When It’s Dark, Look For The Stars…

Star Cluster

Dear Gentle Reader,

I hope this finds you in good health and spirits!

At the start of this crisis, I told myself that this would be a great time to do all the things that I felt I didn’t have time to do. Ha-ha, yeah, right.

By the end of the first week, I could feel a suffocation building. You see, there were a lot of things that I was in the middle of and leaving them unfinished would prove to weigh heavily on my psyche. My team and I were placed on furlough in early March. The company that holds the contract to the location we are located was up for renewal this year and we still didn’t know the status.  We didn’t know if we would be employed when it was time to come back to work. I was in the middle of interviewing for a new job that would have incredible effects on my life and present new challenges that I was looking forward to. With hiring frozen, there went that possibility for now. In mid-April, I found out the company I am with lost their contract. Now it became a question of would we be invited to join the new company or would my team be up a creek?

Couple this stuff with the health issues of some of my loved ones. My job, while sending me on furlough, was kind enough to continue to pay for my health benefits which was an  unbelievable kindness that I will never forget. The reason it meant so much to me was because my hubby (who continued to work) is still dealing with his cancer which we hadn’t told many people about and we are both covered under my company. Every day, I am constantly checking in with him to see how he feels. I almost feel like a mom. LOL! So a massive cloud was building over this one issue.  My mother and sister both work in nursing homes and I have seen both catch colds from people there. I know it isn’t intentional and I feel for all involved, but I would worry about what could happen if one of them came home with the virus? My dad is suffering from dementia and his health isn’t all that great as it is and it takes a lot to push away those thoughts. My good friend, Tom, works in a place that is considered essential and I worry about his health as well.

I had nightmares that ended up with me alone in strange places when I was once surrounded by people and places that were familiar several nights a week. This put my sleep cycle into something much more severe chaos than mere insomnia. What did these dreams mean? I know some people think they mean nothing but to each their own.

I would try to distract myself with projects but eventually, those thoughts would come back and take over, so I would move on to something new but once again, Dear Reader, came the worries. It seemed like every”where” I would run to, I was followed by these lingering thoughts that would bloom into storms of worry. My eyes would flash with tears and my blood would pound in my ears like inescapable thunder.  For weeks. Finally, I sat down in the middle of the “rain” and just surrendered. So I wrote to you, Kind Reader.

When I set out to do something, I typically get it done or I get a version of it done that I can live with for now. However, when I don’t do it, I engage in a lot of negative self talk and frustration with myself. I wish I can tell you how all the things that I didn’t get to do or complete have contributed to that typhoon of depression and anxiety.

I know that it can never rain forever. I know this. I know that no single feeling will last forever. Once this virus is under control, I would feel better. Then something happened. When I focused on that one little fact, “it will not be forever” (It just feels like it.) the rain lightened up a little. Each day that my love came home and was feeling fine, it lightened up a bit more. Then, one day the doctor said that the immunotherapy seems to be doing some good and the rain stopped. After that, I found out that most of my team was going to be moved to the new company that won the contract. In fact, I just signed my offer letter today! The nightmares have stopped.  When I check in with my mom I find she and my dad are doing great. I don’t think the worry was needless or irrational or unwarranted, but I am surprised at how deeply it sank its snare into me. I thought I would be on social media so much more than I am currently, but all I could handle was a text thread between my siblings and nieces and my besties. I would pop in every couple of days, but it was all just an attempt to distract myself and not to connect. It is rough. It WAS rough. I think now that things are evening out, I may be back on more. Fingers crossed.

I feel like I will be back to normalish soon whether or not the shelter in place orders are lifted. Until then, I will keep looking up.

Do you ever notice that when you look up and see the stars they glitter their little hello’s, but when to look past them, more come into view? Like you are getting closer to those far away balls of light?

If you, Gentle Reader, are finding that this shelter in place and social distancing is getting you down and need to talk about it, drop me a line! If you feel like you need help, reach out to NAMI.ORG or you can call them at 800.950.NAMI or text “NAMI” to 741741.

Again, we are all in this together.  Be kind to yourself and to others. Be alert and be safe.

Until next time….

I’m Not OK & That’s OK

white ceramic sculpture with black face mask
Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

Hello Gentle Reader,

How are you holding up during this pandemic? I hope you are well and staying safe and healthy.

If you would have asked me last month, I would have said I am great. That would have been a 3/4 true statement. People ask now and I tell them I am doing ok. That is a lie, Dear Reader. A big ol’ bold faced lie, I tells ya!

I think I really hit “the wall” about two weeks ago. I have tried to keep myself busy learning some new things, completing yarn projects that I had started but never finished, and even moving all the furniture in my apartment around. I would have done a closet cleaning, but I did that around Christmas time. Every time I try to work on something theatre related, this deep sense of despair hits me like a kick to the chest.

Yup! Like Bruce Lee is kicking me in the chest…

Ever since I got the directive to stay home on March 11th, I have been having a hard time sleeping. I have tried sleeping pills and they do the trick, but I don’t take them repeatedly  because I don’t want to make a habit out of it. I used to find that using them for one night would reset my sleeping rhythm and I would be good until the next bout of insomnia.

Now, I think they enhance my anxiety more than anything else. When I do sleep, I either can’t get comfortable or I have nightmares that set the anxiety into overdrive or scare the shit out of me. Sometimes both.

I think of my friends every hour but I find pulling up social media to be less stimulating than actually seeing them in person or laughing with them and feeling that vibration fill my heart with joy. When I think about logging on, I just get overwhelmed.

I have an ongoing text conversation with my siblings and a cousin and my nieces, but it isn’t the same.  It is nice to have, don’t get me wrong, but it isn’t the same and my brain doesn’t like the lack of punctuation and all the spelling errors thanks to voice text. LOL! I know, Kind Reader, I am being ultra whiney right now and I should be grateful for the contact. I hear you and I acknowledge you.

It’s true, Gentle Reader. I am being whiney. But here is the point of all of this. It is ok to not be ok. I have always said to embrace your feelings. Acknowledge them and walk through them. I am bringing them to light because maybe in doing so, it might help someone else that is struggling with this shelter in place malaise as well.

For me, I imagine working my way through them as though I was walking through a haunted maze or house during Halloween.  For those of you who don’t know, I love horror movies but am terrified of the dark. (Rereading that last sentence during editing makes no logical sense, I know, but then again, neither does loving performing but hating being in pictures.) Walking into a haunted house is always a sense of fun and dread, granted there is no fun in the feelings I am currently fighting. I jump at everything that pops out or screams at me. I have night lights in every single room of my apartment. I think every noise that the neighbors make is something other than what it is. I am a psychological mess. I freely admit that. I’d love to see a therapist, but worry that I would go bankrupt for all the sessions I would need to fix me. But I know I am not alone. And You are not alone.

So as we work through this and maintain vigilance in the face of this pandemic. Honor your feelings. Work through them in any way that you can. If you want to drop me a line, feel free to do so. Maybe we can trade ideas. If you feel like this is way too much, please, PLEASE, reach out to NAMI.ORG or you can call them at 800.950.NAMI or text “NAMI” to 741741.

My Dear Reader, we are all in this together. Be kind to yourself and to others.  We don’t know what others are dealing with. Be safe and be aware.

Until next time…