Isolation, Coping, and Sewing

4DF5C63B-D053-45F4-8151-3C4DAF086344If anyone would have said at the beginning of the year that  we would all be spending weeks if not months isolating ourselves from each other and fighting over toilet paper I would have flat out laughed in their face, but here we are.

I’m not going to spend the time rehashing what’s going on out there, unless you just wandered out of the wilderness after months of being disconnected from the world.  If that’s the case, thank you for reading the blog, but you might want to go catch up on some news and come back later.

Jokes aside, all of us are going through varying levels of psychological trauma, a lot of things where thrown at us really quickly, and unless you completely disconnect from all media there’s no escaping the constant barrage of all things Covid-19.   I am by no means a mental health professional, but while many of us are trying to stay physically healthy, it’s just as important to take care of yourself mentally and emotionally.  I’m seeing the signs in too many of the people I care about through their social media behaviors, that people are beginning to struggle with the dramatic change in habits that have been forced on us.

I began the social distancing guidelines a little more than two weeks ago.  I’ve noticed my own anxiety levels going through the roof some days.  I’ve caught myself obsessing over the news feeds.  A few very unproductive work days.   I’ve had the sleepless nights, and multiple other symptoms that the fun general anxiety disorder I have has tried to take over, but this is something I’m very aware of in myself and if I recognize the issues early enough I can reign it back it before the physical panic kicks in; you know, the exciting stuff, like rapid heart rates, accelerated breathing, the urge to fight anything in the room, panic attacks are a blast.  I’ve had years of practice on managing this, so I’m a little ahead of the curve.

Just know one we’re all going through some scary shit right now and it’s okay to not be perfect.  The entire world is in a crisis, and will be for a while longer. We all have one job, stay healthy, and try to keep others healthy.

Take care of yourself and those in your household.  Make sure you eat, drink water, take your meds, get a little exercise.  Some areas are stricter on this than others get outside and get some fresh air and sunlight everyday, that action is a natural mood elevator.  Take a walk down the street (distance managed of course) or even just sit in your yard for a minute.   If you can’t get outside, at least open a window and sit by it for a bit.

If you are going through this with others in your household, there are going to be arguments, ugly things may get said.  Take a deep breath, and realize, that the hurtful things may have been fueled by stress and anxiety.  Only you know what your usual relationship dynamic is, but just because the world is scary right now, you do not need to tolerate an emotional of physically abusive relationship.

No matter how hard you try, you can’t make your current situation mirror your normal routines, and trying to force that on yourself may be doing more damage than good.  Although keeping a schedule is good, don’t beat yourself up if you can’t manage it for one reason or another.  It’s okay to let a few things slide.  The current goal is just to make it through the other side of all this mess.

This is a big one for me, and probably a lot of the demographic that reads this jumble of words.  CREATE!  Literally anything creative is an amazing thing to do for your emotional health right now.  I’ve taken up sewing masks and cut way back on the knitting, for two reasons.  The first, to fulfill the need to create, and second, to fulfill the urge to help in some way.  Between the shortage at medical facilities and the evolving opinion that we should all be wearing masks when outside the safety of our homes, there’s no shortage of need.  I can’t sit at home and feel like I’m doing nothing, despite the fact that staying at home is actually doing something right now.

Stay in touch with your family and friends.  Text messages and phone calls aren’t as fulfilling as seeing people in person, but it’s better than completely isolating yourself from everyone.  Even the most introverted of introverts need human contact, we’re social animals.

If you find that you are feeling angry all the time, can’t make yourself get out of bed in the morning, aren’t sleeping at all, find yourself having extreme mood swings, or feel like you can’t keep doing this, by all means reach out to someone.  I know the medical community is swamped right now but call your doctor, call a mental health professional, there’s even online counseling services, or call the suicide prevention hotline (1-800-273-8255) there is help out there.  Do not let your mental health put you physical health in danger.

Until next time, stay safe, stay healthy, and be kind.

 

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