Drowning In Our Difficult Feelings
By Melissa Moore on April 15, 2020
Fear, anxiety, depression, loneliness…whatever you may be dealing with right now may feel extra intense thanks to Covid-19. Maybe you’ve never experienced these feelings before and they’ve hit you out of nowhere. Everywhere I turn I see people feeling all their feelings during this quarantine and some feel like they’re drowning in them. I look at us like we’re a cast iron skillet getting cleaned. All of our ‘stuff’ was there already stuck to us. To get rid of it, the pot had to be filled with water and the heat turned on. The heat and water combined loosen up the stuff stuck to the pan and it floats to the top. Then we have to carefully scrap off the stuff still stuck- but loosened and discard of it and the water. What’s left is a ‘new again’ pan ready to start the next adventure. For whatever reasons – we’re being put under fire and getting transformed these days. Our feelings, fears and everything in between are bubbling to the surface and it’s overwhelming at times. It might even feel scary to feel feelings you didn’t know you had.
Before this pandemic I would have thought I could totally rock being quarantined. I’m a strong, independent woman who enjoys her ‘me’ time- so this should be my jam. I was wrong. Hugely wrong. I have learned that I thrive on schedules and being busy. I do love being alone when it’s my choice, BUT NOT when it’s forced on me. Restaurants, movie theaters, getting together with friends are all luxuries that I had never seen in that light before this happened. The weekends I don’t have my daughter are brutally difficult. They are the only two days that I don’t have to take care of another human or have somewhere I have to go. Doing nothing- that just feeds my anxiety which then fuels guilt for doing nothing and loneliness that I am doing this solo. I have felt shame that I am not conquering this quarantining thing better. I have felt that I should excel at anything I put my mind to. That just hasn’t been my reality. I have outwardly powered through- but the stress has gotten to me. I’ve had eye twitches, crazy dreams, waking up numerous times in the night and night sweats (nope not menopause- but thanks ;). Just like the crud on a used cast iron pan, all my stuff has floated to the surface.
I called my therapist friend and she asked how I was doing. At first, I answered I think I’m okay. Well, I’m feeling some anxiety, not sleeping well and my eye twitches, but I’m okay. I see her pause (because we’re on FaceTime) and she says, well it sounds like you’re quite stressed. Yea- I guess I am kind of stressed, but I’m exercising and eating healthy so I don’t get it. We talked through all that I had going on and during the unpacking of my life she tells me that I have a lot going on. It was like I needed her reflection of my life to justify feeling stressed, lonely and at times irritable. I’m usually pretty upbeat and easy going- irritable, anxious, and emotionally lonely- ugh. This new normal me is feeling feelings too much in my opinion.
I wish I had some secret to share with you about all of this. I wish I knew when we could get back to our ‘normal’ and when this would be over. I dream of going out to restaurants and sitting on the patio. I envision rescheduling my vacation and the long drive out to DIA. I dream of all the things that I want to do when life starts looking like my normal again. I also know that it may be quite a while for some of those things to happen. For now, I keep doing the next right thing. I keep feeling the feelings and remind myself that I can’t drown during a sad day. It’s just a day- and that my gratitude list is long. I now find pleasure in little things- getting a Starbucks, running my car through the car wash- finding a grocery store aisle stocked. On my difficult days- hours- for me a change of scenery helps. That’s why I’ve become a walker. I walk, walk, walk until I can take a deep breath and see the beauty again. Love you all- we will get through this. Xoxo