Take a breath.
Have you done it yet?
If not, you should.
March 2020 is a time no one is likely to forget anytime soon. The way our lives trickled indoors either gradually or suddenly (depending on your circumstances) during March is unprecedented to our lifetime. Nonetheless, it is our reality.
I find that facing reality is an effective approach to difficult situations. Recognizing all of the variables that you cannot change and the ones that you can are essential to learning how to adapt to new environments, and for most of us, being at home 24/7 is an adjustment that requires time.
Prior to the quarantines in Canada, I was rehearsing daily for the F.A.C.E.S. Youth Conference. I was supposed to speak at the event, which was a moment I was looking forward to for multiple reasons. But the greatest reason of all was that I wanted for my story to help others. I had rehearsed the speech for a friend just before “social distancing” became a word that was infused into our daily vocabularies, and then, the event was cancelled due to Coronavirus.
As a volunteer at F.A.C.E.S. and speaker at the previously scheduled event, I know how much work went into this conference. My involvement alone spans 6 months of work, and I was not planning to wing this, I prepared my speech months in advance and left myself one month’s time to work on delivery. Thank you to everyone who put in so much work for the conference, I know that our disappointment is shared.
But we are all grieving something. Whether it is the loss of a job, loved one, missed graduation ceremony, or postponed wedding, we have all found ourselves in the same boat living different scenarios. Some of us are quarantined with our families, boyfriends, roommates or alone and others are still confined to institutional settings. Confinement is a common thread we all share at this moment in time.
I can remember a lot of things that happened while I was confined to a particularly abusive psych ward, but I can also remember some of my dreams. I have had some interesting flashbacks to being hospitalized since the quarantines began because it has been on my mind due to the similarities of confinement, isolation, and being socially distanced. As soon as this started happening, I knew that I was unfortunately uniquely prepared for this type of experience, but at the same time, I didn’t bank on the flashbacks. I forgot about my PTSD for a moment. Normally other things are on my mind, and so the flashbacks are triggered in relation to that. But with everyone talking about the term “confinement” and “isolation,” it only makes sense that those of us who have been confined before are having memories of when we were confined to harsh institutional settings.
What I know about confinement is this: you just have to get through it. I find creating something helps, whether it is a painting, an article or a song… I am a creative person. However, I am also a human being. So this is where balance comes into the equation. At this point in the pandemic, we do not know of a guaranteed end to the risk of resuming everyday life. Different countries and different jurisdictions globally have set different targets and the response is confusing for a lot of us. So, while you’re looking for things to do that resonate with you, make sure to also allow yourself that downtime as well. Confinement is not easy, and the body is so used to being in active mode. We are creatures of habit. This is a shock to our bodies, minds and spirits. Care for yourself at this point in time, and if you haven’t been doing that to date, now is a good time to start.
If the term “self-love” is foreign to you, do some research. It all depends on your love language and how you can fulfill yourself without the need for someone else to. Taking a shower is a form of self-care which is self-love, as is even brushing your teeth every day even when you have nowhere to go. If you’re a bath person, enjoy a bath. If you love having your nails done, do them yourself. Sometimes it’s small things that can get us through it. But then there’s also the big things. That being said, I find that the greatest form of research that you can do in this area is looking inward and asking yourself the hard questions. Over the years, I have asked myself important questions at different points in time to really get to know myself. Some of the answers astonished me. A lot of these questions were asked during times of isolation. A lot of these questions were asked when uncertainty was looming. The answers were still always there, within me.
There is a shift taking place, in all of our lives globally. Together we will heal, even though we are apart.