So life at the moment is definitely not what any of us are used to. We’ll all be having our ups and our downs, good days and bad. People say that’s normal and that’s how we should be expecting to feel. But how do they know that? The situation we’re in across the world at the moment with the coronavirus is unprecedented so where are the case studies to show us what we should be feeling and what’s “normal” when your life gets flipped upside down?
I know it probably seems weird to be questioning the reassuring stance that people are taking that how we feel is perfectly normal, but how come when people get diagnosed with a life limiting, debilitating illness that there is very little known about, people don’t know what to say to you and don’t know if what you are going through is normal? Do people just think “normal” feelings only affect the masses? Do people only feel comfortable judging others when they are in the minority? And only provide unsolicited advice when they are talking to one person about something they know nothing of yet feel completely lost to provide any advice when the whole world is experiencing a pandemic? Is this situation inadvertently calling people out and showing them that actually they don’t know as much as they think? Could this change people for the future?
For me, my day to day life is like being on a rollercoaster. I don’t know from day to day which part of the track I’m on. I could wake up one day and be on the long, hard slog to the top but the next day I could be throwing my arms in the air and screaming with joy as I easily fly through the day with no obstacles. This is my normal. This is how I live life everyday. Now, the know it alls out there would probably tell you that when I’m on the slog days it is “normal” for me to feel down and drained. But what about the feelings of guilt I have? The feelings of letting people down? Letting myself down? Are they “normal” too? They’ll also tell you that on the good days, it’s “normal” for me to feel elated and want to push and do as much as I can. But what about the feelings of anxiety? The feelings of doubt as to how long this good feeling will last? Should I ignore these as they’re not “normal”?
I think what I’m trying to get at is that, to me, and how I see the world, there is no such thing as a “normal’ way to feel. People will feel how they do in any given situation because that is who they are and that’s ok. That is what their make up of morals and nurturing tell them is the way they react. Its what a persons core is telling them to feel, say and how to behave. Will we all agree with each other and how each of us reacts to this? No. And nor should we because this is what makes us human beings and distinguishes us from the binary world (sorry to any Matrix fans!).
I’ve always been an advocate for people to be themselves and to be who they are / want to be. I strongly believe that a person can change but only in to a better version of themselves. To me, we don’t need carbon copies of human beings in the population as that would make the world a very boring place to be.
What we do need though, is self awareness. We need to know and understand who we are. We need to appreciate how we come across to others and how we might offend or belittle or upset someone so that discussion and disagreements can be done in a civilised way rather than a heated argument or leading to someone feeling bad about themselves. And this brings me back to my point about “normal” not really being a thing.
Over the last few years, since ME joined me on my journey, I like to think that I’ve gotten to know myself; who I am as a person, how I feel about things, what different sides to me there are. Yes, I’ve had the time to do this as well as a need. If I hadn’t spent this time, then my health could be a lot worse than it is.
I’ve had to accept that my body and brain don’t communicate with each other as well as they used to so I’ve had to adapt. I now think about actions and words more than I used to – I like to think I’m less flippant. I know that when I’m particularly low on energy, I get more snippy and can say things that are a bit too honest. But because I’m aware of that, I do my best to hold back or remove myself from a frustrating situation or get ready to apologise!
I’ve had to accept that I’m going to have good days and bad days; good weeks and bad. Just the other week I was feeling good. Still tired, sore and my brain was doing somersaults, but I felt positive and energised. I was walking everyday. Only short walks, but focussing on my posture. I was making lovely dinners and eating well. I was having bubbly chats with people, joined in on 2 zoom parties and life felt the best it had for a while even though I was on my own due to lockdown. Then boom. This week just gone, I felt awful. My fatigue was bad. I was sleeping a lot. My brain was telling me that my shoes do belong in the dishwasher and the my fridge stores everything not just the chilled foods. I didn’t speak to as many people and kept myself to myself more. I was getting more and more tired and feeling more and more emotional – feeling like there were tears behind my eyes just waiting for their turn to slide down my cheek.
Some of you might be thinking “she’s obviously having the lockdown blues” but if truth be told, these last two weeks have had nothing to do with lockdown. This is how my body wants to behave at the moment and is telling me I’ve still got more work to do before I can reach a sensible plateau.
I’ve also had to accept that the ambitions I’ve had for myself over the past 20 odd years need to be redefined and re-evaluated. These are part of my core values in life so I know that its not a case of ripping them up and starting again, but looking at ways to make sure I can still achieve them just with my ME buddy by my side.
Lockdown has been showing most people a different way of living. Working from home is new to many. Spending more time with your household having fun has become a thing as has socialising with people across the country from the comfort of your own living room. Most people working at home now have more time available to them as they don’t have the daily commute so they are making the most of this time. Parents (as much as its tough) are getting to spend more time with their kids which is precious and something that is priceless.
At the moment we don’t know when lockdown will end or even how it will end. But I’m sure we’re all wondering what life will be like once it is. Will people change? Will people want to go back to their “normal” lives? Will people with chronic illnesses be given more respect as self isolation isn’t going to end for them? Will people be more aware of their actions on others as well as the environment given how much this has been trying to heal itself? Will people finally see that money isn’t everything and that people matter more than possessions?
I don’t have any answers to these questions. Only time will tell how life will change because it will. I don’t believe that so many lives can be lost, so many lives impacted in so many ways and no change will occur. I just hope its for the better. I might sound naive but I really hope that this pandemic opens peoples eyes to who the important people in the world are and how society needs to rethink who is put on a pedestal.
I don’t doubt that my life will be different. It’ll still be a rollercoaster but I’m just going to ride it and see where it takes me next. Will you do the same?