I love my therapist but there’s a recurring problem in my life she just can’t understand. I don’t wanna talk about it here but It’s one of the main triggers for my depression but it’s not something common and if you don’t have it it’s hard to relate so she keeps kind of offering “solutions” that are not possible right now in my life because of money and now also a fucking pandemic.
Idk i brought it up a few times already but i always end up feeling more alone in it because she just can’t comprehend the way it affects me and kind of brushes it off as a smaller problem because I don’t break down like I used to since I’m doing better.
I don’t know what to do about it or how to bring it up again…
Giving it a fun, rhyming name makes it a little less stressful, right?
I have to admit, I have been extremely MIA for the last few weeks and it’s honestly because I didn’t have anything to write to you guys. I have about 8 different partially finished posts in my drafts folder that I just didn’t get a chance to complete and there was just one culprit for my case of writer’s block: quarantine.
Dun, dun, DUUUN.
So we’re all either extremely annoyed of staying home, going through our own cases of the grumps and eating LOTS. I, for one, have been doing all those things simultaneously and I think I found the reason why some people are not very happy with this quarantine.
Many of you have had your jobs or schools temporarily cancelled and closed down, thus having you stay home with nothing to do except binge Netflix and well, eat. This will make someone feel as mush as my grandmother’s mashed potatoes (which would make for an amazing snack along side some Ritz crackers, I’ll tell you) however, I have found the one thing that will make this feeling of extensive laziness go away: a routine. Which, I should mention, is also what many of you lost in the first place that is making you feel this way.
I’ve made posts about routines in the past including my “Bedtime Routine,” “Morning Routine” and “My Perfect Routine For 9-5 Jobs” which are all currently linked. However, I never explained my psychological reasoning behind why and how having routines benefit us, which is strange given the clear biography on my page.
Firstly, routines can help with insomnia and sleeping schedules. Though your brain remains active when you sleep, it is still getting recharged. However, when your brain or body aren’t really working, or doing anything during the day, the brain does not feel like it needs to recharge at night. Thus, making it difficult for you to fall asleep. Having a routine and items on your daily schedule to complete will help your brain feel like it’s actually doing something throughout the day and working and no, watching “Deep Sea” documentaries on Netflix doesn’t count as “working.”
Stress is also big during quarantine. Whether it’s about your job or the literal pandemic going on outside your window (it’s one of those “see but can’t touch” moments), it’s understandable that you would feel extremely anxious during this period. Setting a time for things in a routine help your mind understand that you do have time for everything - and this works especially well if you’re working from home. However, adding some time for relaxation or something fun (in my case, watching Jane The Virgin on Netflix #TeamMichael) will give your brain an incentive, reassuring yourself that you do have time for literally everything in the day. Also, getting used to a daily routine will help your brain slowly predict its daily tasks, thus reducing anxiety.
So now that we’ve covered all the science stuff, here’s a little sneak peak on how I planned out my “Quarantine Routine.”
It’s been a few weeks of quarantine and I’ve learnt that planning weekly is the best way to go, especially if you work at home like me and don’t want to be up until two in the morning in bed typing away, extremely annoying your sleeping partner (because he still has to go to work in the morning). This is also good if you’re a student who has finished their exams and don’t have much to do.
Make sure you have something productive to the three most important elements during quarantine: your job/school, your space and yourself.
Here’s how i planned out my week: I looked at my work at a week’s worth and stretched that along Monday - Friday, that way I am not stuck at a computer screen for hours upon end each day. Then, I found a new part of the house to clean or redecorate everyday. If I have a heavier workload, I will just dust or vacuum the house. Make sure that there is a balance between workload and lifeload. Then, I found something that I wanted to do that would help me with my mental wellness. For me it’s reading, finding a new cooking/baking recipe, writing, painting; stuff that will help you connect with yourself.
Here’s how it panned out:
7-7:30: Good morning!
