Ever since the pandemic started and all the non-essential workers (me included) have been stuck in quarantine, I cannot count on my fingers just how many times I sat down and tried to write. I wanted to document that 2-week trip to Japan. I took a couple of videos of how I turned our “walk-in closet” to my home office. I wanted to share about the disastrous haircuts I have given myself while stuck at home or all the ways I had gotten to incorporate kimchi into a lot of meals. However, while a lot of people took the extra time to sleep in at home and used it to fuel their productivity, I spent most of it spiraling down this horrible rabbit hole of an existential crisis. To begin with, my mental health has not been at its peak for a while now.
I don’t really know when the concept of time had become blurry. It seemed like I was experiencing too much within every second of it and yet, each of those seconds was fleeting. One moment, I was graduating from university and started whining over taking too long to find a job. Followed by a surreal three years of trying to climb the corporate ladder while my mom withered away because of cancer. From then on, it was taking over every familial responsibility while making sure I have a fulfilling well-paying job and maintaining my long term relationship.
I started off 2019 with a breakup as well as making the difficult decision to see a therapist. By the end of 2019, my visits to the therapist had basically stopped. I was losing weight. I was regularly going to the gym. I had started working on things I have always wanted to do. For the first time in more than 5 years, I even celebrated the holidays wholeheartedly. I always thought that the low-key depression was what my normal would always be like. Until it wasn’t.
I ended 2019 and started 2020 teeming with the possibility that I can actually be happy again. And then the pandemic hit and I was back right where I started.
The pandemic didn’t just trap me inside my house under the looming fear that I might get sick and die. I was also unfortunate enough to have lost my job as the company I was working for downsized. As someone whose response to anything that triggers my ‘fight or flight’ is to escape – I was stuck. Whenever I feel like my life is at my lowest, I find ways to run. I spent most of the year after my mom passed on several trips. Too many, that I blew my savings on it (not that there was a lot left but you get the picture). After my breakup, I went to spontaneous local weekend trips. I randomly pick a bus to take on Friday nights and head back home by Sunday. I was drowning myself in alcohol for 9 days in Boracay. I cried my heart out in Haeundae Beach in Busan.
For someone who had programmed herself to heal through the distraction of seeing new places and buying stuff, this burden on top of all others had placed my mental health in a really bad place. I have spent days in bed, either napping or just laying there to stare at the ceiling. I lashed out on people for the smallest things. I ate a pan of baked goods by myself. I take sips of whiskey when I feel on edge.
Everything sucks. And it’s hard to be in the middle of a pandemic not knowing what’s next for me. But tomorrow –
Tomorrow, I will wake up early. I will get at least 15 minutes of work out in for the endorphins. I will get over the mental hurdle of talking to recruiters on Linkedin. I will sign up for Skillshare and learn something new. I will establish a routine.
I will forgive myself on days where I can’t power through. And I will push myself to face the fact that yes, life sucks right now. But life goes on. It has to.
And I will make it through.