The other day I had a bit of a meltdown. I felt angry and restless. I was sick and tired of everyone and everything, including being in my own company. Logically, I know it was frustration at being back in level 4 lockdown because of the outbreak of the delta variant in New Zealand. But, I was really struggling to keep myself from sliding into depression and anger.
I tried my best to hide my feelings from my husband and three cats because I didn’t want to upset them. It wasn’t easy though and took a great deal of self-talk to not blow my top. The smallest things were really annoying me, such as my spouse leaving a banana peel on the kitchen bench. If that happened on any ordinary day, I’d probably sigh, and then put it in the compost bin.
On this day, however, my blood was boiling. My entire body felt like it had restless leg syndrome. At one point, I got so annoyed, (about literally nothing), I went downstairs and whacked both of my palms against a concrete wall. The stinging sensation in my hands quickly supplanted the anger, and I laughed.
I’m not really an advocate for self-harm, but I have to say, by physically expressing my anger on to a sturdy inanimate object and suffering only a slight amount of discomfort really cleared my mind.
And I remembered one of the simple facts of life – physical activity is good for us. I don’t mean beating concrete, I mean staying active, particularly in times of stress. Unfortunately, covid has messed with our entire way of life.
In any given week, I would be going to the gym, the theatre, movies, etc. I’d be seeing friends or going to a restaurant. In fact, prior to August 17th, that’s exactly what I was doing. I was also, interviewing, writing, and researching for my website and newsletters.
Back in lockdown, however, most of that has disappeared. Covid is one of those existential issues we are facing at the moment. Lockdowns, masks, vaccines, are all designed to keep us safe, particularly the most vulnerable. Yet, they also interfere with our basic freedoms and our livelihoods are threatened.
Worst of all, as time has gone on, I’ve wanted to do less and less.
But here’s the crazy thing. If I think about my life right now, I have an incredible amount of privilege. I live in a house, I am married, my cupboards, fridge, and freezer are well-stocked. I have received both covid vaccinations free of charge. That process was easy and safe.
I can call or text friends, and thanks to the internet, I can still research, watch television, etc. There are still plenty of things in this world to be joyful about. I also know, that humanity is resilient and that we will get through this.
Meltdown day has reminded me to continue to exercise and to stay in touch with people, to write and produce content. All of those things are therapeutic, and they remind me that life does indeed go on.
I also acknowledge that I will continue to have both good and bad days. That’s life, and it’s also me.
Being stuck inside by decree rather than by choice for weeks is not easy, but it is necessary. Acknowledging that, and remembering to take steps to keep oneself healthy is the key to getting through.
Hopefully, if I pay attention to those things, I won’t need to slap the wall again.