healthcare, I already know this means no earlier than Monday. This is not exactly how I wanted to use up my PPL but, you know, you can only control so many things and this aint one of them.
Add to that a recent diagnosis of symptomatic Covid for a family member, which sent me spiraling with worry until I reached out to them and now they are doing better. This is the closest it has gotten to my family and it hit me like a bomb.
My firstborn turned 21 on Tuesday. I didn’t get to serenade him with a cupcake at dawn and I most certainly didn’t get the chance to take him out for his first legal drink. Since he hasn’t called or texted me in over six months, I could only do what I did. I sent him an email and texted him in the morning. He said “thank you.” I’ll take it. I’m grateful he answered me, as the alternative was more than possible and I’ll admit I didn’t know what I expected. Still, along with everything else going on… I’m fine, everything is fine…I think Tuesday was a tough day overall. And then I got the sick.
I hate when people post cryptic shit on Facebook that makes everyone say things like, I hope you’re okay, and thoughts and prayers, and “hugs.” I try not to do that and so I’m sorry for saying now that I have some stuff I’m dealing with and I’m okay, but I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t causing me anxiety. So there’s that. I’m sorry I can’t offer more but please don’t worry or send me pm’s. I promise to elaborate soon. Just know that it does not take much to trigger my anxiety.
Work is a refuge for the most part in diverting my attention away from my own life and distracting me with the clusterfuck of navigating a pandemic in the medical world. This statement in NO WAY is intended to suggest that “we” aren’t handling it. What it means, plain and simple, is that folks out there have no idea how many nurse/sick calls we are getting every day. That Everybody is sick with something. That you still need to wear a mask in healthcare settings. That the reason there is a STOP SIGN on the door (that clearly explains you must call before entering) is because you still need to be screened by phone before you walk in the door. And finally, that yes – there is STILL a pandemic going on.
I am burdened with an anxiety that I thought I was managing okay, but I’m beginning to think it is what is exhausting me every day. As aforementioned, I can manage it at work. I can do my job and do it efficiently. At home, it’s an entirely different story. I am not good at sitting down and just reading – so I’m behind in my goal for this year. I was on target until October. I have a list of projects that I can’t get down and focus on. Let alone CARE about. Movement is best, but even then, I can’t spend all day on the treadmill and I’m lacking that motivation as well. And now… I’m homebound until today, or tomorrow, or maybe even Monday.
Two days ago I got a text from my brother. He was on his way down to a Halloween music festival near us that is like a whole weekend thing and he “works” at it. He has had a bottle of Buffalo Trace he secured for me OVER A YEAR ago and wanted to know if we could meet up. We had to meet because his shift started at 6 and guess what? He was “up against the clock.” What else is new? If my brother was ever on time I think I’d pass out.
I didn’t get to hug him because – SICK – but I saw him and he looked wonderful and God I have missed him! He’s my little brother but he is almost 30 and I remember when he was a toddler who threw himself at me when I walked in the door and called me at work in the middle of the rush when he was 4 just to ask, “what’re ya doin’?” I count him among “my kids” but treat him like a peer. There isn’t, for me, a 23-year age gap. I’m sure to him I’m just old. But it’s okay, I love him anyway. Seeing his face just made the isolation we’ve all been under feel a little more physical than it already does.
I’m grateful that Neph has been here several times over the last couple of months and he checks in periodically. Nephtoo sends the occasional text but he is off living his best life and so we get to live vicariously through his Insta (or at least what he doesn’t block from us, ha ha).
There’s a whole lot of chatter about the pandemic’s effect on mental health and I can personally attest to this. It may seem invisible, but it is there. I’m feeling it. I belong to a private group where we are safe to discuss mental health and other things and where I have collected my enormous cache of memes, where it’s common to see posts like, “I’m safe but I’m not okay.” And today I feel it viscerally.
I’ve tried to stay away from the news, full of political warring that is both alarming and – if you are a student of history – is also, in some ways, just another cycle in our longstanding democracy. I’m alarmed by Texas. I’m alarmed that the governor of Florida gets as much attention as he does. I’m sick of Mitch McConnell and his forked tongue and his pathological methodology. I want to see Marjorie Taylor Greene shut the fuck up and crawl back into the shithole she climbed out of. I’m scared to death about January 6 and how nearly all the Republican politicians are trying to rewrite the events we all saw. I’m angry at the mother whose little girl looked me right in the eye and told me, “Mommy says [masks] are dangerous.”
I grew sick of the never-ending reporting of Gabby Petito’s disappearance/murder and subsequently of her fiancé’s disappearance/death. Disgusted that a beautiful girl was front page news – and not just because it should never have happened but because no woman of color in this circumstance was ever plastered all over every news outlet 24 hours a day. And then the officer’s body cam footage rammed a foot in my throat I just couldn’t swallow. I. FELT. THAT. You cannot know how deeply I felt that.
So, today, I am quarantined at home with a sore throat, headache, and a runny nose, with a negative Rapid but awaiting PCR results. I have books to read and things to clean. I have a virtual appointment mid-day for medication follow up. I have a novel to write and Nanowrimo begins Monday. I’ve already written some of it. It’s as rough as it gets and, for those of you who know, it’s also triggering to write. There is a platform for writers and artists, Patreon, that I’m considering today.
I haven’t decorated for Halloween and I’m not going to. I bought a huge bag of assorted candy that the arm of manufacturing overfilled with a breathtaking unequal assortment that I am not going to be handing out. And guess what? I. Don’t. Care.
Today I’m just doing what I can. Whatever that looks like.
Moral of the story? We are ALL feeling it. The tide will turn and the sun will shine again and we’ll find something else to complain about, or celebrate, or watch from the sidelines. Just be kind to others – as they always used to say – you never know what someone is going through.
5 Positive Things
596 days of the pandemic. I had my first [need for a] COVID test on Wednesday.
A loving, attentive husband who respects me and values my opinions and thoughts.
A kickass constellation of friends, family, acquaintances I am eternally grateful for.
A great job/working environment that is 100% female, supportive, and low-to-no drama.
Two strong, healthy kids I love more than life.