I’m not okay.
I should clarify, I’m fine. I’m safe, I’m healthy, I have a job that is secure even in the current market, I have a home (thankfully a much larger one than I would have had had I not broken my lease early), and no one close to me has even been seriously sick yet. I am not a danger to myself or others. I’m fine.
But I’m not okay. More specifically, if I were behaving two months ago the way I’m behaving now, I’d be legitimately concerned about my mental health. I’m crying on a daily basis (the weirdest one was that I cried because a package was delivered sooner than expected, but it’s been in reaction to almost anything); I have trouble concentrating on tasks and often repeat myself; I’m sleeping too much or too little; I’m very easily irritated (which often leads to crying); I have trouble concentrating on tasks and often repeat myself; and probably the worst, I’ve been reliving all of the terrible things I’ve ever done and feeling guilty about them. Way, *way* more than I usually do. (While we’re on that topic, David Berzinski, I’m sorry I shoved your head into a hook when we got into a fight in the coatroom in fifth grade. You had it coming because you started that shit, but I still feel bad about it).
I consciously know that I’m fine, and I’m really grateful that I’m doing as well as I am because I know that’s not true for everyone. But subconsciously, I’m not okay. We’re all stressed out AF, and that’s taking a toll on all of us. The stress presents itself in different ways for all of us, and I know that I’m lucky to only be dealing with what I’m dealing with. But the stress is presenting itself for me in a couple of very specific ways. First is that my job is at a place that’s helping to address food insecurity. Which, I probably don’t need to tell you, has skyrocketed in the past couple of months. So work is harder and even more overwhelming than it usually is. The other is that I’m sheltering-in-place alone, and, guys, it’s lonely in here. I’ve still got a social network that I’ve gotten to lean on. We’re checking in on each other, we’re zooming and texting, I’ve had actual real-life physical contact because I’ve been helping out some family members and had to be added to their social distancing circle. Again, I’m luckier than most.
Only my stupid son of a bitch body isn’t listening. It’s telling me that not only are things very bad out there (seriously, the deaths, the sickness, the racism, the just unimaginable need), but that I’ve also been abandoned. Because physically, no one is around and I’m trying to justify that (by reliving all the terrible things I did to drive them away. Thanks for that one, brain). Also for the struggling parents out there right now, I completely understand why you might be swearing at me and wishing to have no one around. If it helps, I’m swearing at you that you have someone physically close enough to you that you’re annoyed with them. God and her sick sense of humor and whatnot. So I’m coping with what I know is a stressful situation and what I feel is a stressful situation.
Now I’m not saying all of this to bum you out. As weird as it sounds, I’m not stressed or upset about constantly being stressed and upset. It’s kind of like having food poisoning. If you’re expelling stuff from just all the parts of your body for a day and you don’t know why, it’s time to panic. But if you’re vomiting because you know that the frozen waffles you ate were past the expiration date, you’re not as concerned with why you ruined a pair of your sister’s pajama pants (right, Maureen, sorry about your pants I ruined in high school). You might not know when the vomiting will stop and you might get worried if it goes on long enough, but you’re not constantly thinking “what the HELL is wrong with me?” Because you know what’s wrong with you.
So given that I know what’s wrong with me, I’m going to try to let myself cry and sleep without judgment. I might also indulge in some extra food and drink because maybe you can’t reason with your body, but you sure can drug that bitch. I’m not going to watch John Krasinski’s feel-good-happy-times because those don’t work for me, but I’m not going to begrudge others for doing so (although I do still side-eye the Jack Ryan show). Our new normal is that everything is abnormal, and my new okay is that I’m not okay. I’m not okay, and I’m fine with that.
Header Image Source: Universal Pictures