if you’re going through hell, keep going

“This too shall pass.”
“Tough times don’t last; tough people do.”
“The sun’ll come out, tomorrow!”

These kind of hopeful, optimistic quotes feel a whole lot different today than they would have about nine months ago. At that point in the pandemic, it didn’t feel quite so ridiculous to have a bit of faith that things would get better before too long. Little ol’ us, here in Newfoundland? We’d get through this, we’re an island, we’re safe…surely life will be “back to normal” by fall.

And then it was fall. And we were….surviving. Not back to normal, not necessarily feeling safe with this “new normal”, but not constantly-on-red-alert levels anymore, either. By now, even for the most resiliently optimists among us, hope was running low. Honestly, it was starting to take a lot of self-restraint to not roll my eyes each time I heard the now-trite “this too shall pass”.

And today, eleven months in? Any attempts at optimism almost feel like an insult to our collective intelligence. We’re seeing an all-time high in daily new cases, everyone is on edge, and pessimism seems to be taking over. “‘The sun will come out tomorrow‘? Are you freaking kidding me?! Yeah, right…”

I wish I had some kind of good news for you, but hey, I’m struggling too. Winter blues are hard enough, on top of regular-blues, anxiety, whatever other mental illness is goin’ on in my brain. Add on a seemingly-endless pandemic, and it’s…a lot. I’d say the majority of us right now feel overwhelmed, to say the least (hopeless, drained, and mentally-fucking-exhausted, if you want details). Our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Janice Fitzgerald, is the strongest, smartest, most resilient real-life human I can think of, and she’s even wearing thin. (By the way, can we get something in the works to honour how amazing this woman is? A vacation? A crown? A new provincial flag with her face on it?? Seriously, Dr Fitzgerald has been an absolute godsend through all this.)

So yeah. This all kind of sucks. But I have to keep reminding myself: this can’t last forever. At some point life IS going to get better. It’s just going to suck a bit longer than we thought.

In the meantime, I’m doing what I can to stay safe and stay sane. We’re all following the physical safety precautions, but I’m more concerned about the things I can do to protect my mental safety. A mental health crisis is the last thing any of us needs in the midst of a pandemic. I’m doing what I can to make sure that doesn’t happen, for myself or for my boyfriend. Trying to stay busy, trying not to focus too much on all the constant-covid-convo. The past little while of coping-with-covid has led to us painting the living room, trying out new recipes, and watching a poopload of really dumb shows and movies on Netflix. And we’ve both promised to be honest with ourselves and each other, and stay on top of our mental health. Any anxieties, thoughts, ~~feelings~~ are on the table, open for conversation. Even if we can’t necessarily do anything to help or change the situation, talking it out always feels a little bit better.

I know I’m privileged to have such a person, and my heart breaks for anyone dealing with all this on their own. If you do have someone, please, appreciate them!! Share with them, check in on how they’re feeling, lean on them for support if you need it. If you don’t have a someone, don’t be afraid to reach out; online groups, professional therapists, any of the available resources around you. (FYI, the Mental Health Crisis phone number for NFLD is 709-737-4668.) And do what you can to stay sane while staying safe. You can’t control any of the mess going on around us, but you can control your home environment (somewhat). Turn off the news for a while. Run yourself a nice smelly bubble bath. Reread an old favorite book. Cook up something yummy. Seriously – all that silly “self-care” you might roll your eyes at is important right now. Do whatever you can to make your home, your brain, your family, as happy and healthy as possible. I think we should all be making our mental health just as much a priority as physical health, now especially.

The sun may not come out tomorrow (or the next day, or next month, etc..) but eventually, it’s gonna come out and shine, as bright as ever. Until then I’m adapting a new mindset/mantra: “If you’re going through hell, keep going.”

Keep going, keep chuggin’ along, keep taking care of yourself.
We’re gonna get through this, even if it feels like all kindsa hell.

As our Queen reminds us each day: Hold fast, Newfoundland and Labrador
(Everyone/everywhere though, take care. Stay strong. All the love)

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