Losing Yourself in a Pandemic: How I’m Finding My Way Back

losing yourself

For the past few months I’ve felt as if I have been on autopilot. Like life has taken over and is giving us all a wild ride that we aren’t in control of.

I’ll admit, I have struggled to adjust. 

I had read about pandemics, but I never thought it could happen to us here, especially not in this day and age. In my mind, there would never be something like this that would change our comfortable, modern way of living (at least not in my lifetime). And then it did.

Just Surviving

I had to stop doing my job, so as to not risk the health of those I love. Suddenly, I became my children’s teacher overnight. I had to stop doing the things I took for granted; things like meeting freely with people, sitting in a crowd, or going to a concert. Couple all that with the state of politics and unrest in the country, and it makes for a very tough adjustment to a “new normal.” 

I became more irritable, fearful, and started to feel very anxious whenever I had to talk to strangers. My relationships suffered, for I had a hard time connecting with myself, let alone with others. I felt like I was losing myself. 

At the beginning of this pandemic, I couldn’t draw or write; it was as if my creativity had been zapped out of my life never to return. And I found that without my creative outlets I wasn’t living, I was just surviving.

I could feel depression rearing its ugly head, but I did nothing. And I almost fell for it. I almost gave in. 

Sometimes it’s hard to listen to the voices of others when your own voice inside is so negative. When all around you there are problems and disasters, it’s easy to think the world is all doom and gloom. You start liking that darkness, start to withdraw, and feel at home in it. Thankfully, I’m surrounded by people who love me, they noticed, and pulled me back.

With their help I realized that as comfortable as hiding was, I was starting to hurt the ones I love as I was swallowed in grief. So I made a move to come out of it. Therapy has helped start the healing of relationships and is helping me to learn to love myself as well.

Find What Fuels You

I have taken the time to pause and think: what does the world need of me right now? Not more anxiety, of that we have plenty. So I have decided to follow one of my childhood dreams and embrace my creativity.

I took a slice of my husband’s office and turned it into my own personal studio. A place for me to draw, write, and sculpt. A place that’s only mine, and has nothing to do with my role as a mother. And I’ll be giving the world my art and my voice, even if that world is limited to my friends and family. Because art in all its forms helps me cope and makes me happy and I want to share this happiness with others.

I have been thinking about how my children will remember me. I don’t want them to remember a mother who did things for everyone but herself or as a coward who chose comfortable instead of chasing her dreams. They see everything I do, even the things I’m not proud about.

And so they will now see me pursuing my creativity. They will see me trying my best, facing my fears, and pursuing my dreams through art.

Moving Forward, Pandemic or Not

These are hard times, but there’s a silver lining. I think we’ll all come out being more resilient, better people. To me, it’s like the pain of birthing a child; the process is necessary, but painful and messy nonetheless.

I have had a chance to look at myself, my biases, and my shortcomings. I’ve been forced to adjust: to be introspective, and to face the problems that I had buried under work and being busy. This isolation has put a strain on all of us. The question is, what are we going to learn from this?

It took me a while to get to this point in my life, and a pandemic to spur me into action. But I am embracing my creativity and taking some time for myself.

And I’m ready for the what the future will bring, mask and all.

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