Hi! Who are the ten people who visit this site every day? I was really surprised to see my blog still gets views, despite being super inactive this year.
I’m sitting here with an everything bagel and glass of water, thinking about how fitting it is to have such an unappetizing pair for breakfast. I feel like, as a writer, I should embellish and talk about drinking something more beautiful like a hot cup of coffee — water just doesn’t sound as poetic as the power couple of coffee and a bagel. It’s very 2020 to just be real and not try to make things seem better than they are. This was a very real year, and I have appreciated all the honesty we’ve seen.
2020 has clearly been super weird, with lots of highs and lows. As someone who does have a chronic illness to monitor, I have been conservative with COVID stuff, following the CDC’s guidelines, and embracing *~social distancing~* for what it is. I’ve acquired new hobbies at home, and decided that since cooking and eating go hand in hand, I want to be the best darn cook possible. I even mastered risotto last week, which was a major pain in the butt the first time I tried it.
Let me catch you up to date on where I am now. This year has been busy, despite spending it at home. We sold our house recently, and are full force shopping for a new home. Our dog, Jax, recently had surgery to remove what we now know is a stage 2 low grade mast cell tumor. I seem to have sympathy pains for Jax, as my Eustachian tube is blocked (seriously, tell me how to unclog a blocked Eustachian tube because it is driving me up a wall!) and just won’t go away. Jax has my heart and I would do anything for that pup. I am moving forward now and just doing all the practical things that need to be done for a dog with an issue like this. It’s funny how I can handle my own health problems better than my dog’s, but anyone who has had a pet understands I’m sure.
I turned 30 this year, and despite always saying that I didn’t think 30 seemed old, it feels weird. I can’t write about how I’m a “twentysomething” anymore, and it does feel like a new stage in life. Part of that is probably the nature of laying low this year, though.
2020 was hard, but I am grateful for health of myself and loved ones. Life becomes a lot simpler when you know what it’s like to lose something as basic as your health. It makes it easier to be thankful for little things, and not sweat the small stuff. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, even if it’s still a little ways away, and one day we’re going to remember some of the fonder memories from this year. We’ll remember trying new things to entertain ourselves at home, lots of quality time with a select few loved ones, why it’s important to cherish every moment we have on earth, and finally, that 2020 was the year of figuring out the secret to the perfect banana bread.
I usually do a “word of the year,” along with some small resolutions, but this year I am going to skip doing anything, and continue to take each day as it comes at me. Happy new year, and let’s hope that despite Netflix taking The Office away from us, we can make the most of our circumstances this year. I’m going to go make some coffee now, because it’s all I’ve been able to think about after rambling about my glass of water earlier.
I love Hallmark movies. They’re great because they’re lighthearted, you don’t have to pay attention the whole time you’re watching to understand what’s happening, and the conflict part of the movie is always so short that you don’t even start feeling bad for the characters before it’s all over.
Life is not a Hallmark movie. I am 29 and I know this by now, yet I still expect parts of it to have that cute Hallmark glimmer. Robert thinks this is funny because he knows when my mind starts working and picturing something we’re doing to turn into a Hallmark movie. For example, we went to a drive in movie one weekend and I was expecting to snuggle up close and hide behind him while watching back to back horror movies. Well, the sound in the car didn’t work for the first half of the better of the two movies, and I made such a ruckus when I had to get out of the car to go to the bathroom. It was embarrassing walking through a sea of cars back to the concession area, and it didn’t help that our truck lights would flash every time the door opened. It was still a lot of fun, but will take planning for next time to be more of a Pinterest drive in scene.
This brings me to my next Hallmark mission: “Kindling Love By The Campfire.” In English, this means going camping.
I haven’t been an outdoorsy girl in years, but now that I’m managing my POTS better I want to get out more.
