There have been a lot of tears lately. For myself and others. Sometimes they fall without me even knowing why, or they fall because I have heard bad news about people I love. I sometimes cry when I am reading and hearing about grief and loss that so many people are going through.
Over the last six months of the lockdown I have been developing traits of agoraphobia. I used to love going out before the pandemic. Now the thought of even going to the supermarket once a week makes me anxious and nervous. I have never been keen on people standing too close to me (the tube at rush hour is horrendous), and now even when someone is a couple of metres away, I can feel my stomach knotting up and my chest starts tightening. I also start to get irritated. My mind is telling my body that I could be in danger and I have to move away. I end up walking in zig zags around people because I would prefer to be at least 3 – 4 metres away from them. I know this behaviour is not sustainable and I need to address it and try not to let it continue.
For now, the only place I do feel safe is at home. I don’t even like to see my neighbours when we need to go out and have to use the communal door to the block of flats I live in. I don’t like to touch door handles with my bare hands, although that has always been a big issue of mine even before the pandemic.
This is just a small part of the various things that are going through my mind and it’s manifesting into physical symptoms. It’s no coincidence that I am having to take my anxiety medication again to minimise the anxiety attacks I am having.
To counteract the feelings of hopelessness and worry that I regularly have, I try to balance it where I can. I know I have much to be grateful for and I remind myself of this every day. I try to find little sparks of joy in my life to keep me as balanced as I can. Music is a great help in lifting my mood. I have started exercising again. I am also going to have a check in with my therapist. I know I am lucky to have these choices.
As with all things, I have to remind myself this too shall pass. Until then, we are all doing the best we can to navigate these strange times we are living in.