Social Distancing Diaries

What Phase Is This One?

If I had a dollar for every time I said, “This is a rough time for everyone,” to help ease the anxieties of people I care about…I’d be rich. I am constantly reassuring the people around me that their existential dread, or their sadness, or their loneliness, or their worry…is not abnormal. As a matter of fact…right now? It’s the norm. BE SUSPICIOUS OF ANYONE RELAXED AND FULL OF JOY RIGHT NOW.

But when I talk to myself? It’s another story. I don’t give myself the same grace. I try to squash those feelings of dread or sadness because it doesn’t help my family at all. So they’re doing great, existing in a healthy home allowing them to feel their feelings during all of this chaos. But I’m doing terrible because this shitty woman keeps telling me my feelings are not worth having.

Even now I just read that second paragraph and was like, “Kim…that’s too depressing. You haven’t written much uplifting here in AGES, you need to shake off this negative shit and just wait until you can think of something positive to post.”

It’s like…on paper and with others…I follow all of the mental health guidelines going around right now but for myself? Nope. You’re not allowed to feel bad and you’re not allowed to talk about feeling bad.

But I feel bad, y’all. Not in any worrisome way, just in common variations of the way everyone else is feeling bad right now. This week I’m really feeling a lot of anxiety over the fact that I’m questioning every step I make now that some elements of lockdown are being lifted and it seems like everyone disagrees on how that should look. I’m trying to trust the guidelines of my city officials but there are some people still saying that even running to that one store to pick up a shirt I ordered is dangerous…even if you’re wearing a mask and social distancing.

But…but…my Mayor and my Governor and my state health department head are all telling me it’s okay. If I can’t trust them, who can I trust?

There’s so much anxiety flowing through my body right now at just the UNKNOWN of everything. The pool is opening up with guidelines and protocol recommended by the CDC and the state health and rec departments. But…is someone going to make fun of us later if there’s an outbreak at our pool? Even if our city/state told us it was okay?

I understand mocking the people who are directly acting contrary to their local recommendations…but a lot of people are just doing what their local officials are telling them they can do. So, instead of making fun of them, why don’t we question why there seems to be SO MANY CONFUSING RECOMMENDATIONS FROM SO MANY QUALIFIED AND TRUSTWORTHY PEOPLE?

I’m also feeling a little bit of rage over how mean people are being. And honestly, it’s not even anything unusual…it’s not like there is new/extra snark/meanness. It’s just like normal levels of snarky are pissing me off. For 12 hours everyone was playing with the new Facebook avatar tool and it was cute and adorable and then, for the next 24 hours it was non-stop snarky remarks making fun of how everyone made their avatars prettier than they are in “real” life. Or just people snarking on it as a dumb activity anyway. I even saw a person snarking because we’re all so gullible by giving Facebook this data or something. I mean…can’t we just be silly and have fun for a bit without the CONSTANT follow-up wave of people mocking a popular activity?

These very small grievances or benign moments of snark are making me SO FULL OF RAGE and I don’t really know why other than…just…you know…general volatility right now. Someone posted about my favorite show and was like, “I tried, y’all…I HATE THIS SHOW!” and it just upset me SO MUCH. Like…why phrase it like that? Why not just say, “Not for me!” Why be so aggressive with your distaste and more importantly…WHY DOES IT UPSET ME SO MUCH?

It’s like if you are anything other than 100% gracious and kind then I’m raging at your meanness. If you’re not 100% supportive and empathetic to everyone? Then I’m mad at your cruelty. My sensitivity range towards snark has always been more extreme than most people but now? I HAVE ZERO TOLERANCE. I just want everyone to be NICE ALL THE TIME because this is tough and WHY ARE YOU SO MEAN?

(No one is really being that mean, I’m just over reacting, I know.)

There’s also some shitty things happening at my Mom’s apartment complex right now that are definitely, “People being unusually mean/harsh,” and that’s probably making me a little on edge because I’m just constantly pissed off about it but there is LITERALLY nothing I can do.

I don’t know…the overwhelming anxiety of WHAT DO WE DO AND HOW DO WE DO IT without clear/consistent agreement by everyone in charge; combined with my increased sensitivity to EVERYTHING NOT KIND is making me quite a bundle of negativity right now. It’s just a shroud of funk and irritation that has draped over me and I don’t know how to fix it and I’m not being very tolerant of it in myself right now because I keep thinking: NOW IS NOT THE TIME, KIM. GET YOUR SHIT TOGETHER.

Happy Monday!

6 thoughts on “What Phase Is This One?”

  1. Kim you are doing great in a very difficult time! You’ve got a lot of challenges to make this harder and you are facing all of them! I understand what you mean about existential dread about doing things. We ventured out a bit more over the weekend – went on a well-organized and careful group run on trails and I let S go visit a friend they hadn’t seen in months now. On the group run we were very careful to keep our aid separate and wore masks when we were close to each other. I was a little slower than most of the group so I definitely kept my distance most of the time. Both of those things are weighing on my mind. Were they a bad idea that will have negative consequences? I hope not. I’m afraid to go visit my parents because they are high risk. I’m afraid we will have somehow picked it up and will pass it on to them. The voices in my head keep telling me I shouldn’t feel bad – I’ve got a job still, homeschool is going well, my family mostly gets along, and my parents are in a small town where they are pretty isolated. I want to see my friends like you and keep debating whether that is okay or not. I’m not offering much help here, but I want you to know I understand.

  2. I think we’re all feeling variations on the exact same thing. I live in a blue state that still has very little relaxation of rules and the people around me are starting to lose their minds. I get it, I do. I want to be “normal” again too. I want to get a haircut, and I’m tired of seeing my mom through a screen or from 6 feet away. This weekend we had 2 zoom “graduation parties” which are nice, but not nearly the same for anybody who participated. And then seeing all of my family in one place made me miss them even more. Fortunately/unfortunately I think I’m going to depressed instead of rage as my go to emotion. Now that it has FINALLY stopped raining, I have plans for today to get out of my house and my head, but this is all to say, I feel you.

  3. Just going to put this out in the universe…after a lifetime of handling my emotions/depression/etc. pretty well they self-reflection and toughing it out, the rages that perimenopause added were a bridge too far.
    A very small dose of Zoloft was a huge HUGe help in being able to handle daily life without feeling that rage. I do t need it any longer but am a true convert to “if you can’t make your own neurotransmitters, store-bought are fine.”

    I love reading your reflections. You’re so eloquent, and so much resonates with me personally. Stay safe, be gentle with yourself, and consider that perimenopause may be adding brain weasels that need a bit of extra help to cope with.

  4. It is so much easier to be kind to others than to ourselves sometimes. It’s so hard to ease up. And all the uncertainties around this situation are really taking a toll on me (and everyone else). I don’t have any helpful advice, but you’re not alone.

  5. Her is my take. Wear a mask and hope that others do. I carry Clorox wipes and hand sanitizer in my purse. Social distance. If anyone says you are a conformist – laugh- That’s funny, for both of us. Only you know if you have health issues that put you at high risk. Only you know if noncompliance would really have a negative affect on the anxiety levels of your family

  6. Kim, I’m right there with ya. This pandemic has brought up all kinds of anxiety I didn’t even know was possible. All of my neuroses are taking turns with extra oomph. I’m going back to therapy. I haven’t been since my Dad died, but, yep, it’s time.

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