Monday, Day 19

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.

Sunday, Funday

Today is Sunday, but it feels like Saturday or Monday or Wednesday! Let’s face it — they all feel the same at this point.

Yesterday I decided I need to have a little more of a routine through all of this. I woke up at a reasonable hour today, and started my morning with some of the new assignments I have. I’m going to learn new skills in the kitchen a few times a week — two days ago I learned how to use the InstantPot, and tomorrow I’d like to learn how to make a quiche or other breakfast food involving spinach and eggs — and have a set workout routine that I must stick with. I decided to take up Pilates again, and found a good little YouTube video yesterday to begin. Something I really like about Pilates is that your workout just feels so dang good while you’re stretching. It’s composed of such tiny movements that Pilates work some muscles that you don’t even realize are there, and the next day you’re shocked with how sore some of your little muscles are.

Some things on my to do list this week are:

  • Finish cleaning out my closet, and find someone to donate all my clothing to.
  • Bake a healthy dessert that doesn’t taste healthy at all.
  • Find one new small business to support.
  • Spend 10 minutes/day refreshing my memory on some good, elementary US history.
  • Try a new food. This week I discovered that I do, in fact, like Caesar salads, despite refusing to try them for 29 years.
  • Call one friend or family member every day, just to catch up.

These are all super doable and will make some of the time spent indoors feel more productive. What are you doing to make your day feel worthwhile?

It Is Saturday

It’s hard to keep track of the days when every one is the same.

This is such a strange time in our lives. It’s kind of crazy to think that no matter what country people live in, we can relate to the fear and uncertainty of the exact same thing.

As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve felt a surprising amount of calmness throughout all of this. I am being incredibly careful and not going out or anything, but I also am not living in constant fear or anxiety. I think a big part of this comes from my time at home with POTS. I now have the experience to know that even with incredibly drastic changes that are completely out of your control, you can still have joy in your life, and perhaps just as important, things can and will get better. Staying at home when I have the physical capability to go out is new, but I know what it’s like to lose your functioning body and be stuck on a couch and still feel happy and make really great memories from it. Surely we can still have joy in days at home with loved ones still — or if you are quarantined by yourself, with people from afar. Thank God for technology.

A lot of this Coronavirus quarantine feels kind of like getting sick suddenly with a chronic illness. This time, though, we can all relate in one way or another. We are lucky to have each other, and all the help and support I’ve seen online has been heartwarming to say the very least. I love that people are staying inside despite being so incredibly bored, and that we’re looking to support small businesses in this time (As a side note, please message me any and all businesses that need some support — at the very least I’d love to follow on social, but if it’s a product I’d use I want to start buying from people directly, if possible!).

Something that I’ve learned with anxiety and having a chronic illness is that periods of time seem to have lots of different chapters that make up your life, but none of them last forever. This is really good for the tough chapters, and sometimes sad when the amazing ones come to an end. Nothing in life lasts forever, though, and I think we need to remember this as we keep moving forward the next few weeks and months. I know that days will sometimes drag on and uncertainty can be daunting, but one day this will all be a distant memory and we’ll remember the happier things more than the things that were hard. We’ll remember playing Nintendo Switch with our families, eating at home every night in front of the television, relating to a million of the memes that are online, and having walks around the neighborhood be our daily outings. We’ll all probably also have difficult stories to remind us of harder times too, but hopefully something good will come out of those, too.

I guess the only point I have in writing this is that if you’re having a hard time with everything right now, keep pushing through. This is a temporary time in the grand scheme of things, and I know we’re going to come out of it with new empathy and understanding for others. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it. We are all trying to learn how to fight this in whatever ways we can, and want to be able to lean on each other. Many of us are looking for ways to help, but may just not know how.

Have a great Saturday! I’m incredibly sleepy and a bit loopy from lack of exercise. I didn’t particularly feel like writing at all today, but am trying to as often as I can. Going to find some sort of yoga class to take online in the basement now!

