For the second time in less than a week they have shut the water off at my workplace and I have opted to go home early. I just don’t feel comfortable being there when I know I won’t be able to wash my hands as often and neither will my coworkers. It worked out great anyway because I needed to head to our west location free Covid-19 infection and antibody testing was being offered.
Before the shut down my wife had a nasty respiratory infection. I didn’t think much of it at the time, even though her symptoms were pretty bad. Now I wonder if she had a milder version. It’s possible, and it’s possible I was asymptomatic after being exposed. It’s much more possible she had a more common infection, and I didn’t get sick because we were careful to keep her in another part of the house and to disinfect high-touch areas even then.
Either way, I would like the peace of mind of knowing whether I may have any immunity or not, and whether others may have been put at risk or not.
I was home in time for lunch and spent the afternoon trying my best not to take a nap. It helped to stay at the desk, to make a list of the things I needed to do, and to have my wife sit across from me and work on her own projects to motivate me. I still have hours left to fill before bed time but as long as I stay well away from the couch or the bed I should be fine.
Going back to work means having less time in the morning to check the news or keep up with social media. After lunch I logged into Twitter and was quickly overwhelmed. I’d already heard about the confrontation in Central Park, but the stories seemed to have reached every corner of the internet, and then I saw the video of George Floyd being restrained by police officers. It hurt to watch. I’m still hurting. With everything that’s going on, you’d think the world would be coming together, but instead I only see more and more hate every day.
It isn’t just these incidents. The videos of protesters calling for us to accept more death and of essential workers and concerned citizens being spit and coughed on is weighing on me too. This amount of hurt only brings more hurt because every time we hurt one, we hurt the whole and when we kill one we kill a part of the whole we can never bring back. I wish more people knew that.
Today is a much better day. I haven’t felt this good, productive, and focused since last Friday. I still didn’t get out for my walk but I spent the morning clearing out space in the garage and moving in our old elliptical machine, my weights, and a yoga mat to make a dedicated space to work out. I think having spent the last few months cooped up into just the four main rooms in the house makes knowing I have a new place to go to move my body really exciting.
Tomorrow morning I’m going to wake up a full 45 minutes early to head down there and do what I can of a small work out. I’m still trying not to push myself too hard, but I’m also trying to make an impact on my weight, energy levels, and muscle tone.
After lunch I took another one of those too long and too deep naps I’ve gotten into the bad habit of slipping into. I was initially angry with myself for losing so much time again but the truth is I need it and though I don’t know exactly why it’s good to just listen to my body right now and give it what it needs.
I’m glad I did too. After I woke up my mood was greatly improved and Iwas able to get some cleaning done, prepare for work tomorrow, do some small self-care things, and finish readingWoman Much Missed by Thomas Hardy. It feels good to do the hard things that you know will make you feel better instead of the easy things you know won’t. I wish I had the willpower and the good health to do it all the time.
The holiday is an afterthought, I’m sorry. It’s not that I don’t care about our fallen solders or because I don’t love my country or my freedom enough. It’s just that there is so much else on my mind. I’m grateful to every solders sacrifice, but the feeling is overshadowed by the gratitude I feel for those making sacrifices right now. I hope the fallen and their families can understand.
And anyway, and the unofficial start to the summer is no longer the celebratory time it used to be. There are no backyard barbeques, no pools or amusement parks opening, no festivals or events to look forward to. Summer will not begin for a very long time, if at all.
The weather has turned gloomy and cold outside and my mood has almost no chance of improving from yesterday. I still haven’t found a way out of this funk. I’m still irritable and down. I’m on the edge and everything feels like too much, or not right, or bothersome. I don’t want to do anything but not doing anything makes me feel, at best, guilty, and, at worst, angry, with myself and whoever happens to be around.
A lot of it might be because I skipped my morning walk. I forgot how much I need the fresh air and the perspective during these times. The little route around the neighborhood is a kind of walking meditation now, especially since I make sure not to take my phone out or put my headphones in. Those 20 minutes spent unplugged front the world mean more than I realized.
Then again, maybe it isn’t the walk, or maybe the walk is only part of it, a symptom of something much bigger.
Maybe I thought going back to work would help, and it turns out that having nothing at all to do but sit at home and go to work is worse than just sitting home. Maybe giving over all my energy and capacity to my coworkers and our simple duties left me with nothing for myself. Maybe the combination of isolation and loneliness coupled with increased fear and anxiety may just have pushed me over the edge of hopelessness and melancholy.
Maybe I’ve lost a sense of importance and purpose of my job over these past few months. My work is not essential and with everything going on the risk hardly seems worth it right now, for any of us. Maybe I’m a little angry too at being asked to come back before there are concrete answers about the virus and the future.
