Double vision is no longer interrupting my days. I can stay up until 1am without my reality splitting apart. I can wake up without objects in my room hovering over each other. People no longer have four eyes when I look at them! I do have a little double on the outer edges of my vision, But it's nothing like it was and it's wonderful. With everything going on, my eyes have taken a backseat On my list of things to worry about. There are more important things to be concerned about. Like staying healthy, drinking water, keeping six feet away From other people, washing my hands, not touching my face. My eyes were everything I was concerned about last year. They were constantly up and down. I couldn't predict where they would be or how I would feel. Then a global pandemic occurs and my double vision decides To walk out the backdoor without saying goodbye. I'm incredibly grateful and fortunate that my eyes are improving. It's also nice to share some happy news right now. After eighteen months, I see light at the end of the tunnel.
The first quote in The New York Time’s Plague Season, Through the Eyes of Writers is by Virginia Woolf. “It was an uncertain spring.” Uncertain is a good way to put it. We don’t know how long this will last or what will happen when life is allowed to slowly wake up again. There’s a lot of uncertainty going on.
This spring has been more interesting than most. People are staying inside. Things are looking up because of it. But, it’s difficult to be going through this when there are so many mixed messages about everything regarding this situation. Things change every day. It shows that health organizations are run by humans and this new virus takes quite some time to fully understand. How helpful are masks? Is walking outside acceptable? Are family members who are also quarantining allowed to come by? What will life be like when we’re allowed to to do things again? What about a second and possibly third wave of this virus? How bad will it get? Each person will have a different response to these questions.
My therapist told me that in a lot of families he deals with, there’s one person who is more cautious than the rest of the family members. I’m that person in my family. I want everyone to be safe, so I want limited contact with the outside world. Both fortunately and unfortunately, you can’t control other people. I can’t control my parents comings and goings. Although, they have become a lot better about staying in because there’s literally nothing to do but go to the store. So they don’t have another choice but to remain indoors.
James Balwin said in his famous speech The Artist’s Struggle for Integrity, “[This is] a time … when something awful is happening to a civilization, when it ceases to produce poets, and, what is even more crucial, when it ceases in any way whatever to believe in the report that only the poets can make.” Writers, poets, and all artists see life differently. This is why they can make the work they do. It’s important to read their work, view their work, understand what they are trying to to say through their art. We all have a unique perspective. To offer some light in the darkness.
Below are some of my favorite quotes from The New York Times link I mentioned at the beginning. Beneath that are some links to some things that have been making me happy lately.
Take care of yourself.
“Some days felt longer than other days. Some days felt like two whole days.”
Josua Ferris, Then We Came To The End
“I’ve heard the saying “That sucks” for years without really being sure of what it meant. Now I think I know.”
Stephen King, The Stand
“One reason cats are happier than people is that they have no newspapers.”
Gwendolyn Brooks, In The Mecca
“Nobody wants to be here and nobody wants to leave.”
Cormac McCarthy, The Road
“Do you periodically walk around and check to see that “the area is secure”?”
Padgett Powell, The Interrogative Mood
“I get so lonely sometimes, I could put a box on my head and mail myself to a stranger.”
Mary Karr, Lit
“If you’re lonely when you’re alone, you’re in bad company.”
Attributed to Jean-Paul Sartre
“How we survived: we locked the doors and let nobody in.”
Ellen Bryan Voigt, Kyrie
“If you don’t know the exact moment when the lights will go out, you might as well read until they do.”
Clive James, Latest Readings
“When he is sick, every man wants his mother.”
Philip Roth, The Anatomy Lesson
Baseball is Back: Some Good News with John Krasinski Ep. 3 – Some Good News
Why You Should Start a Coronavirus Diary – The New York Times
Emma Watson and Author Valerie Hudson Discuss “Sex and World Peace” – Teen Vogue
Ashley C. Ford Interview – OkReal
Maggie Rogers – Back In My Body – Official Documentary
The Nanny by Emma Cline – The Paris Review
everyday chocolate cake recipe – smitten kitchen
17 No-Bake Desserts For Everyone Who’s Too Exhausted To Bake – Huffington Post
The Functionally Dysfunctional Matriarchy of “Better Things” – The New Yorker
Conan Gray – The Story
Demi Lovato Finally Feels Free – Harper’s Bazaar
The Renegades – The New York Times
books that help – John Green
frances ha perfect shots – Twitter
Portrait of a Lady on Fire – Hulu
I find comfort in writing. It used to be the opposite. I used to be scared to write things down. Because writing things down makes them real. But now I have found there’s a comfort in placing my thoughts down on the page instead of having them consume my brain. If I can let go of my feelings in a creative way, I can process these moments of fear with calm and levity. I can make a cup of tea, write down what I want to say, some of it appears here, some never see the light of day. Writing in moments like these have made me see the light with writing things as they happen instead of writing a reflection. The feelings are different now than they would be writing from memory. Honesty comes from mindfulness which stems from an awareness of understanding what’s happening. It’s difficult to be real and honest when what’s happening isn’t familiar. Coping mechanisms such as avoidance and distractions don’t last when awareness seeps through everything I do. The more I write, the more I let my feelings out, the better perspective I have on everything. I used to fear writing about things in the moment. Now I find comfort in placing my thoughts down on the page then walking away.
