How’re you coping with all this shit?
Coronavirus? Front line? Isolation? Illness? Grief? I mean, the problems we are all facing right now are so numerous that there is no other suitable phrase is there? I mean, ‘all this shit’ pretty much covers all bases and everyone knows exactly what is meant by it. ‘All this shit is doing my head in’. ‘I’ve had enough of all this shit now’. ‘What’s happening with all this shit’? ‘This shit is fucking mental’. You get the gist. So, how are you coping? With the shit? I’m up and down and round the bend if I’m honest. Hard isn’t it?
Before anyone starts, I know we’re not about to go over the top into No Man’s Land. I know we’re not enduring the Blitz. I know we’re not going to be separated from our families for 6 years. I know all this. I get it. But this is a different kind of war. One that we were not mentally prepared for. I’ve recently had to break from Facebook and stop watching terrestrial TV because of all the judgy attitudes. It was really affecting my state of mind. You see, not everyone is finding it easy to ‘just stay at home’. I mean, I’m not going to bang on about Paul dying, but I wish I could explain to some of these people that being confined to the house where my husband died, looking at his chair, his photograph and that fucking box of ashes, is hard! I would have been back at work by now, occupying my mind, moving forward. I would have sold this house full of awful memories and started afresh. Instead I have to sit in the place where he died trying not to think about that day. It’s really fucking hard.
When I did my Vlog, I was feeling fine. Honestly. I was not worried or stressed at all. The alone time was welcome. I was exhausted from grief. I felt a sense of relief knowing I could truly rest without worrying about daily life. If I couldn’t be bothered to clean it didn’t matter because nobody was allowed to come round. I could get drunk on a school night if I fancied. I could lay in the sunshine. I could eat 3 Magnums before breakfast because the world had been turned on its arse and all the rules were suddenly out the window. Fuck it!
I used to rant on to Paul about the messed-up way we were all trapped on a never-ending, money-making, hamster wheel of despair. Working all day to earn money to buy a fancy car so we can drive it to work every day. Working to earn money to buy a fancy house that we’re never in because we’re at work. I mean, it’s crazy when you think about it. I would get frustrated that there was no way out. Longing to be free from the daily/weekly/monthly routine. Don’t get me wrong, I love my job (I know not many people can say that). I’m talking about the bigger picture. The fact that as a society this is how things are. This is how it is. This is how it will always be. Bloody hell, I’m getting way too deep here. Let’s move on. I swear I’ve got a point to make somewhere…
OK, so all the shit happened and in the beginning I felt fine. The human tragedy didn’t affect me (I realise how harsh that sounds, but I had no room for anyone else’s grief). We were all being forced to stop and take a breath for a minute and it felt like a good thing. But the weeks went on. They have now turned into months and this whole thing (all this shit) is getting pretty damn hard.
I hate routine. I don’t have Sunday dinner. I don’t wash on Monday, iron on Tuesday, do the big shop on Friday. I get irritated by the very notion that people choose to limit themselves in this way. But the longer (all this shit) goes on, the more I understand why. You see, people need a purpose. Dramatic as it sounds, we all need a reason to begin each day. I’ve realised that my downward spiral has been my own doing. I was getting up late. Feeling like shit because I hadn’t slept soundly. Not doing anything productive because I felt like shit. Eating junk because I couldn’t be bothered to cook and needed quick calories for energy. Going to bed and sleeping badly again because I had done no activity and was full of sugar and carbs. The less I was doing the less I wanted to do. I felt disgusted with myself for my weight gain. Lost confidence in my appearance. Believed I was useless for not being productive. Stopped answering my phone and pulled away from everyone. Not good. Not good at all. I was in dangerous territory.
So, I decided to set my alarm. That’s all. No big plan. No revelation. Just set my alarm. For a week now, I’ve been getting up around 8am, getting showered, styling my hair, and putting my makeup on. I’ve exfoliated, moisturised, shaved (let me tell you, that was a challenge after 12 months of neglect!) and put on my best perfume. Then put on my walking boots and gone down the fields with the dog! Every day. I’ve worn my sparkly gold Russell and Bromley wedges (which have been stuck in a box for nearly 2 years) to get the groceries. I’ve painted my nails and tanned my (ridiculously white) legs. And I’ve turned a corner.
Now, I’m gonna try really hard not to sound like Oprah here. I hate over analysing shit. But in making those small changes I am beginning to feel like I owe it to myself to get my life back. I’ve cooked meals every day this week. I realise it’s only Wednesday, but that’s pretty good for me! I have only had 2 Kit Kats as opposed to 2 packets. I’ve even been drinking water. WATER! Who even am I? Losing the weight and taking pride in myself again has become a ‘want to’ rather than a ‘should do’.
It’s the routine. Getting up on a morning with a sense of purpose. Wanting to be productive. Being needed. Being useful. We need the hamster wheel, I guess. I hope we can all get back on it soon. When all this shit is over.