Hello, Anxiety

Hello, anxiety! I’m surprised you haven’t been lurking around this entire week.

I’ve had some moments in these quarantined times, but been surprisingly calm throughout. I may not look calm with wiping down furniture and Lysoling the light switches and door knobs at night, but I haven’t had the pit in my stomach and tightness in my chest that manifests on even just a normal Tuesday sometimes. I’ve just been taking necessary precautions to stay healthy if possible, and trying to take everything day by day.

Last night I had my first mini panic as I was trying to fall asleep. This morning I woke up with a pit too. Not because I didn’t take things seriously before, but because I’m just feeling a little scared today. I thought a little more about the future, rather than the present, and feel frustrated with the way so many people are still handling things. I don’t understand why we didn’t do a mandatory shutdown a lot sooner, and am still wondering when everything will actually be forced to shut down. I see pictures of idiots in Florida all going to the beach, and people flocking to all the same areas. I hear about teenagers thinking it’s funny to make a video coughing on produce in the stores, and am thinking about all of the innocent nurses and doctors who are being exposed because of other people’s actions. I’m sick of seeing posts in groups that say, “You gotta live a little,” accompanied by pictures of crowded walkways and gatherings. These posts get shamed, but I don’t think the OP understands that those of us who are quarantining ourselves are not doing it because we don’t want to have lives or are shaking in our boots — we’re doing it because it is the easiest, most obviously clear way to flatten the curve and make life easier on every single human who is out fighting this right now. If we can stop the Coronavirus spread, we will have time to go out and live our lives more normally, much faster. It will still require so much patience and cooperation, but one day we’ll be able to go out and see our friends and family again.

My anxiety is usually brought upon by things I cannot control, and other people often fall in this category. This time, strangers are causing the restlessness in my chest. I think it will probably ebb and flow over the course of the next several months, but I’m going to do some deep breathing and be grateful for what I have today. I didn’t have much of a purpose to this post, other than just documenting feelings each day to see how they change. My journal is getting a little break, and in the meantime I’ll keep this updated.

Shows to Binge

The Internet is going crazy with things to do while quarantined, and now the quarantine seems to be mainly people who feel healthy but are are trying to *flatten the curve* since they could still be carriers. If you have not heard that phrase yet, please read this article on The Washington Post. It’s a really amazing illustration on why it’s important to use social distancing (another phrase that’s blown up this week) until we’ve got a handle on this. Luckily I am finding more people finally taking this seriously now that it’s really blowing up (WHY couldn’t we have done this a week ago?! You live and you learn, I guess).

In the meantime while we are being careful, being inside and away from our normal activities is incredibly difficult! I think back to when I first got sick with POTS and had to spend months finding things to do in a reclined position, and am realizing that it’s pretty ungrateful of me to be complaining about feeling pretty good and just being stuck in my house. As a former queen of television, here is a giant list I compiled of binge-worthy shows. I should note that you should just skip reading this if you’re not into reality TV, crime, or comedies.


NETFLIX

The Office, Comedy
This is a really obvious choice. Whether you’ve seen it a million times like me (It’s the only show I always know

Parks and Recreation, Comedy
If you like The Office, you’ll probably like Parks & Rec. Give it a few episodes. It gets good!

Fuller House, Comedy
I just realized I have not seen the newest season of Fuller House! It wasn’t the best show ever, but I’ll be happy to have something lighthearted to watch. As a side note, if you have Disney+, you should watch Boy Meets World. I never saw it until a few months ago and shockingly think it’s really funny, despite thinking it was going to be a show for kids.

The Stranger, Suspense
The Stranger is such a good show. There are only 8 or 9 episodes out right now, but I thoroughly enjoyed watching it a few weeks ago and 100% regret not saving it for a rainy day like this. If you like all things suspense, you’ll love this thriller.

