Well damn, it finally happened. I got COVID. Nearly two years of jumping between fear and comfort, I got it. Two vaccinations eased my concerns throughout the past year. Hearing news about the new omicron variant has caused my anxiety to creep back up into the foreground of my daily life. Testing positive less than a week before the holidays doesn’t help things either. It means a second straight year without being able to see my family on Christmas. Just when there was a sense of normalcy, it feels like we are back at the start of things.
Even with all the negative things I mentioned, there is a weird sense of relief. No more feeling like I’m dodging it or false alarms when I contract a common cold. But with that being said, I can’t help but have all the COVID horror stories bouncing around my mind while I feel a tickle in my throat or while sniffling more than usual. I’m around five days in while writing this. I have felt better everyday but the fear remains.
As I mentioned, my anxiety is back at a heightened level like it was pre-vaccine. Any small sensation throws my mind into a vortex, my heart starts racing, and I begin breathing quickly. I hated this feeling the first time around. I will try my best to not let it get to that point again. I was lost and unaware of what anxiety can cause in a person the first time around. I am more prepared to tackle these symptoms.
This pandemic has been a rollercoaster and a real eye opener in terms of how bad my anxiety can get. But I’ll get through it, and so will you.
Man. I’m sure everyone else is just as tired of hearing about the pandemic as I am but I’ve learned a lot in the last two years. Maybe someone had the same experience and it gives them comfort in knowing my struggles. I know that helps me.
This pandemic has hit me hard. I moved out of my childhood home in August 2020 and I learned how poor my mental health could be when left in solitude with nothing more than my thoughts and the occasional distraction. I found out how angry, how depressed, and how anxious I could be. Our minds truly try to deceive us, at times. For a good year and a half, I could barely breathe. “Covid must have ravaged my lungs”, I thought. With my nasal passages closed tight and struggling to fill my lungs with oxygen, I believed it was a matter of time before I suffocated and my time on this earth was up. Although my supportive girlfriend was by my side, I couldn’t help but feel alone. That’s what being in your head all day is like. Around many but still all alone. I was experiencing anxiety attacks on, what felt like, a near everyday basis. Eating to quiet the thoughts and ease the anxiety only put a pause on the struggles and ,as a result, I became the unhealthiest version of myself that I had ever been. In January 2021, while in the midst of my nightly 2 am eating session to help me forget about my thoughts of inadequacy and breathlessness, I finally thought my time was up. This was not a panic attack I had ever felt before. “This is it. My lungs are giving out. It’s over.” I woke up my girlfriend from her sleep and asked her to take me to the hospital. After x-rays and bloodwork that spanned four to five hours and the anticipation of horrible news throughout that entire time, it was revealed to me by the doctor that my lungs were COMPLETELY and UTTERLY……fine. As was my bloodwork. I couldn’t believe it. Everything was in my mind. “How could you do this to me? How couldIdo this to me?” “Is there anyone else who has been feeling like this or am I still all alone!?” “This is anxiety? How do some people function with this s**t?” With the news that I was fine I could finally work to improve. And that’s where I’m at right now: Working to improve. I can’t help but feel that my mind betrayed me and I betrayed my body these last couple of years. If you’re in the same boat just know that all we can do now is work to improve.
Things are getting better. Maybe writing helps me. Maybe that’s why I finally got the cajones to start this blog. After the tremendous mental struggle I have had recently, I realize that struggles will always be present in life, but without having your head right, they become that much harder to tackle. Trouble with finances and trouble finding the “right career” are not as big of a deal as we make them out to be. If your mental health is right, good things will follow as long as you’re trying. Focus on you. Do what makes you happy. Don’t stop, no matter how often your mind tells you to do so. Show it who runs the show. It’s easy to give up. Trying is much more difficult. Challenge yourself. It’s more fun anyway.