I had a big crystallization today around how this pandemic situation has been affecting me, and I thought I would share it in case anybody else is experiencing this and might find it beneficial to know they’re not alone: I think the most traumatizing aspect for me has been this constantly being forced to make life or death choices that impact me, my vulnerable loved ones, and my community, while not having access to key information needed for making reasonable decisions. And I have observed that what makes this more bearable is the occasions when there’s another human with me, saying “Let’s decide together.” But most often, I’m trying to do it by myself.
I’ve been taught that when humans experience potentially traumatic events, one of the big indicators of whether or not their psyche/body will indeed experience it as trauma is whether or not there is anyone else there, being a reassuring presence and demonstrating not-aloneness. I can say that for me, times when I’ve felt not alone in the decision making process are the times that have felt much more bearable, but those have been the exception – just circumstantially. As it has played out, I’m aware that my brain and nervous system and body have been in a trauma response. I’m aware I have a really reduced capacity, a reduced window of tolerance, and some parts of my brain are just shut down. So I ask your patience if you’ve asked me to take on some responsibility and I’ve frozen, or just said I couldn’t. My limited energy is going toward my job, and most days when I’m done with work, I’m fried.
On the other hand, it’s been an important time of learning to better show up for myself. Practicing compassion. Accepting my current limits and recognizing when the wall is close, even though I may wish it (I) were otherwise. Knowing that many may not understand why I’m acting like my inner state is freaking out all the time, and letting my own caring presence be enough. Bonding with myself; meeting myself with love. These are experiences I’m glad to have had, and they’re ones I’ll continue to value when all this is over.
It’s all ok. I’m ok. And I’m not ok. But I will be.
P.S. I should probably add that this is not a request for advice. It’s just sharing an experience I’m having that wanted to be seen, for the purpose of having connection with others who might relate.