It’s been 2 weeks since I’ve been in quarantine. I was handing it well. Until yesterday. Yesterday, I woke up early and went to the grocery store. After arriving, I saw roughly 40 other people who had the same plan as I had–arrive early, get in and get out swiftly. Almost instantly, my excitement for our weekly outing disappeared. I wasn’t prepared for the visual changes that had taken place in just 7 days.
80% of the people were wearing masks. Some real, but most were made from whatever they could find. A scarf. A towel. And some fabrics that I couldn’t recognize. It felt eerie. Much more terrifying than the empty streets. I carried a headwrap and put it over my face a few times because I caught the fear from people’s eyes. It was more contagious than Coronavirus. I became scared because everyone around me was.
I didn’t expect the trip to the grocery store to remind me that within a week, more people had caught COVID-19 than last week. I didn’t know that the trip would remind me that within a week, more people had died from COVID-19 than last week. Most alarming was that it reminded me that I have a comprised immune system and I am closer to being exposed to Coronavirus this grocery store run than I was at last week’s. I became hypervigilant. Which caused my blood sugar to spike. The cashiers now wear face shields. Their usual greetings were said to customers at checkout, but not with the same vitality and friendliness.
My husband reminded me while shopping, “Phyllisa be careful of everything you touch.” I responded, “I know!” But the truth is, it was too much for me to process at once. I felt unprepared to witness this new normal. When we got home and put the groceries away, I sat on the sofa and just stared in the distance. He asked what was wrong, but there were so many thoughts competing for attention, I couldn’t grab one and tell him that I was thinking about that. I was thinking about everything. My insulin supply, ventilators, how much longer will it be like this, the rising deaths in Italy, the Americans not taking it seriously, my friends in China who are no longer in quarantine, my friends who can’t attend the funerals of loved ones right now because funerals are banned as well air travel. One thought melted into another one.
I didn’t sleep well last night. Nor did I sleep well the night before when it was announced that we would have another 2 weeks of quarantine. I tossed all night processing another two weeks. I barely made it through the first two weeks.
This morning it clicked. One sleepless night has become 2. My blood sugars haven’t been leveled these past two days. My anxiety is slowing increasing. These are my signs when I’m slowly unraveling.
Through counseling, I’ve learned to check in with myself and recognize when a pattern is brewing. It’s much easier to avoid a storm than to smolder one. So, today, I decided that I will
-listen to my favorite songs,
-go outside and let my feet touch the grass as a reminder that I am planted and where I need to be in the moment,
-pray. For me, you, and the world,
-limit social media,
-eat a good meal with healthy portions and take the correct amount of insulin,
-take a long shower tonight and release negative thoughts,
-fall asleep watching a comedy.
I hope you are doing wellness checks on yourself. Know your signs. Know what unraveling looks and feels like for you. While it’s good to know that we aren’t alone, we are individuals who have different breaking points. Please know when you’re unraveling so that you can stay away from your breaking point.
Today, I’ll start making a list of what surviving two more weeks looks like for me. Staying healthy is my top priority. If you have any suggestions, please leave them in the comments.