Inspired by #IKeepMyselfSaneBy on Twitter.
I limit how much news I watch and read. I write every day. I drink water. I read books. I go for walks with my dog. I hang out with my cat. I FaceTime with friends. I do yoga. I go the therapy. I meditate a lot. I color in an adult coloring book. I check in with myself. I submit poems to literary magazines. I listen to music. I listen to podcasts. I watch tv and movies. I get a lot of sleep. I take naps. I find balance. I have hope. I breathe.
Before you press send, check to make sure the information your sharing is accurate. A quick google search will let you know if the information, article, or quote you gravitated towards is correct. You don’t want to be spreading misinformation.
Labeling anxiety and mental health as negative is harmful. Anxiety is a natural response and many people experience it, including myself. It’s not wrong to be worried or feel anxious right now. It’s not wrong to be worried or feel anxious ever. Learning tools to help your mental health can be beneficial. There’s no shame if you have to take medication for your mental health too. There’s no “one size fits all” category when it comes to what works for people. But labeling it as something negative only causes more negative feelings, which doesn’t make things better. Take care of yourself the best you can.
When going outside for a walk, move to the side when passing people. Keep six feet apart as much as possible. Having both people move to the side widens the gap and keeps everyone safe. It’s only common sense not to take up the whole side walk, especially when walking passed people. Form a single file line if you’re walking in a group. Be respectful and practice social etiquette by social distancing.
No one wants schools to close. No one wants people to lose their jobs. No one wants people to stay in their houses. No one wants the economy to be where it is. No one wants to worry about getting sick. No one wants life to change the way it has. But it has to keep us safe. If we want to get through this, which I think is the general consensus, we have to stay home if we can. For those of you who are healthcare workers, grocery store workers, or any other essential workers who have to work outside the house, thank you for all that you do.
Be smart. Stay safe. Drink water. Wear something over your nose and mouth when going out in public. Cough and sneeze into your arm. Wash your hands.
The Isolation Journals is the push you need to write right now. – LitHub
Zoom Surprise: Some Good News with John Krasinski Ep. 2 – YouTube
Glennon Doyle Asks Us to “Feel it All” in ‘UNTAMED’ – Hello Sunshine
Emma Roberts on Belletrist, Joan Didion, and Why Now Is the Right Time to Pick Up a Good Book – Vogue
Thanks to Bookshop, There Is No Reason to Buy Books on Amazon Anymore – Inside Hook
King Princess: Tiny Desk (Home) Concert – YouTube
“Portrait Of A Lady On Fire” Is The Perfect Quarantine Watch – Buzzfeed News
Brené on FFTs
Tarana Burke and Brené on Being Heard and Seen
Glennon Doyle and Brené on Untamed
National Poetry Month Books for 2020
How to Navigate Public Spaces and More – The New York Times
Social Distancing Is a Privilege – The New York Times
Overcrowding Makes It Hard For Native Americans To Socially Distance – NPR
Social Distancing Might Stop. And Start. And Stop. And Start. Until We Have A Vaccine. – Buzzfeed News
After The Coronavirus Passes, Your World Will Not Go Back To Normal – Buzzfeed News
That Discomfort You’re Feeling Is Grief – Harvard Business Review
Chronic Uncertainty Lessons for a global pandemic, from a permanently sick person. – The Cut
I’m walking down a trail, the concrete is hard beneath my feet. I feel my legs moving me forward. I cross back and forth from the sidewalk to grass, grass to sidewalk, sidewalk back to grass, then back to the sidewalk, when I pass by people. I’ve realized most walk in clusters, uncertain of what day it is or how they got outside. I simmer my frustration with compassion, and continue to focus on feeling my body move forward as the sun falls on my neck. We’re all a little lost right now.
John Krasinski launched a YouTube show the other day called Some Good News. I watched the first episode and simultaneously laughed and cried. I’ve been relishing in good content as much as I possibly can. Whether it’s cute animal videos on TikTok (links below) or watching late-night talk show hosts work from home, anything that brings me comfort is good.