You, Suspense
You is a little gross and super creepy, especially if you’re a girl who might be afraid of something like online dating. The main character, Joe, is

Love Is Blind, Reality TV
LIB has been super popular on all social media platforms the past several weeks. The idea behind it is simple — you go on the show to try to fall in love with someone you’ve never seen before, then end the show with a new husband or wife. A group of men all live together, and a group of women all live together. They take turns going on “dates” with each other in these little things they fondly call “pods.” A pod is basically a personal living room with a wall that divides the opposite sex’s living room from yours. You speak through the wall and learn about people’s personalities to try to fall in love with someone you’ve never seen before. It’s very interesting, has a decent amount of drama (Which I love), and is super bingeable now that they taped both the finale and reunion. No waiting around to figure out whether each couple ends up with one another!

The Circle, Reality TV
The Circle gave me Big Brother vibes, with a Love Is Blind twist to it. Basically, people are all in the same apartment building but can only chat with each other via a Facebook-type app. They have to vote to eliminate someone every couple of days, and the last (wo)man standing leaves with $100,000. Spoiler alert: your favorite person in this show is going to be Shooby.

Gilmore Girls, Drama
Gilmore Girls is kinda cheesy, but a good show to binge. I’m not going to watch it yet, because I think it will make me miss my mom, but saving it for a later date maybe!

Hart of Dixie, Drama
I watched this show a little with my parents a few years ago and first, I love Rachel Bilson, second, I liked having a lighthearted show that gave me Hallmark vibes to watch. I think this might be one of my next shows.

PRIME

Psych, Comedy with a side of crime and suspense
Psych was a show on USA when I was a teenager and I haven’t seen it in years, but it is one of the funniest shows I’ve seen. I love that they mix suspense along with two of the arguably funniest characters on television. Shawn and Gus are such a great dynamic duo; you’ll fall in love with their goofy, quirky ways. Plus there are a bunch of seasons, all of which are nestled on Prime!

Law & Order, SVU, Crime
Even though it isn’t true crime, some of the episodes were created after famous cases and I think it’s interesting to see how the detectives on the show deal with figuring out crime scenes. The show is heavily criticized by law enforcement, but being a regular civilian I enjoy watching it.

HULU

The Mindy Project, Comedy
PLEASE WATCH THE MINDY PROJECT. I’m telling you; it’s hilarious. If you like The Office and are a female, you’ll love this show. I wasn’t a huge fan of Kelly on The Office, but always loved Mindy Kaling. She has the BEST sense of humor and is so lighthearted and fun.

Nathan for You, Comedy
NFY is one of the funniest shows I’ve ever seen. I haven’t watched it in a few years now, so want to start watching it before I go to bed now. Nathan is super awkward, super goofy, and super funny. He kind of is a mix of Michael Scott and Jim Halpert, but even more extreme. Watch it if you need a good belly laugh.

Seinfeld, Comedy
Wait, Seinfeld is on Hulu?! What?! I always just watch it when it’s on cable, but it would actually be fun to scroll around and find some of my favorite episodes to rewatch. Noted.

The Bachelor, Reality TV
This season of The Bachelor was a little controversial, but overall got decent reviews from viewers I think. Peter was not the best bachelor we’ve seen, and we figure out why in the last few episodes. In my opinion it was the best season we’ve had in years.

Catfish, Reality TV
Guys, I just discovered that Hulu has 7 seasons of Catfish!!! This show is great for a little bit before taking a break to something more lighthearted. I always feel so bad for the people who get tricked online, and sometimes even for those who are pretending to be someone else. It’s fun guessing whether or not someone is real or a catfish, and some of us can even relate to being catfished on a dating app.

90 Day Fiance, Reality TV
Still haven’t watched this, but several people I trust have said I would like it, so I’m excited to see the series on Hulu. From what I understand, people meet each other and have 90 days to get married. I don’t know how or where they meet, and if they’re set up with a bunch of people or just one, but it involves love and reality TV, so I’m all for it. Will report back after binging some!

Keeping Up with The Kardashians, Reality TV
Don’t judge. There are 8 seasons of Keeping Up on Hulu right now, and this is great mindless background noise. Plus, there’s something soothing about the show that is perfect for a pre-bedtime routine.

