It’s little things. The dog door breaks. There’s a trail of ants in the kitchen. I find a snakeskin in the backyard. Titus steps on my foot. I knock a bottle of wine off the counter, and it upends into the dishwasher.
Intellectually, I realize they’re little things, but my inner self still curls into a fetal position with each adverse event. I become breathless. Paralyzed. I can’t think. Tears spring to my eyes.
I know what’s going on. For the past several months, my foggy, anxious, grief-ridden state has matched perfectly with that of a populace in the throes of a global pandemic. But as we move out of quarantine, moods brighten, and optimism sparks, my emotions are no longer validated by the population at large. I look around at all the shiny, happy people and think, Well, shit.
But here’s what I’ve decided: It’s fine. I accept it. I’m not going to try to do better, fold in more coping skills, or chastise myself for not feeling hopeful and happy during what, for many, is a hopeful, happy time. My recovery process isn’t attached to the COVID timeline. It’s its own unique beast and will run its own course.
Periodically, I go back in my journals to read entries from past years, and whenever I revisit hard times, I find the written reminders: I won’t always feel this way. And I know that’s true.
For now, though, I’ll hide out in trees.