My anxiety has been all over the place lately. Worrying for myself, my loved ones, and those I know can be overwhelming at moments. Yesterday, I was feeling a lot of physical anxiety. Today, it’s lessened a bit. It comes in waves. I know I’m not alone in feeling this way, which brings me both comfort and sadness. We’re all going through this pandemic together as a global community. It can be scary to face an unknown of this magnitude.
What good news and stories have you been digesting? What has kept you afloat during these trying times? Comment below!
- Some days I’m more focused than others.
- Meditating at the same time every day is ideal.
- Self-judgment only makes things worse.
- How many times I come back to the breath is more important than how many times I linger away.
- I can go for more than ten minutes without needing to look at my phone.
- Thoughts and urges are temporary.
- It’s possible to have a quiet mind.
- It’s good to feel feelings.
- Meditation makes life feel less scary.
- Deep breathing is calming.
- Belly breathing as often as possible is relaxing my back and neck muscles.
- I can form new habits over time.
- Change is only what I want it to be. It can be overwhelming but it can also be productive and exciting.
- I may not be able to control a situation but I can control how I respond.
- Being present is a beautiful thing.
- Awareness of how situations impact me emotionally.
- There’s more time in the day than I think.
- I don’t have to run away from my feelings.
- There are healthier ways to cope with overwhelming feelings.
- I’m happier when I take care of my mental health.
I’m not used to having my anxiety come from external forces for an extended amount of time, especially at this magnitude. I’ve spent the last week in my head, trying to avoid the news as much as possible. I have gravitated towards good news, positive quotes, and tv shows while locking my feelings in a closet in my mind. Last week, I meditated a lot. This week, I created endless stories in my head on a loop. Silly stories, happy stories, stories where things turn out alright. This is how I used to deal with anxiety before I found meditation. It’s not that I’m in a bad place mentally, I’m just fearful and as a result, I reverted to my old coping tactics while continuing to meditate and go for walks. I’m still trying to find a healthy balance.
I think the news last week became too overwhelming for me. I was keeping up with it, trying to read as many stories as possible. I know it’s worse this week, I look at the numbers once a day with a pit in my stomach. Many states, including where I live, are on a ‘Stay At Home’ order. The news is overwhelmingly terrifying, no matter if you watch the news, read it online, or listen to podcasts. We’re living in an uncertain time where a large number of people are getting sick and some of them are dying in a short amount of time. I see stories online of healthcare workers sharing their stories of being on the front lines and it’s heart-wrenching to read.
I recently started reading Glennon Doyle’s Untamed and in her book she says, “feel it all.” Whatever you’re feeling at this moment, it’s valid. The times we’re living in are causing stress and fear in a lot of people. When we’re told we can’t continue our daily lives, we can’t go out and be around people, it’s jarring. As a global community, we’ve never experienced something like this in our lifetimes. Whatever you’re doing for self-care is good as long as you’re not locking away your feelings in a closet for too long. Don’t be afraid to feel your feelings.
Untamed by Glennon Doyle
How to be Lonely – New York Times
The House of Belonging by David Whyte
i have already watched this a million times – Twitter
Brothers convince little sister of zombie apocalypse
Pamela Adlon Has the Recipe for Staying Sane During a Pandemic – W Magazine
Mental Health Tips from People Who’ve Been There – John Green
House-Sitting for Joan Didion – Vogue Magazine
I Spent a Year in Space, and I Have Tips on Isolation to Share – New York Times
Can Trump Legally Order the Country Back to Work From Coronavirus by Easter? – New York Times
Liberty University Is Staying Open During The Coronavirus Pandemic And Students Are Confused And Concerned – Buzzfeed News
Coronavirus Threatens an Already Strained Maternal Health System – New York Times
Stop Yelling Out the Window. Just Give Doctors the Masks You’re Hoarding. – New York Times
Doctors Are Writing Their Wills – New York Times
YouTube Informative Videos
3D-Printed Face Shields Are Protecting Hospital Workers From Coronavirus – Vice News
I’m a Doctor on the Frontlines of COVID-19. Ask Me Anything. – Jubilee
How the Coronavirus Pandemic Compares to the Spanish Flu – The New Yorker
What a World at Home Looks Like
We sit at home and wait to know that it's safe. We don't know when that will be. Weeks, months, it's all up in the air. I go for a drive to relieve stress. The snow reflects off the mountains. People are outside walking. That's all they can do these days. People in clusters. People in cars. Some trails are closed. Others are over-populated. The news is overwhelming and bleak, I peak then shut myself away. Choosing to think of happier things, Instead of drowning in the scariness of now.