I don’t really know what it is that I am feeling in this moment. On the cusp of coming out of what will be a one hundred-and-six-day lockdown here in Sydney, there should be joy and excitement. But I just feel flat. And fat. And a tad nervous about opening back up and how that will go. I can’t focus on anything for longer than about twenty minutes. Even my beloved reading has become a struggle. And as for writing…what writing.
Channel surfing from Netflix to Foxtel to Stan, in search of something that will take me out of my head, to allow me to forget the chaos and uncertainty that surrounds us all at this time, often ends with me turning off the tv. Unless I stumble across some dark, crime show that reels me in.
It is strange but the light-hearted shows that I really enjoyed last year, for their sense of fun, heavenly scenery and dreamy existence, like Virgin River and Chesapeake Shores, this year just really irritated me. Their cheesy smiles and happy-go-lucky lives didn’t bring me comfort. To be totally honest, they pissed me off. I was even annoyed with Dave & Julie Rafter on Back to the Rafters, and who doesn’t love them!
Yes, we have been in hard lockdown since June twenty-sixth, but really I have had it easy compared to so many. I have been able to work from the safety of my own home, unlike our wonderful frontline workers who have put themselves at risk to keep the cogs of modern life turning.
I have a roof over my head, two vaccines in my arm, food on my table and my hubby and daughter for company. My family and friends are just a Facetime away. Life is essentially good, despite the fact that we are living through a pandemic.
But still, I feel flat. Lifeless. Not happy, not sad. Just disconnected.
Many people I know struggle with severe anxiety and depression, and I admire them more than words can say. Their daily battles to get out the door, to keep putting one foot in front of the other, is a mammoth task, and not an easy one. I have so much respect for their strength and perseverance, especially now.
A few friends have reached out recently to check in and say, ‘Hey Shell, are you ok?’
It’s strange but I reply, ‘Yes hon, all good here’ and wonder why they thought I wasn’t ok, as I felt that I had my ‘I’m fine’ mask firmly in place. Evidently those closest to me can see right through that mask. And I thank them for reaching out. For making me ask myself ‘Are you really ok?’
I have always been a glass half full optimist but lately am scared that I have become cynical. And negative. And snappy. And whingey. That’s not who I am, or who I want to be.
This morning I was on a Zoom writing session with a wonderful group of writing friends, but instead of adding words to my floundering manuscript, I wrote this. In my daily pages. It was never intended for anyone’s eyes besides my own.
But then, as the words flowed out onto the page, I wondered if others who are also struggling to maintain the façade that they are ok, that the past two years haven’t taken a toll on us all, might find comfort in my words. A sense that they are not alone in how they are feeling. So, I decided to post it on my blog.
I don’t want it to come across as the maudlin, self-indulgent ramblings of a fifty-plus woman, all woe is me, as I know that I am one of the lucky ones. I just I wanted to share it to say to you all that it’s ok not to feel your normal self.
Times have been tough, no matter your situation. The person you were before March 2020 isn’t gone forever, they are just safely hidden from view, tucked away while you cope with these challenging times. It’s protection mode. Self-preservation.
As the state starts to open up this coming Monday, I have planned to re-enter it cautiously. I won’t be racing out to my nearest shopping centre, or booking a table at a restaurant, not that there is a problem with doing so. It’s just not for me.
I am going to take it slow. Lunch at my place with my darling eldest daughter, whom I haven’t been able to have in my home for three long months. Dinner one night at my sister’s place. A few friends over for a cuppa and a long overdue ‘in-person’ chat.
And slowly the old Shell will hopefully reappear. I will start to feel like myself again. And the things that I most treasure in life will return with a vengeance.
Stay safe everyone. Be kind and gentle with yourself. And reach out to someone you love if you are struggling.
See you on the other side of lockdown.