I know, I know, it’s been a little doom and gloom around here. It wasn’t intentional. I just had a lot to say and some of it was/came off kind of as kind of a downer. Like how there are no silver linings in pandemics, negativity is my coping mechanism, just surviving a pandemic is a lot, and how wearying it can be to be called strong.
What can I say? There’s a lot of negative to see in a pandemic.
But all is not lost. There are good things to be had.
My friends and I are doing weekly chats/game nights. It’s good — and somewhat soothing — to actually see them and not just text. While I don’t love screen interaction (especially compared to real, in-person interaction) it’s a halfway decent substitute.
And now that I’m not on the verge of tears as often (more on that later in the post), I don’t mind the screentime as much because I’m not (as) worried about crying in front of them.
We’re also discussing some socially distanced in-person interactions. We’d sit six feet apart, all bring our own snacks, etc. I even have some disinfectant wipes in case I touch anything in someone’s place (or if I have people over and they need to use the bathroom, thereby touching a few of my house’s surfaces.
I still won’t feel comfortable doing this until after Mom leaves, since she’s in the high-risk population. But it’s something to look forward to. I’d just need to pull out the old tape measure and set up chairs in my backyard.
A game plan
My therapist and I built a seemingly solid plan for when Mom leaves. While we’re not sure when that will be, it helps to know that I have actionable things to do to maintain my sanity.
One friend has already said I can come over pretty much whenever I want/need to. I’d need to be careful about maintaining a distance, of course, but it’s good to know that he’s there if I have a bad mental health day.
And I talked to my cousin briefly about our doing regular Facetime chats, since we always mean to keep in touch but never do. Also, I’m supposed to Facetime Mom rather than just call.
That on-screen interaction (plus a visit to my friend’s place maybe once a week) should be enough to sustain me on my own. If not and I start to spiral, I’m supposed to do something like go for a drive to get out of my head.
Again, we’re still not sure when Mom is leaving, but having a game plan means I no longer have to choke back tears at the thought of her leaving. So that’s a good sign.
A shrink — finally!
I had an appointment with a psychiatrist. (Regular readers know how hard that was to get.)
He started me on Seroquel. It seems to be helping my mood a bit, though it’s harder to tell while I do have Mom as company. But what I do know is that it’s calming down my brain a lot. He had told me the med sometimes helps with anxiety.
In case you’re wondering what I mean by a calmer brain: I’m thinking of worst-case scenarios less often, and even when I do, they feel a little more disconnected, if that makes sense. Less visceral, I guess?
For example, my heart doesn’t speed up when I think of things like falling, thereby breaking an arm or chipping a tooth. And I can feel more rationally that it isn’t something that isn’t very likely. Instead of my brain saying, “Yeah, but what if it did happen?” over and over again.
I’m still having some depressive symptoms — brain focusing overly (which is to say on repeat) on stupid things I said to someone a million years ago and still sometimes choked up overly about something like a “We’re all in this together” commercial — so I probably need to go up a little on the dosage. But I can talk about when I see him next month.
The point is that my brain is quieter. Which is lovely.
Yep, Mom and I caved and started doing puzzles. It seems like at least half of the country has, so I guess we gave in to peer pressure?
The first one was sent to us by one of my coworkers. We were talking about the puzzles his family was doing, and I mentioned that unfortunately we hadn’t been able to get one before the lockdown. So he mailed us one. He’s such a sweet guy!
Or evil. Because that puzzle was maddening. So. many. browns. But that meant we were super proud when we finished it without setting it on fire out of frustration.
The second one went more easily, probably because there just weren’t as many goddamn browns. Plus the houses helped break up some of the repeated colors abundance of green and red. The reflection in the lake was a bear, though.
I got two more 500-piece puzzles for $0.99 each at Saver’s 50% off day. We finished one, though once again the repeat and gradients of a single color (this time green) were maddening.
I have two 500-piece puzzles left. (I found one at a Goodwill, which we were going past on the way to an errand.) So we still have some material.
I think I’ll be able to continue with puzzles after Mom leaves. That’ll help keep me preoccupied, which is always good. And it keeps my hands busy, which means I do less eating out of boredom.
Of course, this means occasional trips to the thrift store to get more puzzles, which is less than ideal. But the puzzles should last longer when it’s just me working on one. So hopefully, trips to the store won’t be too frequent.
I gained somewhere around five to seven pounds from stress eating in the early days of the pandemic. It’s been hard to stick to my diet — I’m still not great at it — but I’m getting a little better at limiting my calories to less than I’m burning. So while it’s slower than I’d like, I’ve lost a couple of the pounds so far.
Also, I’m back into working out relatively regularly.
I say “relatively” because I’ve had weird breathing issues — and have for like two months now. I’ve been assuming that it’s pollen based (apparently we’re having a mega-allergens season this year), but I’d also been kicking around the idea that it could be adult-onset asthma. Two of my readers chimed in the same thing.
So just to be safe, I’ll make an appointment with a pulmonologist. I’m hoping it’s just allergies, but asthma does run in my family. Obviously, I’d prefer to not have a chronic condition, though. Especially during a respiratory condition pandemic.
But one way or the other, I’m guessing I’ll end up with a rescue inhaler. And I’m already being pretty careful about (and during) trips out of the house. So not much would change in my life, I suppose.
All in all
So, there are good things going on, I swear.
But in my defense there is a lot of bad stuff going on. And unfortunately I predict, more is yet to come — at least based on all the videos of people milling around without masks on in newly reopened restaurants and such.
Still, I’ll do my best to post about the good stuff as it happens. Just so I don’t make us want to stick our collective heads in the oven.
Anyone else have good news to report?