Coronavirus World Pt. 2: The Coronacoaster
So happy you decided to meet me at Coronavirus World again. There’s so much going on at this horror park, but it can actually be a lonely place, amplified by dizzying and strobing special effects: the flashing of Coronavirus mortality rates; the cacophony of opposing opinions; the sickening smells of distrust and insensitivity; and the bitter taste of discrimination.
Coronavirus World truly exploits our senses until we are emotionally raw with reflexes that can be more self-ish than self-aware. Our decisions start to mimic the very emotional roller coaster we despise. A knee-jerk reaction here. A 180º reversal of beliefs there. A sharp plummet in hope.
Sound familiar? Yup, me too.
This June, Beautiful, Complicated Life had its 3-year anniversary. On this blog I have shared very personal details of what it’s like to have a physical disability while edging around mental health. That ends today.
I struggle a lot with anxiety and this entire Covid thing has really sucked.
Having SMA I might as well be the poster child for a Covid victim. Now I know how Joey felt being the face of an STD on a Friends episode. Cue The Police singing 🎶 Don't stand, don't stand so / Don’t stand so close to me 🎶
Safe to say the pandemic hits close to home for me. Thank God I haven't gotten it yet, but it has impacted me with emotional scars that will take a long time to heal.
One could think being home so much would be a great time to write. I have the utmost respect for people who continue to talk about their struggles in the midst of a crisis. Until now I just didn’t have the mental energy to write.
Low-grade depression with high-grade anxiety.
Probably at some point in the last six months we've all been really stressed out. I don’t want to make it seem like I’m the only person experiencing anxiety. I know parents, teachers and kids were stressed about going back to school. I know some families’ decision to homeschool was not easy. I know people working in essential services are experiencing pressures the rest of us can’t fathom.
And yet I cannot help but feel the voices of people with chronic illness have been what? Drowned out? Ignored? Marginalized?
Now, this statement might sound counterintuitive. You may be thinking, “That doesn’t even make sense. All of the restrictions are done to protect people with pre-existing conditions, so how can you say you are being ignored?“
I will be addressing this more later in the series, but I could not talk about my mental health issues without at least acknowledging the blatant ableism I am noticing in society.
I have experienced loneliness from social isolation just like a lot of people during this pandemic. However, I have also felt a profound loneliness from knowing that some people have no idea what extra strain is being put on people with chronic illness and that some of the extra strain happens because of the very people who have no idea.
In fact, my mental health seems to do better when I distance myself from society and that is just plain sad because as Brené Brown reminds us all the time, “Humans are hardwired for connection.”
This is when I know I'm on a sadistic emotional roller coaster because I crave connection, but at the same time am so disappointed in people, some I know and some I don’t.
I would like to end with a Coronacoaster anthem of sorts. The phrase “emotional roller coaster” isn’t anything new. But in this pandemic, the highs are higher, the lows are lower, and the turns are more menacing. Being on the Coronarcoaster seems to bring out extremes in people’s behaviour, and I am no exception.
On the bright side, writing about my emotional roller coaster has made me take stock of what I’ve been through and even see the humour in some of my more melodramatic moments. If this anthem resonates with you at all, maybe you’ve been on your own emotional ride. And maybe, the next turn in your life will be for the better.
Until next time,
During these last few months
I have yelled. I have screamed. I have sobbed.
I have silently cried myself to sleep.
I have said prayers of deep gratitude.
I have driven into grocery bags on the floor in the kitchen
in an act of rage,
squishing the whole grain bread.
I have grieved not seeing people.
I have thought it wouldn’t be too hard to not see people.
I have been at peace.
I have sat quietly and soaked in
my nieces and nephews’ quirks and cuteness.
I have been touched by people checking in with me.
And I have also been so
I don’t answer texts for days at a time.
I have questioned my life’s purpose.
I have healed old wounds and acquired new ones.
And I am still here.