Rest and recovery.
Yesterday marked my 89th day of isolation, but the days blur together now. The laryngitis that started on Friday began to abate somewhat, but still lingers on. It was another gorgeous day and once again I did not venture outside to enjoy it. I stayed inside and did my best to relax and recover.
For the second time this week I decided to nap during the afternoon and instead of my normal 30 – 45 minute power nap I ended up sleeping like the dead for nearly two hours. That tells me something. It tells me that my body is worn out – far more worn out than I thought.
I know that whatever ended in laryngitis must have started earlier in the week, else I would not have had so much exhaustion all week long. Maybe it’s a virus (no, not SARS-CoV-2, just a normal one). Or maybe, as I type this, I think it could just be all of the stress finally catching up with me.
That feels more accurate.
Yesterday, I read THIS ARTICLE by Lynya Floyd titled “How You Can Support a Friend – Even When You’re Struggling.” It’s a great read, so I highly recommend it. She talks about facades, about wearing emotional masks in order to “be there and be present” to help others. Here’s the quote that jumped into my head this morning:
Unfortunately, we tend to forget that the same emotional mask we’ve put on is the same one we’re seeing on others. We forget that if we’re just one phone call away from a breakdown, someone else probably is, too. What’s worse, our masks may not come off when it’s just us looking at ourselves in the mirror. We may not even realize how deeply we’re hurting.Quote from “How You Can Support a Friend – Even When You’re Struggling” by Lynya Floyd
I think this is what finally happened to me. I have not been seeing my own masks. I have been trying to be strong and powerful and present. I have been telling everyone, and myself, that despite momentary issues I am fundamentally fine.
I have to stop pretending to myself so that I can stop pretending to everyone else in the world. I am not “OK.” I am in pain. I feel deep, fundamental, primal fear every day about my job, my health, my finances. My natural unshielded empathy throbs with pain at racial injustice, at societal trauma, at every horrible thing I read or hear or see.
I feel raw and laid bare at the moment – feeling a deep sense of hopelessness that I have never truly experienced before, at least at this depth. Every action I take in regard to my job feels utterly pointless. Why bother?
Once again, I find myself being open and honest here in a public forum so just for the record, I am going to survive. Perhaps I will even thrive again. There’s no worry that I am suddenly going to become suicidal or give up entirely. What I can say, however, is that the tearing away of such powerful masks is like ripping a bandage off of a wound.
It hurts! It hurts a great deal. The wound is bleeding again, but ultimately exposing it will allow natural healing to take place. I can still be there for my friends who are struggling. I can still be a compassionate shoulder and an empathetic ear. I can still hold space for both myself and others at the same time.
What I cannot do any longer is pretend. If you ask me how I am, I won’t say “OK” or “Fine.” Those are the words of my old façade. I vow to be honest – to myself and to everyone else.
It’s only Quarantine if it comes from the Quarante province of France. Otherwise, it’s just Sparkling Isolation.