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Apparently I’m the only one doing well during the pandemic

Currently listening to: Supermassive Black Hole by Muse
Currently reading: Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan

In talking to friends over the last few days, I’ve come to realize that apparently I’m the only one that’s actually thriving during this whole pandemic. Everyone’s stuck at home, either not working or trying to make working from home work, or on reduced hours, stuck seeing no one besides their kids (who they’re trying to home school) and families. I admit it, I’m one of the lucky ones. I get to go to work, see and socialize with my coworkers, talk to customers (even if some of them are a pain in the ass). I’ve suffered no loss of income. But some of it comes down to me taking time for me. Even if it’s spending 15 minutes typing out a blog post and reflecting on things, that’s still time I’m taking for me. In the grand scheme of things, I’m really lucky right now. And I should be really thankful for that.

Mental illness is hitting a lot of people hard during this. In some of the worst cases I’ve seen/heard it’s hitting people that really don’t suffer from things like depression regularly the hardest. In many cases these are the people that don’t have the resources to fall back on like those of us in long term treatment programs. I had a regularly scheduled appointment with my shrink earlier this week, but even before that both he and my therapist (who I haven’t seen since November) shot me at least one quick email since all of this started just to check in and see how I was doing. I’ve talked two friends down off of the proverbial ledge in the last week. One was ready to just leave everything – job, wife, family, etc. and just go somewhere and disappear for awhile. The other I almost called the police on for a wellness check – she was at the end of her rope and in a really dark place. I’d like to think that just talking to me helped in some small way. I’ve spoken to both of them since and they both seem to be doing a bit better in the last few days. I get it, I’ve been there; isolation feeds depression, depression feeds isolation. It’s a vicious cycle, and it’s hard to break. Especially when you really can’t go anywhere. I hate to admit it, especially since people are supposed to be staying home (even though no one really is, it seems), but I told both of them to just get out of the house for a bit, even if it just meant wandering aimlessly around Target for an hour or two or taking a drive out to the airport and back with the windows down and the music up.

I hate watching people go through this, especially knowing that there’s not a whole lot I can do to help other than just listen and give advice when asked. Most of the time, it seems, that that’s all that people really need. They need their feelings to be validated and that they’re important.

In other news… I haven’t had a cigarette since Sunday, and even then I only had two (for total transparency, I did have one last night, but I didn’t enjoy it and don’t plan on having another). I’m back to vaping full time and I’m already starting to feel better. At the very least, I know that I smell better.

The health and fitness journey rolls on. I’m still calorie counting like mad and trying to make good food choices. I signed up for Noom, and have been having good results so far. Despite doing this for nearly all of last year on my own, I’ve learned a lot about the kinds of foods I should be eating versus the kinds of food that I was eating. I might have been within my calorie goal, but I was still eating a lot of the kinds of food that I shouldn’t. Sure, I was losing weight, but it was a slow process as I still had a lot of bad habits, and I was often hungry as I was eating high calorie foods that didn’t satisfy me for very long. I just made up the grocery list for shopping tomorrow, and nearly 1/3 of it is fresh fruits and veggies. I got one of those little Hamilton Beach personal blenders, and I’m going to make smoothies a thing again. I drank a ton of them when I was in college as they filled me up, satisfied me in the morning, and are healthy af. Just about everything else on the list are things that I need to make healthy lunches and dinners, as well as the occasional treat. With the gym still being closed I bit the bullet and signed up for Beachbody on demand. I hate that they’re an MLM, but their workouts are legit. I did the 21 Day Fix a few years back, and while the dietary restrictions were completely unsustainable and the shakes tasted like garbage, the workouts get you sweating. For a laugh I decided to start with Country Heat which is all cardio line dancing essentially, and I have to tell you – I haven’t sweat like this in a long time. I also bought a new scale that measures everything from BMI to visceral fat percentage to freaking bone density. Being a scientist by training, I’m a data nerd. I already do a bunch of body measurements every week, but now I can track even more. *insert evil laughter*

I was reading The Portrait of Dorian Gray, but I finally had to give up. I just couldn’t get into it. I decided this year that I’m not going to force myself to read books that I don’t like or can’t get into. For some of them, there will be a time and place when I find them enjoyable, but I’m not going to force myself to read something that I just don’t care about. I normally read on my “lunch breaks,” and while I was slugging along at the beginning of Gray, I found myself spending more time on Reddit or TikTok than I did actually reading the book. It bored me. I get that books with a lot of social commentary on the time and place it’s written about have a lot of value, but for me at least, if I’m not 100% full invested and engaged and really interested in it, I just don’t care. This is the same thing that happened when I attempted to read Les Mis, or hell any Dickens. I can’t force myself to care, so I won’t force myself to read it. Life is too short to read books that I don’t like.

I wish I had something profound to say. But honestly? I’m just living life the best that I can, trying to be happy. That’s all that we can really do anymore.

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