A Little Lost

I’m struggling. A lot. I think most of us are, but I’m going to be egocentric for a moment and talk about what’s going on with me. One of my passions in life is helping other people. The purpose of this blog is to help people learn to love themselves. Sometimes I think that can be accomplished by being real and letting other people know it’s not all sunshine and rainbows anywhere.

So, yes. I’m struggling. Over the past few weeks, I have been hit with several things that have just caused my positivity to go out the window. My 11 year old dog had to be put down, then my sister’s dog had to be put down, then my AC broke in my car, then the AC broke in my house, then my other dog broke my bedroom window with her face (she’s okay), then my step-son wrecked his car (he’s okay), and my brain is just not working right. I am forgetting everything! Like everything! I couldn’t remember the code to my phone and computer, which has been my code for like a million years and I had to call my husband for him to tell me what it was… I’m forgetting to do things I’ve told people I would, I’m forgetting conversations I’ve had with people, I’m forgetting what day it is and forgetting to pay bills… all kinds of things, which is causing a whole different set of problems.

And I’m exhausted. I don’t think there is anything physical going on but it is causing me to wonder. It could all be emotional too. The point is that I’m not okay and it’s okay sometimes to not be okay. It’s hard to feel good about ourselves when things are a mess and not going well. It’s hard to motivate yourself to do things when you aren’t feeling positive or powerful or in control. It’s hard to do anything when it all feels out of control. Not to mention the fatigue that is happening from the quarantine and just regular life stuff.

I needed to interrupt all this somehow, so I sat down to write. I knew I wanted to do a short blog and get all this out there but I also needed to write myself into a different state of being. When we sit and think, we tend to think circularly. The same thoughts pass through over and over, or the thoughts are going so quickly that we can’t lasso one. But writing can help that. It can help you process what you are feeling and allow it to come out in a different way. It doesn’t have to be anything worth publishing but just something. Even if it’s just “I feel stuck” over and over again.

When I say “write myself into a different state of being,” I mean that writing has the power to shift my focus off myself onto something larger. Something with purpose. Something with power. This is what came out:

Photo Credit: Roger Fenton, 1855, The Valley of the Shadow of Death

COVID-19 and My Self-Esteem

This sucks. Not all of it sucks, to be fair. There are some good things that have come from this pandemic and quarantine, but there are a lot of things that suck about it too.

First, let me say that I am posting this from the perspective of a person who has not had to be on the front lines dealing with this virus, or had any person in my life significantly impacted by the virus. This post is coming from a person who is sitting at home, trying not to go nuts because this is very different than the normal life she has been living. I am in no way trying to say that my experience has been awful but I believe that a lot of people are feeling similar to me and wanted to post for them.

I’m on day 47. I came home on March 19th from a possible exposure and my extroverted life just died. Eight days later I found out that I had not in fact been exposed but I stayed home anyway. They shut down the schools and closed everything down and that was that.

The first few weeks were filled with enormous amounts of anxiety. I was glad to be home and have a home to be in. But I was afraid. I was afraid of getting sick. I was afraid of having to face death isolated from people I love, alone. I was afraid of getting someone else sick because I was carrying a virus I didn’t know I had. I was afraid we were going to run out of food. I was afraid.

One minute I’m like this…

Then I saw some good things peaking through. I was able to spend time with my husband and niece (who lived with us at the time) without having to worry about where I had to be or what I had to do. We laughed. We danced. We sang. We played the Atari and realized how far we’d come. That lasted for about 20 minutes because it was super boring. I sat in the grass. I got to sit in the sun on a Tuesday. I made new recipes. I cleaned out the closets and organized my house. There have been some good things.

But my self-esteem has been impacted in waves. I’m not sure if the shifts in the self-esteem are a result of the the waves of emotions that hit (anxious, okay, worried, happy — they just come crashing in so quickly during all this) or if it is a stand alone issue.

The next minute it be like this…

At the beginning of all of this, I asked people on Instagram how the lock down was impacting their self-esteem. Some people said they felt bad about themselves because they couldn’t control their quarantine snacking. Others said they felt bad that they saw others being productive and did not have the drive to do anything themselves. Since then, some people have been “quarantine shaming” others by telling them they have to be using this time to do something productive, but I’m here to tell you that not all of this time can be used in that way.

We are dealing with a whole host of emotions and there are going to be times and days when you can’t just get up and be a superhero. There are going to be days that if you make it out of the bed, you’ve accomplished something really big. Some days we are just going to be surviving this. And while that is okay, living like that does something to your self-esteem for sure.

Let me say this: Comparing yourself to someone else will, more often than not, cause you to feel bad about yourself or your circumstances. Do not compare your day, or your hygiene, or your diet, or your activities to what you see others doing. Set a goal for yourself and do that. Monday my goal was that I was going to be thoroughly unproductive. And so I was. Last week, I had a day where I couldn’t make it out of the bed. I couldn’t even set a goal. I just slept to avoid all the anxiety and sadness I was feeling. And then other days I have done craft projects, cleaning, organizing, homework and worked on stuff for work.

Here are some things you can do if your self-esteem has COVID-19:

  • Give yourself a break. Realize that we are experiencing that none of us have ever experienced and it is tough. You don’t have to be amazing right now. You just have to do the best you can. Stop talking so negatively to yourself and about yourself. If you wouldn’t say that about someone else, don’t say it about yourself.
  • Write yourself a note of encouragement. It doesn’t have to be something fancy. It can just be as simple as “This won’t last forever. You are doing a good job and you’re going to be okay.” Then post it somewhere you can read it each day.
  • Write someone else a note of encouragement. A lot of times, when we turn our attention from ourselves to others, we find a sense of relief. Some of this may be that we are spending too much time thinking about our own situation and our own issues.
  • Ask for help. Reach out and talk to someone. Talk to a friend or loved one. You don’t have to open up about all of it (although you could), but you can start with “I’m having a rough day” and go from there. In my experience people want to help the people they love and asking for help does not mean you are weak. If you feel like you don’t have anyone to reach out to, I’m here. Send me a message and let’s connect. I’d be happy to help encourage you!

We are in this together! Sending you all peace, love and happiness!