Honesty is one of the hardest things to do. Especially honesty with ourselves. We live too busy to address our deepest emotions so we push them to the side. The truth is that the realness of our thoughts, actions, and reactions to those emotions are sometimes too hard to face.
In the last two blogs, 20 Things You Can Do To Survive Social Distancing and 16 Things To Avoid While Staying Home I talked about this topic of being honest with ourselves and others. It is crucial always but even more so in difficult times like COVID-19. When we ignore and suppress thoughts, feelings, and anxieties that emerge, they have a way of just bursting out at the wrong time and at the wrong people.
Which is what I had to experience the hard way. Actually many of the tips in both 20 Things You Can Do To Survive Social Distancing and 16 Things To Avoid While Staying Home come from me having to sit with myself to understand what was working for me and what wasn’t. A couple of weeks ago, right before I wrote those two blogs I was hit with my own burst of a reality check when I got a panic attack.
You see right before this stay at home order began, and before we knew the gravity of the situation, I got sick. So by the time the fear was spreading outside, I was in bed trying to just make it out of a what I hoped was a cold. With an autoimmune disease and being sick during a pandemic, my stress levels were high. However, right after I started feeling better I needed to now play the catch-up game.
By this time schools had closed, my children were one hundred percent studying at home. I went from being in bed with a fever to super mommy mode. I became my children’s teacher, piano instructor, and soccer coach. It was a lot of new responsibilities but I felt like I could deal. I had no time to think about the gravity of things, I had to suck it up. So I lied to myself. The stay-at-home order was not affecting me, I repeated in my head.
Work-wise I felt this situation hadn’t changed much. I write most of the time at home. My office had always been my living room. So, when I found myself having to stay home, I felt like it wasn’t a big deal. That wasn’t until I found myself with uninterrupted time in my living room, but with a very interrupting workflow. With both my children having to do school and extracurricular activities from home now I had to place my work in the back burner.
I took for granted the hours I had to work in silence. The time I was able to look at different scenery on my way to and from my daughter’s school. Or my time at the gym! My gym time, I really didn’t consider how much that would knock me out of balance. I didn’t know how much having to stop work every five minutes would affect my anxiety levels either.
I found myself now pacing back and forth. Three steps, back and forth. So many things on my head. The state of so many unprotected people weighed heavily in my heart and on my mind as well. Just the thought of those without a shelter, those unprotected, the ones who had lost someone, those who were already infected, my anxiety and sadness would begin to sneak in. I would then immediately suppress it with my optimism. Everything will be okay I would tell myself. It was a dose of optimism with a slap of self-criticism. “You are overreacting”, another lie I told myself.
A small burst of tears to random things was a sign I needed to address something; I didn’t want to listen though. I knew that I couldn’t face my honest truth because I had to focus on being there for those that needed me to stay strong. So, I continued on just fine.
My productivity began to slow down. While my desire to stay in bed began to grow. Then one afternoon, as I was trying to finish a piece, I began to feel like I couldn’t breathe. An overwhelming sense of massive sadness came over my body. I tried to breath but I couldn’t! The more I gasped for air, the more I felt like air was just thinning around me. My heart began to race as if it wanted to leave my body. My head throbbing from trying to suppress so much sentiment in for so long. I began to feel weak, my body felt a tingling sensation as if it was falling asleep. The more I tried to shake it, it felt tighter. My tears just began to burst out! I lost control!
There it was! What I tried to suppress taking over me now.
For those that have never experienced a panic attack or anxiety, it feels like a racketball of emotions. Sometimes you feel it coming like you would a swinging racketball, and sometimes it will just hit you. In both cases, you can’t stop it from happening once the ball is in motion. All you can do is allow the emotions to flow. The more you fight them the bigger the blow.
Now it is easy for those of us who speak on personal development to say we must push through and that those that are struggling with this are those that were doing the average life. However, as someone that likes to keep it real with you guys, I will tell you that it would be reckless of me to tell you that. It is that mentality that causes suppressed emotions, mental health problems, and ultimately affecting our overall health.
Many personal development gurus have actually recently opened up about the effects this worldwide pandemic has had on them. Jay Shetty, a monk and public speaker, during an IG live opened up about the unhealthy amounts of video games he now plays. Justin Baldoni, actor in Jane the Virgin, also spoke on his recent desires to indulge in morbid videos. Public speaker, Mel Robbins, has also shared her experience in this pandemic. She made a video speaking up and sharing that she was faced with an anxiety attack during this pandemic as well.
I appreciate these very well known leaders and influencers speaking out. It’s weird to say but in many ways I am glad I experienced that low because it allowed me to come back down to reality. Which is that I AM HUMAN! I want to give you tips and actual advice coming from a flawed, raw, place. A real place. This pandemic has taught us so much, but most importantly it taught us to listen to our bodies. Our health, physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual is all intertwined. We can’t focus on one and say we are healthy. We must focus on every aspect of our health.
I want you to remember this any time you feel like you are not dealing with this pandemic like you “should” I want you to give yourself grace. Be honest with yourself and allow emotions to flow. Then be honest with others about how you feel. The only way we will get through this is by being honest, showing ourselves grace and doing this together. With that being said know my channels of communication are always open. The best way to reach me is by DM in my Instagram @lupita_betteryouspace This is a 0-judgment zone, all love. Remember that this too shall pass and we will prevail.
by: Lupita S.G.