I was thinking about what I wanted to write about for this first blog on here. I kept telling myself I wanted to write about something light and funny in the midst of this new reality we are living in. Every time I got an idea and would start to type, my thoughts kept going back to COVID19. I finally gave up and stared at my computer screen. And sat and stared. And I literally heard a voice say, “Write about what you’re feeling because you are not alone.”
And, so I started typing.
Let me go back a bit. A few weeks ago, I was celebrating my birthday in Miami. This is about the time I started to pay a little attention to the news. In my defense, I don’t have cable at home, so most of my news comes from social media, 1010 Wins, and friends.
Anyway, I remember at the airport, my best friend pulled out two surgical masks. I was like, “Heck no, girl you crazy!!” And laughed, as I joked around about how silly we would look. I even took a picture of us in the airplane but it was more of a photo-op for IG. I also have to say that I probably counted about five other travelers with masks, only one actually covering their face.
While in Miami, my girlfriend who is a nurse (God bless her soul) kept talking about the coronavirus in very serious tones. As serious as you can be while drinking, right? Anyway, she kept saying that this virus scared her, that it was going to do a lot of damage.
She kept saying things like, “As of Monday, we will all be zombies.” I was like, “Ok Rick!” (Shout out to TWD fans!!!). But really, I didn’t even take her seriously because I just felt like the news kept saying this was just a different strain of the flu with no vaccine.
I was back at work on March 4th, and suddenly I was being bombarded by news out of Italy and Europe and the numbers of cases and/or deaths. My ears perked up, but I can’t say I was worried yet. As is the norm for me, I was still celebrating my birthday (which is a month-long event). I was looking forward to Friday the 13th to meet up with friends at our local bar to continue the celebrations.
And this is where I think I started to feel a little rise of panic in my chest. That night, that Friday night, the bar which is typically crowded with diners, drinkers, and karaokers every week, was eerily empty.
There were about 20 of us there, including the employees. Very few people were singing. I was kind of like oh, ok. What’s happening? That Sunday evening, we received the email that the school I worked in was closed until the end of the month. It felt so surreal, like what do you mean schools are closed. As I watched the news that Sunday, more and more districts shut down. That was my first panic attack.
Since then, I’ve been social distancing and isolated at home for 15 days with my 20-year-old. Rough! Friday, I got laid off from my job and that was my second meltdown. I wanted to take a Xanax and sleep and wake up to find out this is all just a bad dream. As we all know, it’s not.
Over the last two weeks, I’ve had three anxiety attacks, usually at night, when I start to pray for all the people I kept hearing about that are testing positive and/or very sick. Friends I was working with before the shutdown.
Initially, I tried to not give in to these episodes, I thought I was being ungrateful by having meltdowns and wanting to not deal with this, considering I am still healthy and able to collect unemployment. But I found that when I resisted, the anxious feelings, the panic, the fear, lingered. It immobilized me. It kept me on the couch, drinking wine, or napping. It kept me from wanting to pull myself together.
And then I thought, “wait, why can’t I just have my meltdown?”. “Why can’t I give in to the panic and the anxiety?”. “Why can’t I be scared at times?”. “Why can’t I cry and scream?”. We are entitled to being scared, anxious, confused during these crazy times.
What we are not entitled to do, is to sit in that fear or anxiety for too long. So, when I feel an attack, I cry, I get mad, I question why, why, why? And then it’s over. I pray and meditate and I give thanks for all that I have. If none of that works, I medicate. And then I’m fine.
I started to think about things I could do to make my days more productive and keep those anxious feelings at bay. I had to be proactive. So, I created a schedule for myself to stay focused and productive. I make sure I exercise every day, whether it’s a short workout from IG or a walk if it’s nice out. I am meditating more. Eckhart Tolle has a ton of free guided meditations on his page. I am journaling. I’ve been going through paperwork, drawers, and closets. I am constantly cleaning and decluttering. I have magazines, books, and Netflix.
Are there days that I just want to lay on the couch and do absolutely nothing? Yup! And guess what? I do it. And then I buckle back up. And get back to tackling my to-do list.
It’s easy to get in a state of panic and stay there, but what good will that do? It’s easy to allow this new normal to become our permanent normal. But the reality is, I am looking at this as an opportunity for transformation-physical, mental, emotional and spiritual.
I am not saying I will not have any more panic attacks and that I won’t have moments of being really scared, but what I won’t allow myself is to live in that space too long. Because if we come out of this the same as we went into it, then shame on us for not taking advantage of this blessing and opportunity.
Stay safe and healthy!
I am a 50-year old Latina divorcee who has been on a spiritual journey for, yikes, a really long time. Though I am not where I want to be, each day I do get closer to who I am meant to me.
I co-raised two young ladies and am a grandmother of two spunky, smart and funny kids – Max and Esme.
Education has been my niche for the last 20 years and I don’t know why. I wish someone had given me a career survey in high school or college to realize that #1- I am NOT a morning person and #2- I don’t really like kids, not even my own. So, I am searching for my passion. Not sure what that is yet. But there are a few things I am exploring, writing being one of them (that’s why I am here).
I have issues with commitment, not so much relationships but committing to my goals, putting in the work and seeing things through. But I did commit to making my 50’s the best decade ever. So far so good. I love yoga, traveling and writing; but mostly wine. Yes! I love wine.