The way I picture it:
We walk up to our campsite, which is a perfect circle with beautiful fall leaves surrounding the mulched campground. There is already a cute little spot for a bonfire that was left by another couple from the night before, and our tent is pitched in a matter of minutes. We put one fluffy sleeping bag that is built for two on top of the most comfortable down comforter you’ve ever seen that makes the mulch feel like a cloud. We laugh as we roast perfect s’mores, and eat a warm dinner we make on the campfire. Having a little romantic time in the tent and under the stars is perfect, but even in my Hallmark fantasy I wonder if the rocks will hurt my back… I think I chalk camping fun to being similar to shower fun — the idea of it is a lot better than the execution. Everyone knows it, too.
We have our own sleeping bags. If we did invest in the two person one, though, we would immediately regret it because the warmth of our bodies against each other is too much and we don’t have space to move away from each other when the kicking and elbowing begins. I don’t think sleeping will be easy while camping, and not because we’re off having fun doing other stuff, but because there’s no temperature regulation and there are bears in the woods. There will be animals, all of which I will assume is the rustling of a serial killer outside our tent. If you think I’m being paranoid, listen to the Park Predators podcast. You’ll never look at nature quite the same way. Being away from the city is actually quite terrifying.
The “mulch” I expect to be there is actually solid rock with some dirt with worms mixed into it. Speaking of worms, there are bugs everywhere. Mosquitoes bite our ankles and millipedes terrorize our tent. I cry as one crawls up my leg, and sleep with one eye open because of a spider the size of a golf ball that we saw earlier. There are no serial killers in the woods, but there are little animals that all give off grizzly bear vibes in the darkness outside our tent.
The one thing I am pretty certain of exceeding expectations is the s’mores. Maybe we won’t get a hot dinner and the trail mix will be filled to the brim with raisins and almonds when there should be mainly M&Ms with a couple of peanuts sprinkled in, but there’s nothing in the world like a good campfire s’more.
It’s weird seeing some of the parallels from my life when I suddenly got sick with a chronic, debilitating illness and the pandemic. People are describing emotions that the COVID-19 quarantine is bringing out that I felt when I suddenly got sick six years ago. I’ve been handling each step of the way a little better than you would expect from someone who does deal with anxiety, but after thinking about it a little, I attribute a lot of that to having experienced something that was, emotionally, kind of similar. Chronically ill people were prepared for this in a way that the regular population maybe wasn’t as much. Here are some thoughts I’ve had, both in isolating at home now, and back when I first got sick.
What would my life look like if it wasn’t for health concerns?
Back in the day I thought about this a lot because I was forced to give up my dream of continuing to work at my dream job. I had just completed the greatest internship of all time at Seventeen magazine in New York City, and was so excited to find a cozy (some might call it cramped) apartment to move to permanently. Instead of continuing on a normal path, though, I began fighting to have any taste of normalcy I could get. I got incredibly sick overnight and suddenly went from being a healthy 22-year-old to not being able to sit or stand without feeling dizzy or passing out. I was couch bound with the exception of going to the cardiologist or physical therapy to figure out how to begin my road to recovery.
Now I sometimes think about what the world would be like without all the corona craziness that’s going on. I would be able to see all of my friends and family, I would be able to go on normal date nights, and I would be able to continue to explore the world. I try to feel content being at home and remind myself how blessed I am to have my health and a few loved ones here with me. This time around, I’m just home bound — not tethered to the couch because of a lack of health. I’m trying to appreciate the fact that I am healthy during the pandemic, push myself to do yoga in the basement, and realize that things could be a whole lot worse. Not having a working body makes you feel so much more trapped than a comfortable home filled with food and an Internet connection.
This isn’t fair.