7:30-8: Take this time to do your morning routine. Brush your teeth, wash your face: taking care of hygiene, regardless of whether you’re staying home or not can impact your mental wellness extensively. Do your morning routine like you would if you were going out somewhere.
8-9: Do a light workout. Since the weather is getting better, maybe go for a walk outside. According to Craig Janes, director of the school of public health at the University of Waterloo, going for a walk is totally fine during the COVID-19 outbreak. Just be wary of social distancing and stay cautious: this means staying 2 metres away from others at all times. Getting fresh air could improve your mental or physical health. During my walks, I also tend to take my protein shake (aka breakfast because I have IBS which means I have scratched off most breakfast foods off my diet list) in order to make sure I don’t get hungry. You could eat breakfast before or after your workout or take a protein bar with you on your walk. I tend to rotate my physical activity from light at home workouts, yoga and going outside for walks.
9-9:30: Take a nice relaxing shower. Don’t be afraid to spend a little more time in there. There’s no rush and really let your muscles relax. Make yourself a nice protein sake while you finish off with your skincare routine. Just because nobody is going to see you doesn’t mean you can’t take care of yourself.
9:30-11:30: I like to do my work at two hour intervals. I try to aim for 4 hours of work a day in order to complete my weekly load. This may be different for you depending on how much work you need to complete or what you attention span is like.
11:30-12:30: LUNCH! I’ve tried cooking my lunches as much as I can rather than having leftovers, which help with the whole “productivity” thing. However, eating outdoors really does help. Fresh air will make you feel much more productive going back to work.
[TIP]: Keeping a diet log can be super helpful for those who overeat or snack throughout the day like I do. Put down the times you will eat breakfast, lunch and dinner and then you can determine what the right time is to snack for you. It should be 3 meals a day and 2 chances to snack!
12:30-2:30: Back to work!
2:30-3:30: This is when you can binge your Netflix show, read a chapter of your book or just relax, have a cup of tea. NO NAPS! We are trying to make sure you fall asleep by the end of the night.
3:30-4:30/5: This is the time where you do something light and breezy in order to better your space, which is another important element of mental wellness during quarantine. Without taking care of your space, overtime it will get messier and it will become a distraction. Getting into the habit of doing light cleaning will help you better your mental wellness, even after quarantine as well, and lessen your lifeload. On this specific day, I started my deck transformation for spring. Started putting up the table and the barbecue and unloading some spring activities from the shed, and redecorating the furniture on my deck. This is also another good time to snack!
4:30/5-5:30: Relax again, but do something different! Don’t go back onto the TV. Maybe do some writing or art exercises. Play a game with someone if you live with them. Go sit outside for a bit. Sing or play music. Don’t use your relaxing time to do repetitive things, otherwise you will get bored quickly and run out of ways to unwind in the future.
5:30-6:30/7: Depending on whether or not you have a family, intermediately fast or need to cook before you serve, your timing on dinner may be a little all around the place. But that’s okay. If you can, try having dinner with your family, roommates or significant other - all at the table with no phones. This is a great way to have some social interaction during quarantine. It’s important to remember there’s life beyond this and once it’s over, you will get back to your own routine. Try not to talk about “updates on COVID-19″ but rather talk about something new that you learnt today. I’ve started my joke of the day segment which my partner doesn’t find too appealing so I’ve switched to fun facts (because word of the day was too easy). Today it was: frogs absorb water through their skin so they don’t need to drink. Pretty cool, huh? Totally forgot about quarantine.
6:30/7-8:30/9: I personally use this time to meditate and connect with my body. Maybe do some stretching and self reflective activities. Just being able to be one with my thoughts and making sure I am doing well. This also includes phoning a friend and seeing how they are doing. Remember, just because you don’t see a face(s), doesn’t mean they’re not out there. Maybe your friends need your spiritual company as well. Feel free to have some fruit snacks as well. I even schedule out my snack times because I don’t want to over-eat.
