I don’t know what it is or how long it will last, but I’ve been dealing with adversity much better than I had been in recent years.
Is it the therapy sessions I’ve been having? Has my anxiety been reduced because of the hormone replacement patches I’ve been wearing for the past few months? Or do I finally just get it: that I won’t always have control over my circumstances and that sometimes it’s better to just be accepting and to roll with it.
I’ve been in hotel quarantine now in the UK for about a week; I arrived last Sunday. The first couple of days were a bit of a shock to the system, but I’ve eased into it quite well. I have my own little routine and I’ve been able to build little things into my day and week to look forward to. It really is the little things that make all the difference. I go on three walks a day round and round and round the hotel car park. I love those walks now. When I saw our hotel car park that first morning I was really disappointed. The space is so small. Its perimeter is only 180 meters long. But I now love going on my runs and walks around it. I enjoy watching other people as I go round and round. I love seeing the little kiddies play. I wonder where that person is from and what brought that person back to the UK.
I work during the day and have my special show to look forward to before I go to bed. It’s Love Island. Don’t judge me. I take a nap most days. I decided early in the week that I’d treat myself to a meal delivery on Saturday. I ordered way too much food. I’ll never finish it. But it was something different to look forward to. It was something exciting to wait for.
I experienced a lot of emotions when I was in Egypt the month before this quarantine. That’s a good thing. Therapy has taught me that one reason I might experience anxiety is that I tend to box all my emotions up into the one feeling of anxiety. This was a revelation when it was first suggested to me about three years ago. The conversation that ensued made me realize that I was afraid of feeling all the other emotions. I didn’t want to feel sad, for example, because I didn’t want to feel sad all the time. I didn’t want to experience anger, I said, because it might eat me up on the inside. But the reality was that I was feeling anxiety almost all the time and it was eating me up on the inside. When I started trying to figure out what emotion I was really feeling, and then felt it, my anxiety subsided and the other emotion took over for a little bit and then went away. Wait. If I allow myself to feel sad and to cry, I won’t feel sad all the time? It turns out I didn’t. And I wasn’t feeling as anxious either.
I’ve been working on applying that lesson as much as I can. But my anxiety has still found a way back to me. It could be my menopausal hormones. Or it could be that I still have issues that I need to deal with. So I’m working on both angles these days with hormone replacement patches and more therapy sessions.
Egypt was emotional. I felt sad at times. I felt angry. I felt extremely frustrated. I felt proud (of my children). I felt overwhelming happiness. And I allowed myself to feel it all. And as issues arose, and they did, I taught myself to acknowledge the things I have no control over and to focus my energies on what I can control: my own behaviours and reactions.
So here I am. Day seven of hotel quarantine, and I’m just rolling with it. I have a clean room, I get to go out three times a day for nice walks/runs, I’m able to rest and put my feet up, and the food ain’t perfect but it isn’t all that bad. My children and husband are all doing well. What more could I want from life? I know that I might need to stay longer than the ten allocated days if my day eight COVID test comes back positive, or if someone I’ve mixed with on the plane or shuttle bus to the hotel gets a positive result. But I’ll deal with that when it comes. And even if it happens, it will be OK.
I might get upset or frustrated or feel sad in the coming few days. That’s OK too. I’m human and those are normal human emotions.
Hopefully I can hold onto this new approach to life. It feels good.