No, it’s not. I’ve learned a lot of things in life aren’t fair. It wasn’t fair that I had secured my dream job, only to be hit over the head with an illness that knocked me on my butt. I was angry because I had always taken good care of myself. I ran several days a week, played intramural sports throughout college, and ate well despite having a good enough metabolism not to. I never drank excessively and wasn’t really risky with anything that had to do with my health. I didn’t pay a crazy amount of attention to it because I didn’t have to, but I actually did a good job maintaining a very healthy lifestyle. I felt so frustrated that I had done everything right and ended up being the one person I knew who had a crazy, weird health problem happen to them. It didn’t feel real, but being sick was my new reality.
We need to have a new normal with the reality of the coronavirus pandemic. It sucks not being able to do our favorite activities or see friends and family, but taking up new hobbies and finding the bright side of things is so important for our mental health.
Having a chronic illness made me realize that even though there may be unfair things that happen to you that suck, there is always something to be joyful for. Back then I got to spend quality time with friends and family. I learned that I am a lot tougher than I ever thought, and I learned that I need to be thankful for every single thing I am able to do, because some people aren’t as lucky as me. I am also convinced that I would have never met my husband, had I not gotten sick with POTS. The only reason I wasn’t in New York was because I had to stay in the area, and who knows what my life would look like now if I had been there instead. These are all blessings that came from the hardest thing that ever happened to me.
When will this end?
When I got sick with POTS I was told so many different things. “This is your life now, you’re not getting better” was the first thing a nurse told me. Later I was reassured that a majority of people who get POTS when they are young get a whole lot better in time. Since POTS hasn’t been studied as long as other illnesses, there weren’t always answers to my questions, but luckily through lots of physical therapy, lifestyle changes, and time, I’ve made leaps and bounds and know how to manage my health. I have far, far less bad days than good ones now.
It’s absolutely devastating having your life turn upside down and your routine completely trashed. Anyone with a chronic illness will tell you this. We’ll also be there to reassure you, though, that just because things change drastically doesn’t mean they’re forever — but perhaps more important, it doesn’t mean you won’t have joy in your life or that you’re doomed to feeling the way you do today. People are adaptable and learn to adjust to their circumstances. If you had told me everything I was about to go through right before I got sick, I would have had an absolute meltdown. I wouldn’t have been able to deal with knowing I wouldn’t be able to merely stand up without passing out, but you know what? I got through it. I somehow managed being genuinely happy the years I couldn’t even stand up or have a single normal day. Did I mention during this time I couldn’t go to restaurants, I couldn’t shop for my own groceries, and I even had to be taken home from the movie theater because the room was violently spinning around me, just from sitting upright? Do you see a few parallels between being chronically ill and being stuck at home because of COVID-19? The biggest difference for me is the fact that this time around I can actually move around and be more active, and don’t feel sick all the freaking time.
Take it one day at a time.
The easiest way to do anything difficult is take it one day at a time. When I got sick, I didn’t let myself think about what it would be like in one, five, or ten years if I still couldn’t get out of the house and do anything. Instead, I found things to look forward to every day, even if it was just a little TV show or eating one of my favorite foods. Now, under the stay-at-home order, I don’t think about how long it will be until I can see family and friends or go out to a restaurant again. I look for other things to occupy my mind, rather than spiraling about things I have no control over. This is so much easier said than done and if you slip up you need to be gentle with yourself, but there’s no shame in asking for help if you need it. Therapy can be an amazing way to help control anxiety, and even in these strange times people are doing sessions online or over the phone. Learning to be present and appreciate what you do have can be really hard in the face of adversity, but it’s the most rewarding thing you can learn how to do.
It’s okay to miss your old life.
Just don’t make it out to be something it wasn’t. I had to remind myself that even though I lost a working body, life hadn’t been all sunshine and rainbows before I got sick. I loved to run, but going for ten miles at a time was not a walk in the park. My lungs hurt, my legs burned, and I have always gotten bad shin splints from running. Now that I can’t, I often think about how much I loved it, but running isn’t always easy. Our lives in this weird little quarantine bubble have some bright spots we’ll miss. Whether it’s having your family at home with you, being able to binge on all the reality TV you didn’t have time to watch before, or being able to work in your pajamas, there are things that are good about the present time. We miss so much that we used to do on a regular basis or took for granted, but one day we’ll be back to our normal lives and look back at this as a little blip in our lives.
