Anyone else spend the last 6 months of the pandemic being completely fucking useless and accomplishing absolutely fucking nothing? Just me? Please don't tell me it was just me! I started out as an essential worker. But because I worked for a small business and business quickly all but disappeared, I found myself laid off mid April. At first, I didn't think much of it. Didn't panic. Didn't expect it last long. I've never lived during a pandemic before and I couldn't recall what I'd learned so long ago in school. To be honest, I kinda looked forward to a little break. A vacation. Only I couldn't go anywhere because everything was shut down and I didn't have any money. But hey, I was getting unemployment and I didn't have to go to work every day.
I was gonna spend quarantine with Whitey (my cat). But she got sick shortly after I got laid off. Then she progressively got worse and I ended up spending several weeks nursing her at home until Memorial weekend when I had to say goodbye! Then, my depression overcame me and I was stuck. The day she died, I stayed up for over 24 hours. I couldn't go to sleep, not without my princess! When I finally did, it was only for about four hours.
Most days, it was a combination of guilt and habit that made me get out of bed. Even though I didn't have a job, nor any obligations, nor any responsibilities, not even a cat to feed! Something just told me to get out of bed; I wasn't sleeping, you're supposed to sleep in bed. I'd go from the bed to the couch. Turn on the TV for background noise. Sometimes just sit there in silence, without even a thought, just staring at the spot Whitey should be sitting in.
Some days my only accomplishment was showing. That, I considered a big accomplishment because showing became such an ordeal. Just the thought of it made me exhausted, having to stand there long enough to wash my hair and my body and shave. I started to forego washing my hair more often. I became a semi hermit, only leaving my apartment about once a week. I made sure to do everything that day so I wouldn't have to go out again. I even had to give myself mental pep talks to take my trash out because I just didn't want to step outside. I'd get this overwhelming sense of panic and I'd just sit there saying to myself, "Just take out the dam trash. It'll take five minutes! It's just downstairs and around the corner. You need to get some steps in. You need some vitamin D. You need to get up off your fat ass! Just take out the dam trash!" Sometimes, I'd repeat it for hours before I'd actually do it. Sometimes, I'd wait till the next day!
I started volunteering at a senior center once or twice a week. That gave me a sense of purpose. I didn't feel completely fucking useless anymore. But it only lasted about a month. The lead person took another job and I didn't get a good vibe from his replacement so I never went back. I tried to force myself to go for walks, I told myself just a few minutes a day, just something! But, I'm not good with the "just a few minutes a day" thing. I like hiking and my hikes are miles. I like to walk for a few miles then lay out on a picnic table and read and work on my tan and this takes up at least 2 hours. I'd go one day, then I'd stay inside for about a week! I don't why I do that. I know hiking makes me feel better. I know I love being out in nature and breathing the fresh air and feeling the sun and (even though I'm sore and tired after) I never regret it! Its just motivating myself to do it!
I started to wonder . . . how did I do it? How did I go to work everyday for all those years? How did I leave my apartment 5-7 days a week, hold down a full time job, go to the gym almost every day after work, go hiking several times a week, go to the wine shop, dinner with friends? Then I realized, that was all a distraction. That's how I kept from submitting to my depression and anxiety this whole time. I kept myself busy with work and the gym and hiking and wine tasting and what few friends I had. Ever since lock down, all that stuff went away. And I keep trying, little by little, to get get back to my routine, to some kind of normalcy. Instead of wondering how I was able to function so long as a normal human being, I need to start wondering how the fuck am I going to do it again!