One minute I’m in my kitchen just cooking away. The next, I’m doubled over, yelling into my hands, trying to expel the anxiety that has collected in my chest. (Don’t worry…I washed my hands afterwards.)
Do you know what it’s like to feel absolutely fine one second, and the next, feel like you are exploding out of your skin with every emotion in the book? Welcome to my Monday afternoon.
I have been doing so good. I have been holding myself together and (should I even say it?) have actually found some pleasure in the simplicity that isolation has brought. I haven’t had to question what to do next within my day to day. I’ve been cooking, cleaning, working, building a garden, tending to my yard, making art, and taking care of my family. Life is full.
Monotony has its perks.
As much as I long to make it to the beach to surf, I must admit that not having to prepare for long weekends, and instead, spending those weekends tending to my home and family have felt, in a way, rather liberating. There’s no juggling of schedules. There’s no cramming two days of work into one so I can surf when the swell calls. Everything has just slowed down. The clearness of the days is bright. Monotony has its perks.
Then, over the past couple of days, it seems that things are beginning to ease up a bit. In some states, beaches are opening and non-essential businesses are being given the green light. Good news right? Well…not for my anxiety. Yesterday was my first true attack since this shit started.
All of a sudden, tears exploded from my eyes and the sound that escaped my throat was something that can only be compared to terror mixed with extreme dread.
I was in my kitchen making banana bread for my Mom and salads for the week, when it hit. All of a sudden, tears exploded from my eyes and the sound that escaped my throat was something that can only be compared to terror mixed with extreme dread.
All of the windows and doors in my house were open, and I hope I didn’t scare anyone walking by, but it could not be contained. It was fast and furious. I went from fine one second, to standing up crying, to doubled over yelling within two seconds. And before I knew it, it was over.
When it happened, I managed to notice a few things. One is that in my head, for the first time during an acute anxiety attack like this one, my brain activity went from a million topics at once to one: “It’s ok, Girl. This will pass. Don’t hold it in. Let it out and let it out good.” That’s about when the howling started.
I also noticed that it was one of the first times since we have been self-isolating, that I was home completely alone for an extended period of time. Being alone gave me the freedom to let it out as it needed to come out. I didn’t have to go run a shower and cry all quiet. I could let it rip and man, did it ever. Short, but intense.
I realize that the easing up of restrictions, and the invitations that followed, actually created more stress and anxiety than staying home has.
I realize that the easing up of restrictions, and the invitations that followed, actually created more stress and anxiety than staying home has. Within two days, I had been invited to Costa Rica (for June) and found a loop hole regarding going to the coast to surf. Normally I would be shouting with excitement about these two opportunities. But not right now.
Right now, I’m understanding that the easing up of the lock down, and the options that are coming with that easing, is what caused my anxiety attack. Not the lock down itself, but the possibility of being freed. I have to admit that I may not be ready to be completely free.
I may not be ready to be completely free.
I guess this is where we are all going to have to make our own individual decisions based on our comfort level, and we should all feel completely ok with doing what feels best for us as individuals. Members of our own families may feel differently, and that’s ok.
This is going to be a practice in flexibility, tolerance, and understanding. For me, I’m quite alright hanging around the house for another couple of weeks. What I don’t want to be is part the reason for a resurgence of cases that spikes our now official state wide flattened Covid19 curve. I want nothin' to do with that.
I have finally gotten into a groove with work. I’m exercising every day. I’m meditating most mornings. I’m making new art. My backyard is finally completely finished with the addition of a raised vegetable garden. In a way, I don’t want to go back to the way it was before. The complexities of my pre-covid life was stressful.
I have to let this new normal bloom.
Things have changed for me, as it has for all of us. But I find that I’m really quite ok with the changes. I have to let this new normal bloom. No resistance. Spring is here in the Rogue valley. It has been absolutely stunning.
I have felt blessed during this time. To be where we are. To have the jobs that we do. To be stuck in a house with people that I love and want to spend time with. I continue to focus on the silver linings and I don’t have any sort of grip on my past life, except that I really want to go surfing again soon. Every day, more and more people feel safe doing so. I’m waiting until I do too.
How are you feeling about easing out of this mess? Scared? Antsy? Impatient? Excited? In the comments, give me one word that describes how the idea of no longer self-isolating makes your feel.
The image at top is Heart Flower 7, 6”x6”, Acrylic and Paper Hearts on Canvas. Just as Spring has sprung, we must let this new normal bloom. These heart flowers are a wonderful Mother’s Day gift. Click here to purchase a one-of-a-kind Heart Flower painting for Mom by CLICKING HERE. I'll even write a hand-written Mother's Day card from you.
I am an artist and writer, living in Talent, Oregon with my husband and daughter. I use creativity to break through anxiety paralysis, I play in the ocean to stay strong and inspired, and I often visit my hometown of New Orleans, where the rhythm of my heartbeat is renewed. Follow me on Facebook and Instagram where I post stuff sometimes. To hear from me more regularly, join me on this Crazy, Beautiful Artventure.