Life,  Writing

Life in the Time of Corona

The past couple of months have been difficult. Life in the time of corona is so very different than what we are used to.

And that is an understatement.

Every day it seems that worse and worse news comes out of this Corona thing or COVID-19 as it is actually called. There have been snippets of positiveness too. I can’t forget those.

I haven’t been writing. You’ve probably noticed. I haven’t been posting. But more than that, I haven’t been writing outside of journaling to maintain my mental health.

April was Camp NaNoWriMo and I had intended to finish my novel. But by the 5th day where I hadn’t written a thing, I knew it was a lost cause.

Let me tell you why.

In my day job – for lack of a better term – I work as a therapist. And, I am lucky enough to work from home. Although, I must say I am disappointed that this hasn’t turned into more creative work. We’ll talk about that later.

When COVID-19 hit, I’d heard about it long before it came to the us. Well maybe not long but I had clients in China who were talking about it in early January. At that time, I had no idea of the implications.

Fast forward a couple of months and it seems things came out of no where. We were hit with cancellations and restrictions. Here in Michigan it seemed that everything escalated very quickly. Though I knew schools were closing, those were colleges and universities. When the public schools closed, I reacted.

Even during this time, I’d been dealing with it on a gradually increasing basis. My clients were beginning to show signs of anxiety. 

When the toilet paper disappeared, I could feel the panic hit me. That first week after the shelter-in-place order came was one of the hardest weeks of my life. 

I had to maintain a balance between staying calm and working with my clients and dealing with my own growing sense of panic.

Those first weeks were both the slowest I’d experienced and blurry as my actual memories are very dull. Probably a bit of amygdala response to the emergency. It happens to all of us.

Through that time, the only journaling I did was through a COVID-19 journal I began and kept for about two weeks. Some days I wrote and wrote just to understand what I was thinking. I also wanted to remember what those days were like.

People were posting things like ‘if you come out of this time without producing something, you’ve done it wrong.’ I felt that pressure but felt helpless to even react to it. I was simply surviving my own journey of client work and getting through my days. 

Within a few weeks, orders were extended, we began to feel a sense of stability. It was still not normal, but felt like we could get through our days. I realized this when my clients were working on their issues along side the anxiety resulting from COVID-19. Even in my own life, things returned to normal.

You see, my life in the time of corona doesn’t look much different than it did before COVID-19 happened. I still work from home. And, I’m busier than ever as you can imagine. My husband goes to work every day and has because he works in an essential business. I mean, we like electricity, right?

There are ups and downs right now. Both individually, and as a society. As we make adjustments to what will become our new normal, there will be, and have been, swings in our own sense of wellbeing. Things will go fine for a few days and then, BAM, you’ve crashed without any specific reason.

There have been feelings of panic and sadness. Some high notes when you realize that people are still good. Grief for the life we’ve lost. And, uncertainty for what is to come. 

This is all normal.

The one thing that didn’t return to normal for me is my writing. At least until this moment. This is retuning to normal for me. I’ve expressed myself through writing since I was six years old. Except in times of high stress – which the past two months have been.

And, yes, that seems counterintuitive. It actually is. I’ve really only been able to journal most days but I could feel the guilt of not actually writing building inside of me. So here I am. Putting words on the page.

I do have to tell you it feels great. 

I didn’t even notice that I needed to write until I was actually writing a post – or what will be a post – on my breaks from work. 

The words will not be denied.

I’ve seen a lot of good things come out of this crisis. People coming together. Kindness and understanding are more visible.

Yes, there are lots of bad things that are happening right now but there is still a lot of good happening. And I think we need to continue to focus on the good.

I’ve watched lots of cat/kitten videos lately. Very healing.

So, my writing will continue. I will carve out times to put words on a page. Not simply because I want to but because the words must come.

My hope is that my writing, with the exception of one post, will not be about COVId-19. This crisis has gotten a lot of energy and I’d like to put that energy to good use, rather than focus on the virus.

What is your life in the time of corona story? Please share what your experiences have been. I’m looking forward to hearing your story.

Until next time, Angela

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