Hour by hour
Minute by minute.
I’m pretty solid at filling my day. Writing, cleaning, working out, cooking. I know that my routine, however small, helps keep structure to my day and keeps me sane. I’ve spent time lately thinking about and writing about habits and routines. And while I firmly stand behind everything I’ve already written, I’m here today to say, I’m not doing that great.
I’m… struggling? Is that the right word? Honestly I’m not sure how I would characterize what I feel right now. Kind of like I’m rotting. Like the mental and physical skills I’ve spent 30 years building are withering away. And part of me right now wants to yell at this part of me for even admitting that and tell me to work on other skills then! Stop dwelling and start doing.
And damn it she’s right! But the point of writing this right now is to be human and let the world know I am struggling.
This week has been hard. Not in the panic and high anxiety way of previous weeks.
But hard in the, I just don’t care anymore I’m officially putting what little energy I have into every motion of every minute of every day kind of way.
I can’t imagine being a mom or dad out there trying to work and home school and play the role of 17 different people right now while being stuck at home. Or the person at the hospitals or in the stores going about their jobs because we need them all now more than ever. That’s a perspective I’ll forever appreciate and never fully understand.
But the perspective I can bring is this. Me right here. Single. Not working. Has always prided herself on being the hardest worker in the room. And is now sitting here feeling like she’s slowly rotting.
I’ve taken a few turns throughout the last decade, changing careers, starting over, fighting for the positions I wanted to build the skills I needed to forge my own path. Piecing together interests, skills, responsibilities, and goals to create a vision that is still taking shape. And I feel like I’m still just skimming the surface on what is truly possibly. Just barely starting down the path I will continue to create.
Then, at a time when I was already in a mentally strange place of “okay Em suit up, dig in, and create something for yourself,” the world shut down. The rug was completely taken out from underneath. And we spiraled. I spiraled. Going through those grief stages we are all experiencing in our own way.
Looking back, that first week was strange. The social media world quick to make games and challenges out of this. Many seeing it as the little at-home vacation that they could get use to. Or the families juggling jobs, kids, and spouses wondering how in the hell they will make it for an unknown amount of weeks yet to come.
By week two I was in the fetal position. Unbelievable stomach pains leaving me in a ball for a solid five days. Anxiety is weird. I’m used to it triggering the occasional migraine. Then leaving me with the dull headache that never quite goes away. But then, every so often, it will punch me right in the stomach.
This was a next level punch to the stomach. I physically couldn’t move for a few days there, each step sending a sharp pain through my gut. My appetite is still not the same. I cook because I like to do it, but food just doesn’t taste as good right now.
And here we are in week 4 or 5, the social media games are gone and the world seems to be extremely ansy to open back up.
For me, each day gets a little slower.
Oh it’s 9am time for a morning walk that will take me to 10am when I’ll get another cup of coffee and then if I read or scroll long enough I’m almost at 12p which is lunchtime so I guess I’ll eat.
The cures to these feelings are simple. The experts say it’s keeping any routine, structure, or semblance of normalcy.
But that requires will. Mind power.
It’s mental toughness. Mental toughness is what I crave above all else and what is only achieved when you choose, or even better, unwillingly choose to get through something painful and difficult.
Physical strength comes when your mind is strong. And mental strength comes from how you choose to react to hard, painful, and chaotic situations.
And you just have to do it. It’s discipline.
Yet doing this. Getting into that mindset, unapologetically demanding that routine, and accepting that that routine right now might be a watered down version of what it was a month ago, is anything but easy.
I’ve said before we have to put one foot in front of the other. For the ones that want to not just get through this but get through this a little better, a little bit changed, putting one foot in front of the other is essential.
But I’m here to tell you right now that my foot is feeling heavy. Those steps are labored. My mind is fragile. And above all else, in this moment, I’m feeling empty. I’m struggling to take my own advice, but I’m trying. Going through the motions. My appetite has yet to return. I’m walking that fine line of lonely and alone constantly. And I just want a hug.
Jerry, get over here.
Here’s to another day. A day I’ve decided to expose the weaker thoughts and realities happening over here in Em’s world.
For anyone feeling the same way (and I know it’s a lot of you), keep going. Take those steps even though they’re heavy. Wake up even though you don’t want to. Get in that workout, any workout, even though it’s not what you did a month ago. I’m with you. And even though it sucks, you will not only get through this, but you’ll get through this better if you simply choose to do so. If you just keep putting one foot in front of the other.
Now get over here, Jerry, Em needs a hug.