At the start of this quarantine, I thought to myself, “this is good, this will be good, like when have we ever had a pause? When have we ever had the time to slow down and just stay home because we are always on the go?” And 3 weeks in of working from home, while teaching my 6-year-old and finishing up my Master’s Degree, it was getting to me.
I was enjoying that right after I finished my work, I was able to get dinner started early, start my homework, and have more time available to do whatever I wanted. While working, I was helping my daughter with her school work because I needed the afternoons to do my own school work. During my morning break, I would take a walk around my apartment complex with my daughter, get fresh air, and give her a break from being stuck inside. During my afternoon breaks, I would do quick exercises. My husband bought me a treadmill, so I started running or power walking, about 3 times per week. I was reading more, still doing my daily bible readings, praying, devotionals, listening to praise & worship music, meditation, still listening to podcasts, but I wasn’t writing as much, for some reason, I couldn’t find any inspiration, and I didn’t want to write about COVID-19 because that’s what you saw EVERYWHERE.
Right off the bat, I decided that I would take a break from social media. I mainly did it because I kept seeing negative comments, posts, people arguing, posting the same article on all different platforms, and it was getting to be too much for me. I took about a 2-week break straight of not going into social media at all, and then I started to go on like 2 or 3 times a week. That was different for me because I’m very active on social media, but since I knew I would be at home all day, I didn’t want to spend the majority of my time on my phone, especially since all I was seeing was negativity.
Quickly, I realized that once you’re off social media, not that many people check up on you. Although, you would hear on the TV or radio, etc., “check up on your loved us, connect with each other, and we are in this together,” it didn’t seem that way to me. I’d sent a few text messages to my friends, making sure they were okay because this pandemic is global; it is affecting everyone in the world. So, even family members in the Dominican Republic, I was texting to see how they were doing, but for some reason, I felt like no one was checking up on me.
My husband noticed the change in me right away, and he suggested I start therapy again. The very next day, I received an email from BetterHelp.com offering me free therapy sessions until the end of April. I signed up, and they connected me with a therapist fairly quickly. I had emailed customer support asking If I could be connected with the therapist I had worked with before, but they told me she was unavailable at this time, so I worked with the one who they connected me with.
She asked me if there were friendships or people I used to talk to every day but no longer speaking to once the quarantine started? I told her that not really, I still text the people I usually talk to on a daily. She asked if I was still connected with my parents, and I told her yes, we talk, or call each other on the video chat. I told her I was off social media and that I was still doing things I ‘enjoy’ doing, so I’m not sure why I was feeling like this. She told me that it seemed like something was missing – there was a connection I needed that was missing. I do remember my old therapist explaining to me that my depression was situational, and what was happening now completely changed my life, it makes sense as to why it’s come back again. But what was frustrating is thinking, “I’m healthy, my family is healthy, we are safe, my husband and I are both working, there are people who are sick, and others are losing family members so why am I feeling like this?”
Speaking to the therapist did help, but once April ended, I closed my account, and I felt like I didn’t need it anymore since I was good for like 2 weeks. I had finished my Master’s Degree at the end of April, so now I had even more time to do things. But another struggle during this time was parenting. Oh my goodness, the battles I’ve had with my daughter, it felt like it was endless. I didn’t want to be too hard on her because she’s stuck inside, and for a child, that is not easy, but I also didn’t want her to keep disrespecting me by not listening to me or talking back. I tried taking away her tablet, that didn’t help, I tried time-outs, that didn’t help, she was “grounded” that didn’t help, I eventually had to take everything, all her privileges away. That meant, no coloring, no books, no tablet, no TV, no playing with her toys, nothing. She had to earn everything back, and she spent a whole day sitting next to me on the couch, doing, you guessed it, NOTHING. Towards the early afternoon, she told me she was bored, and I was like I know, it’s not fun, is it? She eventually gained her stuff back, and she’s doing much better now. But on top of everything else that was going on, I was trying to figure out how to approach the disrespect I was getting from my daughter.
All this to say that I’ve had a panic attack, I’ve had a few breakdowns, I’ve had moments where I felt so blessed, and moments where I didn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, but here I am writing my journey through quarantine. Things will not get back to ‘normal’ we will have a new ‘normal’ and we will have to adapt to the changes. We all deal with changes differently and our bodies react differently too, but we have to listen to our bodies and know when to ask for help.
If you are struggling through his pandemic please know that there are resources out there to help. Seek help, ask someone, but please do not struggle alone, you are not alone.
When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
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