Storm in the Calm

I’m sitting in my living room. The world outside is calm, cold and snowing. It’s calm because the city is 75% shutdown because of Covid-19. There’s nothing to do, and nowhere to go. It’s a time when we can rest, reset our lives, take time for self-care, an emotional breather.

Except… my emotional breather is being accompanied by anxiety. My Fitbit keeps telling me my resting heart rate is above 80… I’m working on breathing, but it feels unsuccessful.

I’m not anxious about Covid-19. I’m not worried about my family (any more than usual). In fact, my life is minimally affected because I’m already a work-at-home, homeschooler. I don’t have the huge life adjustments to make that others do. Having finished that explanation (and realizing it’s also a massive comparing justification), I’m still struggling with the anxiety of life. I had a nasty cold 2 weeks before everything was shut down, so now I have missed 3 weeks of gym class. I need to get my gear on and do some at home workouts, but I can’t bring myself to find the energy. I’m exhausted. I’m worn out.

My kids are feeling the pressure of the isolation. I’m reminded of the isolation I felt before I left my marriage. When the world looks on from the outside and believes everything is going well, but inside everything is falling apart.

I keep wearing the mask.

I’m not sure I know how to take it off … I don’t think I’ve ever known how to take it off. As long as I’ve been alive, as long as I can remember, I’ve been wearing a mask. I’ve been putting on a facade. Who have I been protecting? Me, or those around me?

Is the mask breaking? I keep finding emotions breaking through. I keep feeling unexpected things at unexpected times. I’m finding memories trying to push their way forward, … at least I think they’re memories… but they can’t make it out. I’m not even sure I want them to. If they break out, will my whole life come flooding in? Am I strong enough or will I break too?

There was a time I worked hard to fight through the memories. To break down the mask. There was a time that was all I wanted, and then I finally accepted it just wasn’t going to happen, that my life was locked away from me. That my heart would never be whole again. The mind doesn’t work that way. Maybe it waits until you feel safe, and then unlocks all the pain for you to deal with from a safe place. Maybe it just has a limit on how much it can hold and finally the ties holding it back just snap and release the floodgates.

I don’t know what’s going on in my heart and mind right now. I’m not even sure I want to….. if you could keep me in your prayers, I’d appreciate it a great deal.

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