It’s also okay to be scared.
Losing every sense of normalcy is freaking hard. Find things to look forward to in your new life, and remember that so much of this is temporary. The pandemic isn’t going to last forever, and one day we will be out doing our own grocery shopping and going into work again. It’s so weird that we are all facing this uncertainty at once, but none of us are truly alone, and I think just about everyone has had a pit in their stomach at one point or another about how this is affecting each and every one of us. It’s normal to feel uncomfortable about something as big as this, but doing your best to focus on what you can control — and letting go of the things you can’t — does make the weight feel a little less of a burden.
And finally, circumstances change.
I am so thankful to have the health I do today. I get frustrated and angry when I try to go for a run and my heart can’t handle it, but I am so lucky to be able to go for walks without feeling dizzy, type on my computer without having terrible muscle pain, and I can cook now without worrying about my elbows or arms hurting — even if there is a lot of stirring involved. Things are constantly changing, and it is no different for the pandemic. Incredible minds are working to find solutions to this every single day, and I am confident that people are going to find ways for our lives to slowly gain a sense of normalcy.
I honestly don’t remember a lot of what life before chronic illness was like, in the sense that it’s difficult for me to feel like POTS was ever not here. I have to do a lot to manage my symptoms now, but everything has become such habit at this point that it doesn’t feel weird putting little electrolyte and sodium tablets in my water every time I go out to eat and I’m used to doing nerve glides and mobility work at the first sign of stiffness. This all feels so normal to me, so even if we do have some things that become a new normal, we’ll adjust. People are much more resilient and adaptable than we give ourselves credit for. I am not particularly strong or tough, and I really don’t like change. If I can go through years of being sick and dealing with a million changes, absolutely anyone can. We may not all be in the same boat, but we are all in this together, and don’t ever hesitate to reach out to others if you need help. Many people are looking for ways to help others, but just don’t know how.
I decided to nix the numbers for my posts on here because I don’t want to make anyone upset about how long we’ve been inside. It’s been a little over a month, which actually when you think about it isn’t as bad as it sometimes feels. People a lot smarter than me are studying this virus and coming up with some ways to combat it. It’s still very early, but we’re learning more every single day.
I keep saying that I personally think this thing will become a lot easier when a skilled innovator decides to make something — like an easy to produce mask that filters out germs, for example — that helps us stay safe around loved ones and makes it easily accessible. If I learned one thing from watching Shark Tank, it’s the inexpensive products that everyone needs and can afford that make someone richer than they can imagine. I honestly don’t care who makes products that help us go out safely again, as long as we can. There are people who are working day and night right now, some who want to be the first to solve our problems so that they can make an enormous profit, and others who have hearts that want to help others. Either way, we have brilliant minds working on this and I know we’re going to be able to see loved ones again and enjoy our favorite activities one day.
I definitely feel weird still that my family is so close but I can’t see them. I’ve made a few trips to borrow or swap groceries, but keep my distance and stay in my car, similar to what we’d do at a grocery pickup. I’ve always been a rule follower when it comes to health and safety, so there has never been much of a question of whether I am hanging out with anyone other than my household during these quarantimes. FaceTime and HouseParty have been great apps to keep in touch with friends, and I listen to a lot of podcasts. I am a pretty typical millennial and don’t like sitting in silence, so podcasts fill that void for me.
I ordered some paint by numbers kits a few weeks ago, but still haven’t gotten them. I’m looking forward to having crafts to do, but in the meantime am doing some cooking and baking to keep my hands busy. Remember how I told you I filled in a map of the US and struggled more than someone who is nearing 30 should? I need to study that this week, and am also going to begin cramming for our 2020 election. I took a quiz yesterday to find out “who I should vote for,” and the result was actually really interesting. I apparently should take a look at Jacob Hornberger, someone from the Libertarian party.
