I chickened out yesterday. I might again today. I began to write a blog. Then I deleted it all.
Because it was not the hopeful, Little Miss Mary Sunshine shit that I try to portray. Especially now.
But the truth is…
- The Prime Minister of the country in which I live has been taken to the hospital.
- A thirteen-year-old boy with no known underlying conditions died.
- A twenty-four-year-old nurse has joined the growing list of frontline medical professionals that have died in the line of duty.
- Domestic violence calls are up 25%
- This may wipe out the remaining indigenous communities in Brazil.
- 1,273,990 people have gotten this virus worldwide. 69,444 have died.
- In America where I come from the numbers are 337,309 with 9,643 dead.
- Here in the UK, 47,806 confirmed cases with 4,932 dead.
Closer to home…
My oldest son in the US Navy is being deployed to help there, perhaps putting him at risk. When he joined the Navy almost a decade ago, I was proud of his desire to serve our country. But as a mother, I was so glad that all of his jobs have been logistics. Paper pushing, managerial stuff. But suddenly even that is frontline combat.
My second son continues to work in the US.
And, the one that has me in tears – Alan has a cough.
Is it a simple cold? Allergies from working in the garden so much the past few days? Or has the unthinkable happened? Notice that I cannot even bring myself to write the words that I fear most.
But to think that all we have done, and are doing was not enough, or not soon enough, or…
I feel myself spiraling the drain. I know depression. She was my only friend for close to three years after my miscarriage. I called it – walking through the valley of the shadow of death where I feared all evil. But that would be nothing, if…
Since that time, I have been incredibly self-aware of my mental health. I use the term taking a mental health temperature. Knowing exactly how you are feeling and working pro-actively to stay on top of things before you slip further down those slippery slopes.
For me, the only effective therapy, either drug-wise or counseling, was DBT – Dialectal Behavioral Therapy. And while I never found its whole mindfulness thing very useful – emptying my mind is neither easily accomplished nor desirable in my opinion. The part of DBT that I found very helpful was:
Distress tolerance behaviors are concerned with tolerating and surviving crises and with accepting life as it is in the moment. Four sets of crisis survival strategies are taught: distracting, self-soothing, improving the moment, and thinking of pros and cons. (PsychCentral, An Overview of Dialectal Behavior Therapy)
I have been doing loads of those first two lately.
My distractions include:
Writing – Although I am not so sure about this one. Either this blog in particular or publishing my fiction stuff right now.
Gardening – loads and loads of this one because it also makes me feel useful and hopeful. I actually check on my seedlings every couple of hours. One of the elements of my autism is aphasia – I forget words. I could not remember sprouting, so I started to call it splotching. Now, I go down to see if anyone new has splotched lately. Each new baby plant is new life – some sign from the universe and goddess that life does go on.
Read – Some of it is about gardening, but also some trashy romance. Escapism isn’t always bad.
Sewing & quilting – Although, with the good weather and arrival of spring, this has taken a back seat to gardening. The material will be there waiting for those rainy or cold days.
Clean – Laundry, the bathrooms, all of it is useful as well as a good distraction. In fact, ironing is as close to that mindfulness and meditation as I have ever found.
Cooking – I take pleasure in preparing our meals, even on bad days. That is one lesson this time has taught me – we spend too much on delivery. On those ‘bad days’ in the past, I would ignore the menu and order food. Now, I find solace and empowerment in being able to meet that basic need of my family, even then.
Listening to the birds – Is it that without all the traffic you can hear them more? Or is it that this time makes us slow down, stop, and listening to nature’s beautiful song?
There are a couple of others that I could or should be doing more of…
Music – Listening to positive and empowering songs can make you feel better. Conversely, sometimes a really sad one will allow you to release emotions that you have bottled up in unhealthy ways.
Learn something new – I love and miss my Great Courses stuff. It is just that right now, by the time I am in the garden, cleaning, and cooking, I am so tired that I can only manage a bit of trashy romance before I drop off to sleep at eight or nine.
I should be getting off here. Go do some of those other, perhaps more positive, distractions. I need to write this week’s menu. And it is an absolutely gorgeous day. I have other seeds to plant and I can even transplant some of the hardier ones outside.
Speaking of hardier, being resilient, the final thought that I want to leave you, and me, with is these words of Franklin D. Roosevelt (back when America had REAL Presidents):
“Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the assessment that something else is more important than fear.”
It’s okay you are afraid right now. I am. Most people with any sense are. But we won’t get through this, no matter what THIS turns out to be, by living in our fears, but by distracting ourselves from them.
Oh, and another life lesson that DBT taught me was…
We’ll worry about that bridge when we come to it.
Yes, that old wives’ saying made it into psychology books. But it is still good advice.
Because after all,
Goddess bless and protect us all,
From our @HomeCrazzyHome to yours
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