Sunday, March 21, 2021

A Pandemic Break or Broken by a Pandemic?


     Hi Long Lost Friends! I hope this finds you well and healthy.  

     In March of 2019, I decided to test out WordPress. I had heard over and over and over how much easier it was to use, how it had a ton of different applications etc.  I mean- it was okay.  Easy to use and yes, I could customize the background and look of every post but Blogger is just as easy to use.  I also was deep into my college classes and such and busy with work and family so even though I tested it out, it wasn't any more regular than I had been here.  

     Fast forward exactly a year and COVID-19 hit.  I don't know about you, but my revolving emotions throughout the pandemic have been; fear, anger, frustration, isolation, and anxiety, with a very small dose of thankfulness thrown in.  I don't know that I have ever, in 53 years on this planet, had another period of time that was so suffused with negative emotions.  Perhaps a day or even a week, but certainly not a year.  I have spent much of the last couple of months really thinking about this and here is what I have concluded about these emotions that have taken over me and why they were there: 

Fear- Fear has been dominant.  Fear of catching the virus, Fear of my family members catching the virus, Fear of losing one of them, Fear of losing our jobs, Fear, Fear, Fear. 

Anger- I have been SO angry at those people who refused to believe that the virus was a real, deadly thing, that they didn't need to wear a mask, that those of us who did were "sheep" to be shamed for living in fear.  I have been angry that the collective "we" were not ready to deal with this pandemic better than we were.  It's as if we were completely caught with our pants down around our ankles.  

Frustration- Like many, many businesses, mine was affected by the pandemic.  My customers are college students and one year ago this coming week, we just shut our doors along with the school.  That meant that all of my staff was gone in an instant.  For months I went to work, 5 days a week all by myself to wait for the UPS guy to deliver books, pick up online orders that I pulled and processed and deliver rented textbooks that my students sent back.  It was tomb-quiet, it was isolating and it was overwhelming.  And then- the axe dropped.  Due to the money that we were haemorrhaging being closed, my Assistant Manager's position was eliminated.  I vacillated between furious and frustrated for a very long time because I was anticipating her return.  We were a great team and losing her after she had been on unemployment for months waiting for us to bring her back from furlough pissed me right off.  It wasn't fair to her, it wasn't fair to me and it didn't look good for me to ever get caught up. Shortly after I was allowed to bring back my seasonals but there are a lot of things that only management can do.  After about 6 weeks, they allowed me to promote one of my seasonals to a PT supervisor.  It helps but quite honestly, I am scarred enough by this past year that I don't trust that she won't be eliminated either.  That mistrust is frustrating as well when you consider that in 10 days I will have given 18 years of my life to this company.   

Isolation- haven't we all felt isolated?  The whole quarantine thing is making everyone feel isolated.  Not being able to see my parents for months on end, not being able to see friends or other family members.  Not being able to get closer than 6', much less give hugs to those we did accidentally run into at the grocery.  Going to work and being completely alone with the exception of seeing the UPS guy once a day and our university police popping on occasion.  Both Jim and I were "essential" in that I had to be at work to get ready for the new term and he works in manufacturing.  SO while everyone else was at home- we slogged off to work every day.  That was kind of isolating itself.  People didn't understand why we were allowed to go to work when we weren't first responders.  

Anxiety- I took the pandemic to take extra classes and school full time for several semesters so that after the current term, I will have four classes left to go to graduate.  I have been anxious about completing my degree, anxious about my ability to successfully do my job at the current staffing levels because it calls on me to be much more physically involved.  Books have to hit the shelves no matter how many of us are working.  Anxious about both of us keeping our jobs in the pandemic.  Anxious about finding a new job when so many people are out of work.  Anxious about finances in general.  Anxious about my health, my parents health and Auggie's health.  

As for the tiny bit if gratitude?  Well, SO far we have kept our jobs, so far neither Jim nor I have caught COVID and I have had my first shot.  I am eternally grateful that when we almost lost my mom to COVID, she was able to rally back to us and that Dad didn't get it worse than he did.  I am grateful that my chronic pain conditions haven't flared more often than they have and that though my lung disease has flared (culminating in 8 bouts of bronchitis and/or pneumonia in 12 months) my new ENT has been terrific and proactive.  She actually listens, which feels like a miracle these days.  I am grateful that Auggie's vet has kept going until she finally determined that my poor little man has an autoimmune illness too.  Now Auggie is on long-term prednisone so that's fun.  I am just grateful that it didn't manifest until he was 12.  

So there we are.  I am ready for things to get to whatever normal will look like.  I am ready to be able to give good hugs.  I am ready to feel financially stable, I am ready to get back to writing.  I couldn't write in that state of mind. I just felt so out of control of my own life that I was paralyzed and going through the motions.  Though I am slowly coming out of the constant negativity- I almost feel that all of this has triggered and left me with a low-grade depression, which means I need to find my gratitude all the more.