My life since COVID became a pandemic; March-Sept

Saturday, 26 September 2020

First off I want to preface by saying that I don't want to offend anyone who has actually experienced COVID or knows someone who died from it. I know my experience is quite minimal in comparison, but the reason I'm writing this blog post is more for me and my own memories. I wanted something I could look back on in years' time to remember when our world effectively changed, and what I did during that time. Also, I promise I won't be talking much more about COVID after this post. I might do an updated version of this post in a few months depending on how the second wave goes because a second wave is coming, if not already here.


Back in late Jan-early Feb, everyone in my household was really sick. While I know that usually happens at some point where it's a ripple effect when living together that when one gets sick eventually all do. But this felt different somehow. I just remember it was the worst flu I'd ever had, and it spread so quickly in my house, faster than other flu's. I'm not saying we had COVID, I'm not a professional and would never have any way of knowing. But with the theory that COVID was here before March, you never really know. But other than that, I was just going about my regular routine at this point in time with work and home life, but I was so optimistic about the year. I had achieved a major life goal at the end of December with getting my license. So at the start of the new year, I was feeling ready to take on more, and work towards more life goals. Obviously that all came to a screeching halt.


At work, I remember the week before we closed, we were meant to be prepping for March Break events for the kids department all week. It was during one of those prep days that we had learned of the school closures. That was when we were started wondering if we were even going to be hosting March Break events. Not long after the events were canceled. It felt like each day more and more were closing all around us that it felt like only a matter of time before my store closed to. I work in a bookstore, so we're considered non-essential. March 17, we were overstaffed because it was the week of March Break which in years past is always a busy time. So, I wasn't needed on the floor so I ended up getting to clean up our break room, mainly the kitchen area. If you ask me to clean and organize, I'm there and I go all in. It was while I was happily cleaning that one of my managers came in to inform myself and a few others who were either on break or starting their shifts that we would be closing. I remember at the time our original plan was to be closed for 9 days. Deep down I didn't think it was going to be 9 days, but I didn't think it was going to be 2 months either. It was so weird to be working knowing that at the end of the day that day our work lives were about to change. 

Two days after we closed, I got sick again. I spent all day sleeping one day which isn't like me, even when I'm sick. When I'm sick, I'll still get up for dinner and attempt to eat or I'll go lie on the couch to get out of my room in the evenings. But not this day, when I say I slept all day I mean I slept all day. It was concerning in lieu of the circumstances but I ended up being fine a few days later, so that was a relief. After that, I spent the rest of March only going out to either walk my dog, Bella or occasionally going to the grocery store for food or the drug store to get my prescriptions. Making any public trips as quick as possible.


The Animal Crossing obsession begins! On April 1st, I went out on a whim to Wal-Mart to see if they had any Nintendo Switches. There was a massive shortage going on for them. But luck was on my side that day, the Wal-Mart I went to had just got a restock that day so I bought my Switch and game, and it completely took over my life. It was the best distraction, to say the least. My days were filled with walking Bella and playing Animal Crossing. Again, I would still have to make my quick trips to the grocery and drug stores. But other than that, I didn't want to be out in public and tried to avoid it as much as possible. 


By the time May rolled around, I was starting to get a little stir crazy. I was missing my workplace, and seeing my co-workers and managers. I was eager to go back without putting much thought into what going back would entail. I got called back in the middle of May, a week before we opened to the public. It was a massive adjustment to going from wearing a mask for at most half an hour in a grocery store to 4-8 hours depending on my shift. But to me, that wasn't the worst of it. The worst came when we opened our doors to the public, having to officially adjust to new safety rules and precautions. It was a lot to take at first, but I thought I could handle it. I was wrong.


I'm just going to mash these last 4 months into one. The longer we were opening and getting our bearings, the more the public became a daily occurrence of someone or multiple someones not talking the pandemic seriously which in turn made my anxiety spike so high that I didn't know what to think or how to handle it. Before this, I thought I was getting into a really good place with my anxiety disorder. It wasn't great, but I had a handle on it and was managing it pretty well. All that work of getting to that place plummeted this year, during this time. It was, it is discouraging and I do feel very disappointed in myself. It feels like when you work so hard to get yourself up to a certain level, but one wrong step and you're back at zero. I started to become very agitated, very irritable, and very sensitive to every little thing. It was negatively affecting the two main aspects of my life; my work life and my home life. I won't go into too much detail since I did that in my last post. But suffice to say, I'm still working on it.

Father's Day was the worst for me this year. I always miss my Dad, but this year something snapped in me and I had one of the worst breakdowns I've had in a long time. I think I just wish my Dad was here to give his perspective on all of this. He always had a way of easing the tension and making me see things differently. I need that, I need him, now more than ever. It was after Father's Day that I felt I lost my handle on everything. In August, I took a 2-week stay-cation from work in the hopes that it would help give me a fresh start, but it didn't turn out the way I had hoped. It took me out of that environment for 2 weeks, but it didn't alleviate my anxiety and stress over constantly being in the public for hours. 

Now here we were, near the end of September. Sometimes I have good days, sometimes I have bad days, and sometimes I have really bad days. There's no predictability to it, I don't know what my days going to be like, what's going to set my anxiety off. All I can do is keep trying. I don't know when I'll feel like I'll have a handle on my anxiety again, I suspect it will take me a while. But I'm determined to get there. I want to feel reliable again like I can be depended on. Right now, I don't feel that way.

I'm hoping that if I do an update on this post that I'll feel more uplifted than I've been feeling the last few months. But for now, this is where I'm at. How about you? How has COVID affected you? Let me know in the comments below.

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