You ever have a bad day but can put your finger on any one thing that happened to make you feel that way? Today was one of those days.
Nothing feels right today. Nothing is what I want or need. I don’t want to do anything and I don’t want to do nothing. I don’t want to be left alone, but I don’t want to talk or be touched. I’m tried but I can’t sleep. I want to eat, but not because I’m hungry. I want to feel better, but I’m stuck in this perspective and I can’t see any way out.
I was able to knock a few things off of the weekend to-do list, but it was a battle the whole way. From my morning walk, to taking care of the pets, to cleaning and cooking, and even in leisure I fought myself, ridiculed myself, made deals and manipulated myself to try to elicit some change, some motivation, some better version of myself I knew was buried.
I may have won a few battles, but the war feels like a lost cause. So, I accept the facts in front of me. It’s a bad day then and there’s nothing left to do now but wait until tomorrow and hope.
We’re starting to check people’s temperatures as they enter the building at work. It’s strange to stand there, hold your breath, wonder and worry for the three to five seconds it takes for the thermometer to register your temperature and for your coworker to let you know whether it is safe or not for you to be there.
We’ve been doing our best to keep our masks on and to keep our distance from each other, but it isn’t always easy. We’ve spread out the filing and the equipment so we don’t have to hover near each other for what we need and we’ve reduced the number of seats in our classroom. Every door is either an entrance or an exit, and soon lunches will need to be taken outdoors.
I’m actually beginning to get used to wearing a mask all day. I might even be starting to like it. At first it was awful, but now it makes me feel protected. I feel like I’m doing the right thing, even if it is uncomfortable and sometimes anxiety inducing. More than that, it feels safe and not just because of the virus. It’s the same reason I wear thick-rimmed glasses and let my hair fall in my face. I like to be hidden.
There’s no telling how long these precautions will be in place or whether things will get better or worse, but the rumors floating around aren’t comforting. There is the budget, of course, I won’t even get into that, and talk of not all kids going to school on the same days and a limit to the number of kids that can be on a bus on a time. These are going to be some very big changes and we are being asked to be patient and wait until at least July 1st before we expect any concrete answers.
It is still surprising how just 4 hours back at work can exhaust me not just mentally but physically. Almost every day this week I have needed to nap for over an hour after returning home. I really hope it will start getting easier soon. I’m losing a lot of time I could be using to read, or write, or listen to podcasts, or even clean my house, all the things I have been doing since the quarantine began. I’d like to make time for them still, even that time must be greatly reduced.
At least I’ve been keeping up with the evening walks around the neighborhood. Even when I don’t think I’m in the mood or when I don’t think I have the energy, within minutes of getting out there I feel good. I never regret it. I wish I was seeing some difference in the way I feel or my weight on the scale but it seems no matter how much more I move I still seem to gain.
Starting next week I’m going to move our old elliptical machine into the garage and track my meals, snacks, water, and coffee intake. There is a disconnect somewhere and I mean to find it and start making some progress.
It’s a question of less and more, I am sure. Less of the bad options and more exercise. Less excuses and more willpower. Less letting my emotions control my consumptions and more mindfulness in every meal and movement.
Mid-week means something again. It’s my second day back at work and I’m already looking forward to the upcoming long weekend. Not because today was a bad day. Quite the opposite, actually.
Early in the day two of my coworkers and I took a short break for a small grocery run at Walmart. We ended up finding exactly three bottles of hand sanitizer. Later our boss told us she’d just come from Target where Clorox wipes had just been put on the shelves. She gave us all permission to leave then and there to get some. I haven’t been able to buy either product in months. Today felt not just good, but lucky.
Work was easy enough. I’m largely being left alone to do the projects I’ve tasked myself with. No one is worried or bothered by me. I’m still feeling a little off from my infusion yesterday but on the whole I’m much, much better. It’s just that being out and being around people is still a lot. Even at the infusion center yesterday, I felt withdrawn and irritable by the people around me. I wanted to be left alone.
I wonder if the anti-social change will be permanent. I suspect not, but I don’t see the scar healing over completely. This experience will change us all, and social interaction might not ever be the same.
I’ve noticed I get angry at people who are not following guidelines for masks or social distancing in public. I glared at a man in the home improvement store yesterday who didn’t wear a mask and I felt almost disgusted seeing coworkers hugging. I don’t mean to be so harsh and I am actively weighing and adjusting my thoughts, feelings, and beliefs toward others as needed.
I don’t know what is the right level of anger or what kind of social consequences there should be. I know that I can understand why people do the things they do and I also know that this is new for everyone and quite hard to get used too. I’m trying to be patient and forgiving of the defiance and the disregard, but it is not easy.