I didn’t mean to take a break from blogging. It was a small break that snowballed into a medium break and then a larger one. The last few months have revolved around a new condition that I have had to get treatment for while also getting tests and procedures to figure out what is causing it. I was able to get a test done a couple weeks before the shutdown caused by COVID-19.
Now is as good a time as any, maybe better, to start blogging again as I sit at home and try not to ruminate. This week has been particularly hard because my doctors have canceled appointments that I have literally waited months for. Some have rescheduled. Others have not. I have another appointment at the earliest end of the shutdown period and I have no idea if it will get canceled or not.
The stress from this has added to the general stress of having everything else canceled, including my regular exercise classes and therapy appointments like acupuncture, my worries for friends and families, and a general sense of not having any control. Things are changing so quickly. Last week I was doing okay mentally. This week has been harder. Like everyone else, I don’t know how long this will all last.
I also know that I have fallen back into some bad, old OCD patterns. I’ve been checking various news sites constantly and reading all sorts of new information constantly. My friends and family have also been updating me. I know reading information and following the news erroneously makes me feel like I have control of something, even though I don’t and it makes me much much more anxious. But I’ve struggled not to do it.
However, whenever I’ve gone offline even for a bit something happens. An appointment gets canceled, I miss a call from an office rescheduling an appointment, or I see a work email late. Missing these kinds of notices have just increased my anxiety.
Like many people, especially those with mental illnesses, I’m struggling with the anxiety of these times.
But I’m also glad that we’re staying home and we’re doing trying to do what we can to prevent this from spreading to everyone too fast. I believe that is important. Ironically, I wish we knew more so we could plan ahead but I know I can’t find that information online. We need to just be patient and wait for more research. And no refreshing of news sites every hour is going to do that.
I just have to remember that. And be patient, but it’s hard. I want to do something. But not my rituals. I’m trying to avoid washing my hands too many times and cleaning our apartment too thoroughly. I struggle with over-cleaning. I don’t need the CDC to tell me to wash my hands twice! But now everyone around me is acting more like me. They’re carrying hand sanitizer, wiping down their phones and surfaces, and washing their hands frequently. It’s weird. And honestly, I’m trying so hard not to overreact.
My body is already telling me to relax and take a break. My eczema has been exacerbated by all the handwashing and cleaning chemicals and I’ve been fighting with a migraine for days. At the same time, I am struggling to rest and sleep.
I’m trying to be kinder to myself and give myself permission to use my anxiety meds when I need them, take more breaks, watch more Netflix, and read more fiction. Having OCD and anxiety is just as real as a physical illness, and I need to treat them like that, especially now. We all do. It’s okay to feel awful right now even if you’re not sick with COVID-19. This is a crazy, awful time.