Now, I am not into politics hardly at all. I have some moderate opinions on some of the more discussed issues, but I don’t pay close attention to politics or usually contribute greatly to conversations with friends and family, because I’ve always enjoyed more lighthearted entertainment — like which of the Kardashians I would most want to be friends with (Currently Khloe, but in the past it was Kim) or whether or not Jessica and Mark are actually looking for love on reality television.
I think this needs to change some, though. I should be paying more attention to some of the events going on in the world and really make an educated vote in 2020. For this reason, I am going to start opening my emails from TheSkimm, and begin to figure out how to get some straight up facts, rather than watching CNN, FOX, or anything of the like. Please let me know if you have suggestions of media without so much bias! I foresee myself having a difficult time filtering through news, as I think both Democrats and Republicans often make good points about how to solve problems. Reporting these days feels so incredibly emotional, which makes it hard for someone like me to decipher whether someone is speaking with an agenda or reporting straight facts. I will be updating these blogs with some of my opinions, and will appreciate having some good debates about politics. Unlike many people on social media, I will actually be someone who is willing to change her mind on issues, as I am just beginning to learn about many of them.
This will definitely be an interesting new twist to quarantine life, but I’ll feel good being able to participate just a little more in political discussions after all of this is said and done. As long as people are respectful and willing to hear each other out, it’s probably good to hear viewpoints other than your own. Right? We won’t all agree on everything, but it’s really cool that we can learn from each other.
Mondays are always the ones where I feel a mild sense of panic. I’m not really sure why, because all the days blend together a little and I space my work out throughout the weekend as well, but I always look at the calendar when I start to overthink and notice that it’s the beginning of the week.
It’s been just over 5 weeks since I have been out in the world, and I’m still trying to take everything day by day. I see good and bad news every day, and have been able to keep busy for the most part. I currently enjoy having work to distract me, picked up playing Call of Duty — a game I never in a million years would have thought I would like — and ordered a few little crafts to do at home in the coming week. I also decided I need more energy, so since I’m no longer able to get my routine B12 shots, I got some vitamin B12 and vitamin D to start taking. I’m lucky enough to live in the suburbs, so can still walk outside some, and enjoy evenings on the back porch.
I’m going to get through a little more work then go do some yoga to try to relax and calm myself a little. I know we’re all cooped up and in this together, and I’m going to try to use this week to catch up with a few friends and see how everyone is doing. I hope you’re having a good week, and let me know how you’re keeping busy while staying inside!
I want to start writing a little more about other people, and how we can do our part helping from home, if at all possible. I set up a few interviews with nurses — friends and strangers alike — to tell us about what it’s like in the COVID units, but today I want to write about some small businesses worth supporting. It’s been surprisingly difficult for me to find places to support, as I think a lot of them aren’t circulating on social media platforms as much as they could be.
Barrel Oak Winery While other businesses pushed to stay open and keep selling their products no matter what, Barrel Oak Winery quietly closed and said that their customer’s health was their number one priority. I absolutely love a company that genuinely cares about its customers, and this winery is particularly amazing because of the love they have for dogs! It’s my favorite winery in Virginia because of all the pups you get to meet when you go to the winery. They’re currently offering free shipping and some pretty good discounts when you buy in bulk. Check out their website today to stock up for the coming weeks of quarantine.
Buskey Cider This is one of the first places I found strictly from social media. I had been looking for a place to get a few nice summer drinks from, and Busky Cider looked promising, as they had fun flavors of hard cider like tart cherry and peach iced tea. They were super accommodating with delivery, and very friendly and appreciative of business when I called them to set something up. I later learned that they had so much business in my area that they were going to make regular trips back, which is fantastic. If you live somewhere in Virginia, check out their schedule and they are probably delivering near you at some point. They’re really hustling and deserve some good business!
