Some days I feel like I’ve hit my “pandemic stride”. I feel grateful for this space to be with myself and am past the point of the sheer horror and overwhelm that I had a year ago. Socializing looks very different to me these days but I’ve got some lovely friends who will meet me even on the coldest of days to take walks in the woods and talk about life. I’m happy teaching virtually and seeing all of the beautiful faces pop on my screen each day and I feel strange comfort in talking to myself for 45 minutes, just hoping that the folks at home are nodding along or laughing at my cheesy jokes.
And then there are days when I wonder if I’m just numb. That perhaps if I really sat with it, I would come to understand that I am protecting myself from the massive amount of anxiety that exists in the world. I’ve uttered the words “I don’t know” more times than I can count over this past year. I don’t know how to plan for the future. I don’t know how to safely live in this pandemic world. I don’t know what risks are necessary. I don’t know how I would be if I got Covid or how my auto-immune disease would respond if I did. I don’t know how long I can go without just running out of the house and hugging anyone I come in contact with. I just don’t fucking know. I honestly envy the conspiracy theorists and virus deniers sometimes because it sure as heck does sound like a nicer place to live sometimes but alas, my brain would never allow that to be a possibility.
Since I’ve just spent the last two paragraphs letting my anxiety spill out on the page for you, let’s dive a little deeper into that. You see, I’ve got what some might call high functioning anxiety. I’m going to call it sneaky anxiety because to be honest, it’s so sneaky that I didn’t even know I had it until recently. I mean, I’m well aware of my behaviors and all that but I just chalked it up to being a worrier and an overthinker. Because my anxiety doesn’t present itself in ways that I was used to hearing about, I removed myself from that category. But turns out, lying in bed and not falling asleep because you’re replaying a conversation over and over again in your mind and wishing you had said about a million things differently definitely constitutes as anxious behavior.
Now before I get too ahead of myself, I want to say that this confession here is more of an opportunity for me to empty out, to put it on the page so that I can start to unpack it. This is one of the ways I cope. I never like to live based on definitions or labels because I feel like that can be really suffocating. That being said, I also feel like it’s really easy to look at other people and not see this stuff so as per usual, I’m letting you into my world so you can see that we are in fact, all just flawed humans. As a yoga teacher, I feel like I could represent myself like a zen Buddha and have you all thinking that stress and worry just melt away because I practice yoga and meditation but truth be told, those practices just keep me from totally losing my shit.
So what to do in a pandemic when anxieties are high and you are already an anxious person? Well I don’t know. That’s the theme, remember? What I do know that brings me calm is my morning ritual, therapy, walks in the woods, movement, snuggling my dogs and trying to take it one day at a time. It’s all cliche but it’s true. I don’t know when we’ll be out of this crazy time but what I can do is look forward to spring because spring is certain. Then I can plant a garden (and hope that something actually grows in it this year!). I can sit outside with friends, I can put my hammock back up and I can continue not to know but not know with sunshine.