05/04/2020 Post Viral Blues

Yesterday morning I was emotional but optimistic, I was symptom free for the second day and looking forward to being able to leave the house today, albeit just taking the dog out for a short walk. I started doing a bit more, I swept the floor and did a bit of ironing whilst watching a bit of Netflix. No matter how productive I was I just felt flat, I felt incredibly sad, and on top of that sapped of energy. When I looked forward to today, I realised that I couldn’t do what I wanted, I couldn’t come and go as I pleased, the country outside was still closed (I hate the term locked down, it feels so melodramatic, and downplays the seriousness). I think what brought it home to me was when a Challenge Cup highlights programme came on the television and the announcer said “as all sport is postponed”. ALL SPORT IS POSTPONED! ALL SPORT! ALL! The magnitude of that just completely deflated me. We are in the midst of the single most important event this century (so far) and to be frank I would rather not be. I want to be reading about this in a text book or watching a documentary about it, not living through it.

So I finished my ironing (getting ready for work next week) and felt exhausted. Exhausted! I only did some ironing and put it away. Everything ached and I felt breathless. That dropped my mood even more. How was I going to be able to go to work? I felt old and useless. By 8:30 I was in bed, I tried listening to some music, to lift my spirits. That made me feel closed in and claustrophobic, and I could feel myself starting to panic. I resorted to some simple mindfulness techniques of checking my sensations, it worked before I knew it I was asleep.

I know this post seems very negative on such a sunny day. What I am doing though is helping myself get out of this funk by writing down what I am experiencing to understand and make sense of my emotions.

When I started to recover I expected to feel better and be back to normal immediately, I didn’t. I had an expectation that everything would good, it isn’t. I was being so unrealistic it is a little embarrassing writing about it. I feel like a little boy again on my birthday. When I was young I would get so excited about my birthday and imagine all these wonderful presents, like an Evil Knieval doll and a brilliant party with me being at the centre of attention. Obviously it never quite turned out like that. So normally by about halfway through my party I would start behaving like a little shit. I was unable to manage my expectations so always felt disappointed. This is exactly what is happening to me right now. I wanted an Evil Knieval doll and got a Gullivers Travels T-Shirt and a colouring book instead.

So by writing this entry actually helps me put things into perspective, and realise I was quite ill for over a week. I just have to give myself some time and let myself off the hook. So today I am going to be kind to myself. I will take the dog for a short walk to post a letter for Janet our next door neighbour who is in her 90s later I sit in the garden and take in the sunshine. Now I am feeling better I need to step up to the plate though and play my part, that means staying in as much as is possible. Tomorrow is another day, one that I am looking forward to and dreading in equal measure, I imagine the same as everyone else.

I find writing down what I am feeling really helpful. If you are feeling down, and cannot seem to get out of it, maybe try writing it down and reading it back to yourself. You will notice all the assumptions that you make about your life, and start to understand what motivates you. You don’t have to put it out there like I do (although I find that process and the comments incredibly helpful). Keeping a journal is a wonderful way to capture the emotion of what is happening to us all. Give it a go, you don’t have to be great at writing, after all you only have to share it with people if you want to.

Have a good day today. Even though the sun is shining, please don’t go to the park or beach, stay at home, save a life.

Published by Matt Smith Personal and Professional Coach

Performance and Life Coach

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