Grocery Delivery Notice how I didn’t put a company name here? I have found some people on Facebook who have done grocery runs for me, or referred them to friends and family. This is fantastic because the individual gets to keep 100% of the profit, plus the tip. It’s a difficult time for everyone, particularly people who’s livelihood has been affected, so this is a great way to really reward someone for their hard work. I also have looked into it, and it seems like certain big retailers have stepped up during this time to provide hundreds of thousands of jobs, and companies like Walmart are offering good benefits to working during the pandemic. If you use these services, just be sure to tip the best you are able. People who are working out right now deserve hazard pay, and we can provide that by offering generous tips.
All Good Things I am obsessed with letter writing, journaling, gift giving, and everything of the like. This is the cutest website I found that opened in July 2017. It’s normally open for business in Dallas, TX, but in the meantime you can shop online and follow them on Instagram for some really fun, creative posts.
Pronto The sisters who created Pronto opened shop in January, and have been still selling online throughout the pandemic. In short, their work does print, ship, design, social, and event branding. Their Instagram is bright and cheery, and offers a little taste of what they do in their feed.
Finally, I know some really fantastic girls who own their own boutiques. If you’re feeling like you want to dress up a little more — or find cute, comfortable loungewear — during these quarantine times, check out each of these and support a small business to update your wardrobe.
August Bay August Bay is currently having a sale, giving 25% off cozy clothing items that are perfect for relaxing indoors while staying cute. I’ve been conflicted some days of wanting to feel cute and be comfortable, and cute sweats are a perfect marriage of the two. August Bay offers free shipping and returns for all purchases, so there’s no harm in shopping up a storm on their website.
Clothed in Strength
Clothed in Strength is the cutest etsy shop around. From inspirational phrases to Christian messages, these tees are well-made and affordable. There is currently a 15% off discount on the site, too!
Ever Row was created and owned by sisters, and gives the best summer vibes on my Insta feed. It actually usually has 2 stores in South Carolina, so it’s really important to shop online until they’re able to get back to selling things like usual. Right now there’s free shipping on any order. The site is super easy to navigate and fun to shop through.
Mini and Mine
This is the CUTEST site for mommy daughter matching outfits. Mini and Mine was actually started back in February, right before all the COVID-19 stuff started escalating in the United States. It’s a monthly subscription service — that you can start and cancel at any time — that sends you a set of matching tees for your child and you to wear together. It’s such a fun idea, particularly for quarantine pictures in the coming months. Follow their Instagram page to see the last couple of sets — and some pretty cute mother daughter duos.
The ML Edit The homepage says, “Cabin Fever: shop the chilly day essentials,” which feels perfect for this crisp April day. Check out the company’s Instagram feed for a good feel on what their vibe is, and feel good about your purchases, knowing you’re supporting someone’s livelihood.
I probably started my quarantine before you, but mainly because I was one of the people who was skeptical of whether COVID-19 was really just “not as bad as the flu.” We just didn’t have enough information to know one way or another, which was why I decided to err on the side of caution and make one last run to the grocery store for the two weeks I anticipated we would be inside.
Now it’s been a little longer than that, and I’ve had a few rough days, but am holding up better than expected. I’m mainly just being careful trying to up my fluid and salt intake so I don’t have as many POTS issues pop up.
Yesterday I went for a run because I was feeling cooped up. There weren’t any people out, as our neighborhood has been very quiet lately, and I knew I wouldn’t be going far. I ran for my newest record — 5 minutes — but I likely only went about a quarter mile. I decided to try for endurance, rather than speed, but could not push myself to go longer than one round of Kanye West’s song, Stronger. That’s always been one of my favorite songs to run to, but sadly I never thought it would be my entire workout playlist, rather than just one song out of twenty.
