Social distancing day 10,548:
Not working today, so lazing at home.
- Discussed the news with the hubs.
- Made menu and grocery list for next two weeks.
- Studying my Spanish book.
- Getting ready for a continuing education webcast.
- Gave the cat her flea treatment.
Living the dream? Oddly, yes. While this is a horrible situation, it takes me back to the end of my cancer treatment. I fully believe that any situation that drives you to the brink of a meeting with the grim reaper makes you assess your priorities.
Was I working too much? Was I not focused on my family? Was I doing anything for my own mental health?
I gravely thought about all these questions and more. And I incorporated the answers into my life. Yes, I worked too much and allocated too much stress to my job. So I went back to work in a lower position and salary and loved it. No stress allowed, I promised myself I would quit if I ceased to enjoy it.
I slowed down my life. I accepted that I needed more peace and downtime. I stayed home and eliminated much in the way of outside activities. I tried to let myself heal.
But at some point, I started pulling harder on my leash. As I took on more responsibility at work, I fell into bad habits. I let stress creep in. I pushed myself to get out more. While that was mostly a good thing, sometimes I regretted going against my better judgment. I convinced myself that staying home and resting was wrong because I am healthy.
When the self isolation mania first started, my anxiety went back off the charts, practically overnight. I had flashbacks to chemo. All the progress I had made in the last year with my mental health was out the window. I seriously felt out of control.
Then I remembered what my therapist told me early on. That I should not beat myself up, and that sometimes I need to give myself permission to not be ok. It was sort of like slapping myself. From that day on I slowly reintegrated the control mechanisms I have learned. Taking a break when stressed. Appreciating little things. Focusing my attention and energy on productive activities. Resting when I need to rest. And the most basic, cold water and a fan when the panic attacks flare.
I am getting back on track. Even when the world re-opens for me, I am slowing my life back down for the things that matter to me. And locking the stress out. It’s a wake up call that I will heed.
For those who are struggling, please find help. A therapist, a friend, a support group. This is not the time for a stiff upper lip. You can live your best life, but use your tribe to get there. Let’s do this together.
For more information for your breast cancer journey, please see our website www.driventosurvive.org.