Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Another Week of Solitude

Another week... For the most part, my computer issues have stayed away (though I still haven't fixed those small other issues I found). However, the virus hasn't. My older brother was diagnosed on Monday after starting to show symptoms last Thursday night. His girlfriend started showing symptoms yesterday.

I'm still thankful... it looks like he's going to have a relatively mild case. He's had no breathing issues and his fever never got that high (it's been about like a seasonal flu in his case). He hasn't had to stay in bed all day, every day. He was able to "attend" our family's virtual Easter get-together and he seemed to be fine (even though we all knew he wasn't).

That said, it's still been difficult. He was over at our house to eat supper with us the same evening he started showing symptoms. My 82-year-old parents and I have now definitely been exposed. So it's the waiting game the whole world has been playing... waiting to see if we get it; waiting to see if we are the lucky ones that have it mildly; waiting to see if we may have infected someone else... but now the game's on hyperdrive.

My anxiety and depression have been constant companions during the quarantine but now they are also on hyperdrive. At least they've taken turns fighting for which one is in charge each day. Anxiety took the lead and pulled way ahead after we first realized my brother was symptomatic. Then Anxiety went into cruise mode and wasn't doing anything remarkable - just still there, holding his own by steadily whispering random thoughts and worries straight into my ear...

"What will we do if he gets sicker? He lives alone - are you guys going to just let him fight this out himself or will you go help him, though that would be risking your own lives? What will we do if one of us gets sick? What will you do if you've infected someone else you love? How are you going to be able to live with that guilt?" (I did see my boyfriend and daughter over the weekend because I thought I might lose it if I didn't see some friendly faces.)

Ironically, Anxiety wasn't worried about keeping the lead in the race, so Depression (which usually doesn't care about winning - it's all she can do to enter the race and just get started) zoomed ahead into first place. She caused me to feel numb and not care, after Anxiety had made me care too much. She kept that first-place pace for a while and her whispers were more like yelling...

"Why even try?! What good will it do?! If your brother can get sick when he was so careful and interacted with almost no-one, then what kind of chance do you and your parents have when you guys are high risk and he isn't?! You are never going to get the things done you wanted to do during this time, so why even work on them?! You might as well give up on addiction recovery, too, while we are at it! You'll never see any real progress there, especially with the food addiction! It's just too hard! You can't do it!"

Then there was the late entry from the twins... Insomnia and Exhaustion. They must be drinking major energy drinks, because they found the reserves somewhere to recently speed past Anxiety and even overtake Depression. Maybe it's because they work together and can take turns driving and also because they are focusing on driving instead of talking to me, but it doesn't matter why - they are definitely in the lead at this point.

When I am able to fight off the monologues by Anxiety and Depression and try to get something done, Insomnia and Exhausted make that work time much shorter than I'd like. Exhaustion makes me fall asleep at my desk; fall asleep in the tub; fall asleep when eating meals... then his twin, Insomnia, jumps in so that the only time I don't fall asleep and stay asleep is at night, in bed.

Somehow I've got to learn to withdraw from this particular race because I know that there's no way I - Tracy - can win when these opponents are so strong.

Maybe withdrawing isn't the answer, though. Maybe I need a yellow flag - and resign myself to last place for the duration of the race (pandemic quarantine). If Exhaustion is in the lead, I need to take a nap without guilt. If Insomnia, then a middle-of-the-night cleaning binge or other similar work is okay. If Anxiety is whispering constantly, instead of fighting the thoughts, I need to make a plan, knowing that I can change it if needed. If Depression is yelling, then to quiet her down, I can answer with things I am thankful for and that are going okay, if not "great."

If I recognize that they have superior cars, pit crews, and probably cheat a lot, and try not to win this particular race, just maybe it will be enough to keep going with life until life gets back to whatever normal is.






Thursday, April 9, 2020

About a Month into Quarantine...

From my best guess (I didn't write it down), I started trying to stay home around March 12. Today is April 9 so it's been almost a month since I've been at home.

I haven't been at home all day every day during that time. At first, I did go to a few places where I stayed away from crowds but still got out of my house. But the majority of the days I have stayed home. There were a few days that I thought I was coming down with COVID-19 and, to keep my family safe, I stayed in my suite (which thankfully has a bathroom.)

I am a freelancer/gig worker. I'll do just about anything legal to make money but my jobs boil down to basically 4 things - photographer, Uber/Lyft driver, mystery shopper, and writer with writing being the thing I did the least of... until this month.

Now writing has kept me going as it's not safe to do any of the other jobs since both I and my family are all high risk to catch COVID-19. The only problem with it is that I only have had a few articles that I have been able to write, as I'm just a new writer and don't have a lot of contacts at this point.

But it really hasn't mattered as I've had MAJOR computer issues that started not long before all this happened. I have spent 5-6 hours a day many days of the quarantine working on trying to fix these issues. I still haven't gotten them all fixed but I do have enough fixed that now I can generally work doing more than troubleshooting issues.

It's been frustrating, to say the least. When I first heard about staying home, there was a tiny part of me (NOT the financial part) that was excited that I "had" to stay home. I have so many projects that I had been putting off because I just haven't had the time that I hoped to get done.

Then the tech issues got worse and couldn't be ignored. So my focus had to shift to fixing them. Each day I would cross only one thing off my list, if that. The only thing that had been keeping up my morale was that I could get that original list accomplished before life got back to normal and that wasn't happening.

I went into a deep depression but the determination to win over these stupid computer issues kept me from staying in bed all day like I wanted to. I kept heading to the computer each morning, trying new things or trying old things again but hoping they would work this time.

This past Monday I finally got most of the issues fixed. I'm still dealing with some of them, but I'm taking them slowly because they aren't integral to day-to-day computer tasks.

My mood has been better because now I can actually see some progress on the things I wanted to get done. It's still not great, though, because I'm exhausted from all of that effort plus anxiety over what's going on in the world.

But, for today, I'm thankful I can use my computer without too many issues and no-one I love is sick. And that's good enough.