Anyway, I’ve decided that every single weekday I want to do at least one workout. I have been taking yoga and Pilates classes online, and am really enjoying them. Getting my blood flowing has been really good for my physical health, but it also makes me feel refreshed mentally. Staying in this much is really weird and definitely makes you feel cooped up, but I’m really thankful for the technology that’s keeping me connected right now. Online classes are definitely something I hope to continue long after all of this is done.
Nothing else interesting to write for now. Gotta get back to work, but I want to keep my countdown going on here (is it a countdown if we don’t have a number we are counting down to, but instead are just counting up?).
Today was one of the Monday-est Mondays. There are some days and things I’m going to remember about this quarantine. Many of them have been good actually, and I feel really blessed to be married to my favorite person who can love me from wherever we are. Today, though, I’ll remember how hard I cried. I’ll remember how cool the night air felt on my skin when I took the trash out to the curb, and then how beautiful the stars looked when I happened to look up. I think that might have been God telling me that everything is going to be okay. He knows I like stargazing and that I find comfort in knowing no matter where in the world my loved ones are, they’re looking at the same stars as me at night.
I’ve mentioned before that I am really bad at remembering details (Like, bad enough that you don’t want me to witness a crime unless you’re the person committing it), but my memory going back to feelings is definitely above average. I can think back to being at the airport for Robert’s first deployment and feel the way my heart seemed like it was being ripped out of my chest. I can think back to how nervous I was the first time I told him I loved him and feel the flutters of anticipation and excitement again. I remember the joy I felt for so many of our biggest moments together, and relive it every time I read a blog post or think about everything we’ve experienced. I remember how genuinely surprised and excited I was about my friends showing up for a surprise fifteenth birthday party. I remember the feeling of going to 7-11 and getting spoiled enough to pick two treats after school — usually a little bag of barbecue chips and a Slurpee, unless there happened to be a tropical Skittles shipment in. Then it was always tropical Skittles. I remember the peacefulness I felt on every family beach vacation we took, and the excitement of our special trips to Disney. Tonight I’m thinking back to September and the vacation Robert and I took to St. Lucia before his work took off this year. It was so carefree and perfect. I want to go back.
This quarantine, I’ve felt so much love. So. Much. I am crying writing about it now — oh gosh. I need to stop. I’ve made some really fond memories, despite all the uncertainty and weirdness that is surrounding all of this. I’ve had some anxiety here and there, but held tight to loved ones and been able to push through these 26 days while still being so joyful and content. Day 26 is the most difficult so far. I know I’m lucky about that, though.
I need to remember how lucky I am that we all have our health still and keep praying for the people who don’t or are fighting this battle for us. I’m tired right now, but we’re all getting through this together. It’s weird how many people can all relate to each other’s feelings right now. A lot of people seemed to have a very Monday-y Monday.
This morning I wrote about how shockingly well I am handling all of this. Tonight, I’m crying about it. I think this is kind of typical of everyone right now.
I’m sick of being stuck inside and am dying to go on a normal date, missing my family and friends, and would love to be able to look forward to the beach this summer — or even just spending some time outside. I am scared for the health and well-being of loved ones and strangers alike. I am dying to go to Trader Joe’s to get my usual favorite snacks, and I don’t want to keep seeing how different life is by watching the news. It all feels like a weird dream. The beginning of this feels so long ago now.
All of this is incredibly confusing. Like, how did we get to a point where people can’t go outside? Anyway, this morning I wrote a much more lighthearted draft, and want to still offer some of that sentiment, even as a comfort to myself right now.
First, I have done the whole quarantine thing before — or at least it felt similar to me. When I first got sick with POTS I could barely sit upright, much less go do my normal activities. I created a new normal that gave me as much joy as I had in my 22 years before getting sick. It wasn’t always easy and I often missed things about having a healthy body, but I was still able to be happy, despite the earth-shattering change. This change was actually even bigger than the pandemic feels because I was so used to being an athlete and out in the world, but literally could not leave the couch or go from floor to floor in the house more than once in a day. Now I at least can stand up to cook, go to the basement to exercise, and play hide and seek with my dog. Lesson one, you can have joy in the face of adversity.
