Who would have thought that there were parallels between getting Ross River Fever and then Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and the COVID-19 Pandemic? I didn't...but I'm seeing so many things I've experienced before.
When I had Ross River, I had to give up work, socialising, going out, drinking alcohol... it felt like life. I was confined to a bed or couch for months. Having a shower claimed almost all of my energy for the day. Going to the loo was such an effort that I'd wait until I had to go...but need to give myself enough time to take the slow, exhausting steps to get there. Sometimes I'd have to sleep for a few hours after a bathroom visit - and I got no choice about that, my body would just konk out.
So life became whatever I could manage to do inside the confines of my home. And I grieved the loss of everything I had and was. But giving words to that loss was impossible. How do you explain that?
Fifteen years later, enter COVID-19 and lockdown. I've lost a little bit of freedom but overall my life is unchanged. My lockdown happened years ago with a different virus.
For those of you struggling this year, I understand your loss of life. I understand your grief at having the things you love taken away from you. I understand how your freedom has been curtailed. I know how much your heart aches at the loss of life as you knew it.
Viruses are sneaky little bastards. They sneak in unseen, and cause absolute mayhem and chaos. You don't get to see them - just the havoc they cause.
If you're struggling with the impacts of Covid, can I suggest you check out some of the wisdom offered by anyone suffering a chronic illness? They've negotiated these kind of restrictions and have found ways to live when living is changed.
Here are some sites that have helped me:
Loss of life and the things you have always done is a real loss. It causes grief. It hurts your heart and your mind. The uncertainty around when it may end, or if it will ever end, does dreadful things to your psyche. Depression, anguish, grief, sadness, overwhelm, anger...these emotions and more are all completely valid.
I wish I could give you an easy answer for carrying on. I can't. It's been a struggle to reinvent myself over the last 15 years, and I'm still working on that.
I've decided that life is about living in the best way I can, taking into account whatever has been thrown in my path. So, I'm on an ever evolving quest to bring joy to my life, fill myself with purpose each day...even if that's just taking a photo daily!
I hope you can find some joy and peace in this crazy crazy time.