First, I’m not gonna lie. January 2022 tested me in a big way. Some might have viewed Omicron as nothing more than an inconvenient speed bump. That wasn’t how I saw it.
While fully vaccinated and boosted, the very idea of a *more* transmissible variant prompted dread. Why? I’ve had more than enough scary asthma attacks and prolonged gasping for air to last me a lifetime. Going out into the world and mixing it up with potential COVID carriers intent on pretending away a vicious virus? That felt akin to waking up and saying, “hmmm, gosh, do I feel like drowning today?”
My answer: Hell, no! I will do anything I can to prevent it.
That’s why when this latest COVID wave formed, I immediately went back into a self-imposed lock down. For the umpteenth time these past two-plus years. Grrrrrrr!
As I wrote to Mali and Klara, this latest scourge made the previous six months of modest, masked, vaccinated movement out and about and careful small group interactions feel like a wicked tease.
Milder doesn’t apply for those with weak lungs. Every single bug (whether it started as a cold, flu or sinus infection) has always ended up migrating to my lungs. Don’t even start with this variant “is not that bad” bulls*it. Reminds me of the “just relax, it’ll happen” dismissal talk heaped on those with unexplained infertility.
Social Isolation Ain’t Fun
So, throw in some long cold days and you have a recipe for some serious blues. My only interruption to rueful ruminations this past month? A panic attack or two. Yep. My latest isolation elevated my heart rate, stirred up terrible memories and caused a few fitful, sleepless nights. I found myself reliving that painful and sad social withdrawal that once dominated my life for a different set of reasons.
Feelings of crushing unfairness, infertility loss, and body failure engulfed me once again. Let me say, there are few things worse than feeling physically and mentally vulnerable at the same time. But, damn, there I was once again sensing my ‘differentness.’ My stored trauma resurfaced.
All the anti-vaxxer, COVID deniers, and maskless morons infuriated me more than usual. They reminded me of the many ways some in society cruelly dismiss those around them at high risk or those whose lives lie outside their norm. Once again, I found myself a misfit and misunderstood.
So, yeah. January sucked.
Coping Skills Needed, Once Again
Last week I committed to get back to some self-care. Like gentle yoga. I revisited a session or two I had recorded and saved on my iPad when COVID first arrived. It felt good to slow down my heart rate some. I haven’t been back to an in-person class since January 2020. I truly miss being in a room practicing with others, but it will still be more time before I envision doing that again. Too much breathing in a closed space.
With the lengthening days and milder winter weather the past week I have also been out in nature. It’s hard not to revel in the cheerful sound of chickadees and marvel at crystal clear blue skies.
I have also channeled my energies into writing and public policy work to protect the Tahoe basin where I live. You can read more about those efforts here in these op-eds I wrote for the Reno Gazette Journal and San Francisco Chronicle.
Then there’s my go-to for clearing my head: blogging. And, that’s a great segue to my upcoming blogaversary: February 3, 2007. Fifteen years — can you believe it?!
Fortunately, this latest COVID surge appears to be waning for February. Virtual chocolate hearts and sweets for all those who drop by.