9-10: This is movie time for me, but again it’s up to you how you want to use your downtime. Spending an hour with your significant other or family is much needed right before bed.
10-11: Start your bedtime routine! Mine will be linked here.
11-Zzz: Lay in bed and close your eyes. If you need to listen to some light piano music, go ahead. Eventually, you will feel your eyes getting heavy and you will drift to sleep.
I understand these are trying times. However, understand they are just temporary. I also urge you all to listen when they are asking you to stay home and be safe, as well as practicing social distancing. This will not go away if we are not listening to our doctors.
Also, take the time to thank our medical professionals who are away from their families in order to work hard to help the rest of us stay healthy and safe during these times. Your service is much appreciated.
And most importantly: take care of yourselves and your loved ones. Don’t panic over every news story. Turn off the news for a little while and just relax and forget about it. We will all go back to our norma lives once this is over only if we listen and cooperate.
Be safe and take care of yourselves.
[NOTE FROM DARIA: You will notice that my writing style is a lot different than in this post. I wanted to be able to comfort and connect with all of you as much as I could in this post, mainly because a lot of people (including myself) are quite anxious about our current standing. I feared if I wrote a piece that was similar to my other posts in tone, it would diminish my goal for this text due to it sounding more like a lecture rather than a helpful piece. I am curious to know whether or not I should continue writing my texts like this, or if you prefer the wordier posts.]
But professionally… 😂
What a beautiful day to remember that not all masculinity is toxic and being male or male-aligned is not a bad thing to be!
I discovered I have c-ptsd and recovery is fucking hard. Will I even recover?
I really really thought I was recovering. That I was healing. And now everything is back to how I usually felt. I was good for two months. Two fucking months. Nothing changed in my room, in my house, nothing changed but me. I did better. I was laughing more. I even caught myself dancing in the kitchen while I was cooking some food. Like who the hell could have thought I would be doing that a few months ago?
I was throwing out all kinds of garbage. Food, toxic “friends”, producte, thoughts. I went to a therapist. Brainspotting therapy really helped me. I lost some weight weirdly enough. My head was less foggy. I could think, I wrote songs, I sang without throat ache. Then the corona crisis happened and even though I’m at high risk for complications, I was still doing Ok. Yes of course there was some anxiety, but in those months that occassionaly happened of course. I was doing better, I wasn’t doing perfect. But it was doable. And now since 3 days I am back to the emotional flashbacks.
I think it’s the complex trauma /ptsd that has caught me off guard. I am very anxious, my heart beats out of my chest. I did some youtube EDMR sessions and breathing exersises. I tried thinking positive. But it weirdly feels like how it was before. It’s something familiar and one side of me thinks: “oh darkness welcomed me again, this is familiar” while the other part of me thinks “fuck fuck I need to start over all again, I was doing so good and now it’s all gone”. (Which causes me so much more stress and anxiety)
And I know sometimes in healing and recovery you have to take a few steps back, but this is the first time and it feels really scary. Even scarrier then when I had this everyday, because now I can compare with a “good side”. Like before this darkness was all I knew, now I know how it feels to be more okay than usual. And I know everything se is so much more important right now than me and I completely respect the reason that I can’t go to therapy now. But I really miss it. And I even miss my therapist (I only know her for 2,5 months, I’m weird).
What changed with the emotional flashbacks is this: Something inside me wants to talk about my feelings the whole day weirdly enough (that’s also a change). And I also feel like I want physical contact. Not in like a sexual way, but just cuddles and stuff. Really weird. And I now know why it’s happening now. I know that I have c-ptsd. And I tell myself that I am doing everything I can to recover. And that I am doing great. And that I will find new people who will like me for who I am. And that they can handle me and they respect my feelings. But, you know. It’s hard. It really is hard to just live/survive you know.
Clinical psychologists: do you really know what is normality?
Psychologist: So what’s a healthy coping mechanism you use?
JD: I usually just build bombs