And finally, I saved the best for last,

ON AN APP

Big Brother Canada, Reality TV
Obsessed with Big Brother in general, and BBCan is basically the same as the US version of the show. Big Brother is the best show to start following right now because if you’re not watching the normal episodes, you are able to still watch the live feeds of the show! I will post a link to the show when I find a good way for anyone to watch it. This season is so good so far; I’m only on the 5th episode, but am eager to catch up!

For those of you who don’t know what Big Brother is, it’s a reality show where the contestants are taped 24/7 and all locked inside the same house. It’s kind of like Survivor, but indoors! The players compete for $500,000, and each week they vote someone out of the house. There are a million different strategies, and it’s a great social experiment. The interesting thing about this season is that none of the players have a clue about the pandemic that’s going on in the outside world. They’ll definitely be shocked when they get out of the house. They’re also the safest right now since nobody new goes in to the house!


That should all last you a few weeks. Add video games and board games to your itinerary and you’ll be good to go! I’ll write more about other things to do later, but let me know if you watch and like any of these shows. Stay healthy and safe. Wash your hands and don’t go out unless necessary!

Working Together

I have a Coronavirus post I wrote yesterday, but first I wanted to share a much shorter sentiment today. I am so thankful that so many people are cooperating and trying their best to stay inside and avoid, not only getting the virus, but spreading it to others.

Every flu season since getting sick with POTS I get the flu shot and wash my hands like crazy to avoid unnecessary complications that could come with the flu. It’s always so freaking annoying when you get together with someone who informs you that they’ve been fighting off a fever or cold all week, and you wonder why the heck they didn’t just stay home and not infect everyone else. This Coronavirus is a small taste of what immunocompromised people* deal with every year in trying to stay healthy.

One of the biggest problems in China and Italy is that people who carried the virus kept going out and contaminating the rest of the community. One person who is carrying the virus can do a heck of a lot of damage if you think about how many people each of the people (s)he affected go contaminate too. If we would all just stay at home for two weeks — the incubation period of the virus — wouldn’t it maybe just stop here?

I honestly am not an expert and not pretending to be. I’ve kept up with some updates from my POTS doctor, as well as followed the local news on Coronavirus cases in our area.

I’m used to seeing people be very nonchalant about getting sick because they’ve never been chronically ill before, but this is a new phenomena. People all across the country are quarantining themselves, only going out to get groceries and the apparently hot commodity that is toilet paper. People who are completely healthy young adults are staying in, not just to avoid the virus themselves, but also to avoid spreading it if they are actually carrying it and show no symptoms. This includes celebrities, politicians, athletes, and people who are in the public eye. My Instagram and Facebook feeds are flooded with posts about being locked up at home and canceled plans until we get through this. People are asking for TV shows to binge, games to play with significant others, and treating this like it’s a big snowstorm in which you can’t leave your house for a few weeks. This is absolutely amazing. I really hope we continue to try to fight this pandemic and end it in America. Stay in, get lots of rest, and snuggle up to a pet, loved one, or fluffy blanket to ride this out with the rest of the country. Here’s to hoping and praying for all of the at-risk people, the amazing doctors and nurses who make a million and one sacrifices for each and every one of us, and everyone else, too. ❤

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*The verdict is still out on whether or not Dysautonomia makes me immunocompromised, however POTS patients struggle when they do get sick because our bodies already have a very difficult time finding homeostasis. On a daily basis I try to find the right balance of salt and electrolytes with water so that I’m not constantly dehydrated and battling debilitating headaches that last for days. Ask my husband — when my head hurts I think he has to say something three times to get it to fully process.

I like to write things like this because I also have a bunch of friends now who do have serious chronic illnesses that wouldn’t just cause complications if they got sick — it could be a lot worse. People need to know how their actions affect others, and I don’t think staying in for a few weeks will kill anyone. It could, however, be problematic to those who are at risk.