This past week has been…I don’t know how to describe it. A whirlwind of ups and downs, difficult, draining, exhausting, a blur. Time seemed to speed ahead while at the same time it seemed like it lasted forever. From the people I’ve talked to, this week has been the roughest so far for a lot of people.
I’ll start with the negatives and end with the positives, because I believe that’s the best way to approach things. The negatives are also harder to put into words, much more abstract. I’ve been clinging to these tangible positives that I’ll talk about in later order to get through these intangible emotions, the heavy weight of fear, dread, and sadness that is blanketing much of the world right now. Humans have never done well with uncertainty. And it’s that very fact that assures me that we will get through this, because there are many people who won’t rest until this has been solved, until a proper treatment and vaccine has been created. For now we wait, which is another thing we humans aren’t very good at. But I digress.
As I mentioned, the negatives of life right now are hard to explain. There have been a few tangible moments: trying to deal with health issues that could be resolved by a quick trip to the clinic but instead are creating an undue amount of stress; finding out that my boyfriend’s mother’s partner (that’s a mouthful) went to work where someone was confirmed positive and yesterday finding out that his very immunocompromised mother now has a fever; learning about the virus projections and death tolls. And a few more tangible emotions: worrying about my grandparents in their nursing homes; worrying about my father who is recovering from a brain injury; the fear that something bad could happen to someone I love now seeming more real than it used to.
Even during moments when everything seems fine and the realities of the pandemic seem farther away, there is still the constantly nagging sense in the back of my mind that reminds me that something isn’t quite right, the altered routines, and the extra fatigue slowing me down. It’s mornings where it’s harder to get out of bed and the nights where no amount of exhaustion will help you fall asleep.
These are things that many of us are experiencing right now, and I want you to know two things: 1) you are not alone, and 2) it is okay to be going through a rough time. You don’t need to be positive all the time. Don’t repress your emotions, don’t force yourself to be looking on the bright-side and following every self-care step ever written at every moment of the day. Let yourself feel. Let yourself grieve the life you are no longer living. Let yourself feel the sadness and the fear. Let yourself fall apart.
And then you can pull yourself back together again to face another day.
I’ve been feeling a lot of guilt about the fact that good things are still happening for me right now, which is not something any of us should be putting ourselves through. Just because other people are going through hard times doesn’t mean you have to be feeling bad at all times too. That’s why we’ve been talking about self-care and coping mechanisms so much – so you can make your situation as good as it possibly can be. It’s important to be grateful right now. I’m grateful that this week my roommate was able to come home, so I have my best friend and our two other kitties back in my home. I’m grateful that my partner has been social distancing at my apartment, so I don’t have to be separate from him. I’m grateful that I still have two jobs that I’m able to do from home, and I’m grateful that this week I found out that I will also have full-time employment over the summer, having been awarded with an amazing internship I had worked extremely hard applying for. I’m grateful that the weather is getting nice, so I can soak up as much sunlight and fresh air as I can through my windows and from my balcony. I’m grateful that something good has come from my years dealing with extreme depression, because now I know how to keep myself mentally healthy through crises. I’m grateful I don’t need to be alone in isolation.
Lately, I’ve been getting more in touch with the way I feel about life, and what my personal beliefs and philosophies are. During hard times where we have little control over our lives, faith often comes forward to provide comfort. I’m not a religious person, but I’ve wrapped myself in the cozy blanket of my belief that everything will be okay: the world will keep spinning, and life will continue. Humanity has gone through many horrible things and survived. Like the shirt I’m currently wearing says, “life finds a way” (Thank you for that tidbit of wisdom, Dr. Ian Malcolm). For my roommate, this comfort comes in the mantra of “this too shall pass.” For others it is “Tomorrow is a new day.” Having faith doesn’t need to be a religious act, but it is always a comforting one.
I thought about giving you a list of the things I’ve been doing to keep myself sane but I have already given you those in my Week 1 and Week 2 diary entries, so I won’t bother repeating myself. Instead, I will leave you with these parting thoughts:
- Your feelings are valid, whatever they are, and
- Today will end, and tomorrow will still come.
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