Another thing POTS taught me is that circumstances change. That’s lesson two of learning to deal with a life-shattering change. The first year I was so sick even going to the grocery chore was a difficult to impossible task (read: me lying on the aisle floor until I could stand again without passing out). Over time I was able to run errands. Then I could go out to dinner. Then I worked my way up to doing things like trips with friends or walking around the beautiful city of DC. I still can’t run or anything, but I can walk for an incredibly long time without feeling dizzy, my pain is decreasing astronomically, and I can drive for an hour at a time! I’ve really come a long way. My new normal did keep changing, and I’ve been able to work with it every step of the way. Things change, and even if they’re slower than you’d like, you learn a lot of lessons along the way and can still be joyful.
Finally, the most important thing in life will always be your loved ones. For this I am sure (Insert Nunzio voice here, Robert).
I’ve always known this, but having any kind of health scare definitely changes your outlook. It’s funny because I do definitely think taking things for granted is in our nature. When I was really sick I always thought I would never take little things for granted if I was lucky enough to get better, but sure enough, things like going out on walks with my dog weren’t aren’t appreciated and I haven’t taken advantage of the fact that I can do yoga now. It’s weird being so separated from everyone, and I think this experience will change the way we spend time with others. I hope we are more present and cut more time out of the day to be with people, and take the time out of the year to travel and visit our long distance friends and family.
Anyway, I think we all need to remember that this is going to ultimately be just a blip in our lives if we can all come together and support each other. I pray that we can get things under control sooner rather than later, and that we can all be tough together. I know this isn’t easy, but I feel like it will be similar to my past experience in that we will appreciate more in life, worry less about trivial things, and learn to be joyful through every stage in life. There are a few things I’m incredibly grateful for right now, and I know I’m being looked out for and taken care of, which is really comforting in this strange time. I hope you can find some things you’re thankful for in this transition time, too!
You know what bugs me? People who remember things well.
I know, I’m just being an enormous jerk because, as you may have seen on my SnapChat or Instagram story yesterday, I have the worst memory of all time. Like, possibly the worst. I’m trying to be proactive by fixing it, and restudying some good old elementary school history and geography, though — including perfecting the map of the United States by not getting Arizona confused for Nebraska. Yes, that happened.
Anyway, part of being like this includes a very strange confusion about how long we’ve been doing this. I actually don’t remember what day I started staying inside, but I know by March 10 I didn’t go out to eat and was hesitant about being anywhere fun because I had a bad feeling about what was coming. This was a date friends were still saying that the media was freaking out about nothing, and that the Coronavirus was “less deadly than the flu.” It’s funny how there can be a narrative that starts, just because one person starts saying it, then more and more people pass it along until it seems to be the cold, hard truth.
Last night my anxiety spiked again. Not because I’m having a hard time personally being inside — I keep reminding myself this is just a season and to make the most of it — but more so because I’m feeling on edge for all of my loved ones. I hope they’re all doing okay and aren’t scared or having a hard time. Today I’m feeling a bit better, but am still on edge worrying about other people. I know from Facebook posts that a lot of people are having a hard time managing, but I also think social media is doing a great job reminding people that none of us are alone in all of this. We’re all going through so many of the same emotions and uncertainties, but it really is so freaking encouraging how uplifting everyone is being. We know that one day this will be a distant memory, and maybe if you’re like me you won’t forget the way you felt during this time, but you will forget just how many episodes of shows from Netflix you watched, how many Sour Patch Kids you shoveled in your mouth while anxiously scrolling through the news, and how many days exactly you were quarantined. This will be a very interesting story to tell the next generation, and in the meantime we’ll all just keep pushing forward.