This week I hit a wall and didn't expect it. That’s not true. I felt the wall building around me since the March covid virus restrictions were put into place, but chose to ignore it and continued to climb around it.
Most in my community have been faithfully following the guidelines of keeping safe. Time has clocked the days, weeks, and even months of this "new" norm. The challenge and dislike of our isolation became normal. The patience in accessing goods and services in a different manner became normal. Watching others around the world act irresponsibly without regard for others’ life or health has become a daily expectation and our most recent focus of entertainment.
So I hit a wall, and looking back after the fact, can agree that the wall really was there just waiting. I had masked many emotions by expressing I am tired and looking forward to the summer break. But I did not feel tired physically, I have had more time than enough time to sit still and rest. Instead, I became tired mentally and emotionally and didn’t realize it.
My excuse as compared to others? I have caught myself adding this comment to any inquiry question when asked, “…and I have been isolating since November.” Why was I saying this? In February and March, I was free of surgery restrictions. Now the new restrictions were preventative ones for my recuperating body. My unexpressed emotions involved feeling teased when that limited time of freedom was taken away.
What I viewed as my normal disappeared once more. I abided by the new limitations with gusto, masking true emotions. I created physical masks for others and made my own sanitizer and wipes. I felt useful and busy in my work. Other challenges though, that should have been resolved, were being delayed because of our societal restrictions. My true feelings were building.
The wall tried to give me hints of it’s impending presence but I ignored it. Then the wall made itself known, which for me, is usually physical symptoms...not this time. In the middle of night my motions exploded, my anxieties erupted, and I truly believed my heart was coming out of my chest. I woke up not able to breathe.
I didn’t stop to think maybe this was emotional. I was focused on the physical effects of increasing chest pain and an irregular heart beat. My body was drenched in sweat. I did not step away from the situation and ask why if my heart was in distress I could change my clothes, or find my shoes under a stool with ease. I even stood at the open door way of my home waiting for the ambulance.
So to the hospital I went in an ambulance I had summoned on my own. Some may be asking, why share this? I do not feel embarrassed that I mistakenly diagnosed a true anxiety attack for a physical heart attack. In fact, the ambulance attendants indicated that many have ignored similar signs and created more severe issues for them to deal with. Our suppressed emotions during this time of isolation and fear have added further challenges to our health givers.
Instead, I wish I had step backed and acknowledge to the wall what I was truly feeling--wishing for a miracle of change. How powerless I am feeling because of our restrictions and the devastation of families and even communities elsewhere. Most importantly I had hoped this new world, that will continue for a long while, would just disappear. It won’t. I will need to change instead.