Well, that hasn’t dated so well has it?
At the start of the year, I was feeling weirdly optimistic about life. This hasn’t happened often for me. It was a really good feeling!
In mid January, I managed to secure a job after just a month of job hunting. It was perfect. A part time job as a fundraiser, I was to get paid to talk about how wonderful music is for wellbeing. I would be organising and attending events (including music events). I was going to get to meet lots of new people. “Hello dream job I didn’t even know I wanted!”
I was in the early days of what seemed (as long as I ignored the misgivings and fears I dismissed as ADHD related over-reactions) to be a potentially wonderful relationship with a man who ticked so many of my ‘dream man’ boxes it seemed almost too good to be true (hmmmm…..)
My kids all seemed to be happy and settled, and relations with my youngest son’s father had finally, after years of fighting, mostly found an equilibrium.
Marcus and I were enjoying learning to climb and boulder. I was looking forward to creating a better life for myself. I was determined not to let the ongoing worry of global current affairs impact my mental well being any longer.
Gleefully, I changed my Facebook bio to state simply, with boundless optimism, ‘2020 is going to be a great year”.
And then….. *gestures broadly at everything…..*
Less than 3 months later, and the world that we knew back in the dim and distant past of January seems to be a hazy memory.
As I write this, we are on what feels like day 3256 of lockdown in the UK. The relationship has been over for 3 weeks. The job feels very insecure. We are clearly not climbing and bouldering. The only way my 10 year old and I can communicate with anyone in the family is through Zoom and Facebook messenger.
2020 doesn’t seem to be looking that great anymore. I want my money back.
I know everyone in the country, in the world, is reeling from the shock of the COVID19 outbreak. Life as we knew it seems, in so many ways, to be over. We are living in a state of ever changing fear and uncertainty. It feels sometimes like we are on the edge of an abyss, not sure if something is going to push us over that edge.
I’ve been on an emotional rollercoaster for 3 weeks now. I was trying to recover my footing after the unexpected breakup when virus panic hit.
The Friday after *that* phone call, I realised that as an asthmatic, I might be a little more at risk with this coronavirus than I had previously acknowledged. I requested, and got, permission to work from home. I took Marcus out of school a few days before they closed, made sure to see all my family in person, went to the beach one last (for now) time, and set about preparing for quasi isolation.
Isolation does not suit me. I am not built for it one bit. I am a total extrovert, and thrive off interactions with people. I need hugs and to be in the company of real, 3d humans like I need air and water.
To say I am struggling with this new reality would be something of an understatement. I am finding myself bursting into tears with no specific thought driving them. They are just always there it seems, waiting for the tap to turn on. Sometimes I know why I am crying, often I just cry. I don’t think it matters what the trigger is.
This is dangerous ground for the extroverted, perimenopausal ADHD woman with substance abuse and poor mental health not too far back in her past. One shock to the emotions is enough to process at a time. But this feels like life just pulled the rug from under us all, and I am reeling, struggling often to regain my balance.
But I have tools to help me get through this.
I have my breath and my yoga practice. Admittedly, my practice has taken a bit of a hit lately after a dog related injury to my ribs, but it is healing and I am getting back to my mat.
I have good friends and a loving family, who are being so supportive and caring. Even that is triggering the tears sometimes, but they are very grateful tears.
I have tidied up my garden, so I have outdoor space there are no restrictions on. So far at least, we are able to get outside for exercise, so i have my beloved walks.
I know there is much to be grateful for in the midst of all this confusion and fear, and I am focusing lots on that.
The wonders of the internet, the joys of video conferencing, and all the wonderful people who are out there livestreaming their craft into our homes fills my heart with joy.
A post I shared on Facebook a few days ago, sharing how much I was struggling with everything, got such a beautiful response from people. I felt so cared for and supported, it reminded me how good people are.
And I have words. When life gets too much, I can write about how I am feeling, and process my many confused emotions through my words.
I was inspired this morning by my good friend Dale’s latest blog post. Dale is a wonderful writer and book coach, who writes her way through all the things that challenge her in life. She has started a ‘lockdown journal’, and wrote a blog post to inspire her readers to do the same.
She certainly inspired me.
I had been planning to write a series of stress related posts through April to mark this year’s Stress Awareness Month.
I think we are ALL pretty aware of stress right now.
Instead of the posts I had been going to write, I am going to write about life in lockdown, and focus on Yogic themes to explore each day. This will help me to reconnect with the Yoga philosophy that has saved me on a few occasions, and will keep me grounded now. It will allow me to take you on a journey into Yoga with real life experience of applying these concepts to a very stressful time in our lives.
I will be sharing tools and ideas you can take into your own life. I will be offering you practices, journaling prompts and other tools to help you use this time of flux to deepen your relationship with yourself, the people around you, and the world we live in.
Because if one thing is becoming glaringly obvious, it is that we have to look hard at how we are living, as individuals and as a society, and how we can learn and grow from this.
Life over the years has taught me that any pain and turmoil we experience can teach us something. When you are going through the crisis, it is hard to see that any good can come from it. It seems impossible that life can ever feel right again. But it is these times that teach us the most.
We are going through unprecedented times. One of the things I am holding onto here is that I, and we, can come through this stronger, more compassionate, and more connected. We can learn about ourselves and our world. We can look at what isn’t working and make changes to our lives and to our society.
In 2014, Yoga helped me to take myself apart, look at myself with love and compassion and rebuild myself stronger, happier, healthier and wiser. I know it can help me to do the same now. I invite you to join me on this journey.
Yoga is not just about how you can bend your body. Yoga offers us an invitation to look at how we live our lives. How we treat the people around us. How we treat the planet we call home, How we care for ourselves.
This feels like the perfect time to revisit these ideas, and explore how they can help us grow through this weird time we are living in.
There may be days when I don’t post anything. I am working from home and being a full time single mother. If my writing for the day becomes overly personal, as it sometimes does, I may not share it. I may not always have time to write something else. So please bear with me. But I am going to do my best to share a post every day.
Now though, it is bedtime. Resilience to stress needs good sleep, so I am going to take myself off to bed and allow my body and mind to rest.
Thank you for reading this, and I look forward to sharing my first post with you tomorrow.
Lovely, optimistic post looking forward to more!
Thank you David, I’m looking forward to my explorations!
Brilliant Esther. I’m looking forward to what comes out of this for you.
Keep writing, it has saved my life so many times.
Thanks for sharing, Esther.
Knowing that literally billions of people are in the same situation doesn’t make it any easier, does it? It almost reinforces how unusual early 2020 is shaping up to be. I read that 85% of the world’s schoolchildren are currently out of school.
Once this is all over I’m going to appreciate small things so much more. Going to see family. Going to the library. Going for a walk more than once a day. Chatting to parents at the school gate. Hugging friends. Talking rubbish with friends at work. Getting my hair cut!
No, it really doesn’t help. I’ve been finding it quite challenging when people tell me ‘what you’re feeling is quite normal’. I get what they mean, but it really doesn’t help, nothing about any of this feels normal, so how can my feelings be?
I’m going to hug EVERYONE I meet I think. I am missing hugging people I am not responsible for looking after. I want someone to hug me and make me feel looked after – try as he might my 10 year old can’t quite do that. My first ‘child free day’ is going to be spent with a backpack full of food, tea and water, hiking for hours and hours across the Rhondda hills. I am DESPERATE to get out for a good long walk at my pace, and my sort of distance. Marcus is doing ok but 15 mile hikes are beyond him.