It hit me, it finally got me, the dreaded C word.
So bad that I can't even type it in this email or the email lords won't let the email get to you (no lie, that's the truth.)
But, let's just say I had something starting with C and ending with VOID.
No idea where I got it from - no one else around me had it or did became sick later so I was in pure isolation/hell for the past week and a half.
Ya'll, it kicked my butt. I like to think that I can handle whatever, given that I come from generations of hardy peasant stock (think of women bred to carry potatoes and seaweed uphill both ways - those are my people), but man it was ROUGH.
The doctor said that she felt I had a "moderate" case - re: pretty freaking sick but not bad enough for the hospital (thank gawd).
Still, being alone and that sick was scary - with little answers and zilch energy to do anything.
But, I made it. Tomorrow is my first day out of isolation and back into the real world. I'm ready ya'll. As mentioned, I'm a huge introvert but you can only talk to the animals for so long until you start to feel like the woman in The Yellow Wallpaper (click here to read if you're interested - it's a very bizarre but profound little story.)
Also, as referenced in my last Ally, I abhor vulnerability and value my independence so this little foray into hell gave me some perspective and lessons, although I kicked and screamed the entire time (not literally, I was way too sick to do anything but lay there and cough, cry, and gnash my teeth at the heavens).
So, in true therapist/growth mindset fashion, I've made a list to share with you about five of the major lessons/takeaways from my time in the land of the VOID.
1. You can't think your way out of everything. Sometimes things just suck.
As therapists, we like to believe that our internal world is what is most important and if we shift that then other things have to shift. While, I wholeheartedly agree with this MOST of the time, I could not reframe my way out of being so freakin' sick.
No matter how badly I wanted to think of all of my blessings, I still felt horrible and hated every second of my body betraying me.
Which leads me to the second lesson....
2. Your body doesn't betray you. It's a meat-sack that protects you from all of the things so you can live your life. Be nice to it.
As much as I cursed my body's reaction to this stupid virus, I knew it was doing it's best to fight off the infection, even if it meant coughing so hard I had to change my sheets (yeah, gross I know - believe me I was there) or running fever so high you cry hot tears.
Just in the past few years have I even entertained the notion that my body needs to be thanked and treated with respect, rather than being the dumping ground for all of my feelings. I have UBER respect for it now since I experienced it having a sort of "life of it's own" as it did all the things without my conscious knowing.
These meat-sacks we walk around in are pretty amazing and incorporating them into our therapy can only have positive benefits (as an aside - I plan to teach more soon about how to bring in body-based understanding into sandtray therapy).
3. We need each other. I need people and allowing my people to show up for me isn't a sin.
I'm MUCH more comfortable being in the role of giver to others. Asking or needing help from others makes me squirm. I value my independence so much. Being at a place where I literally have no choice but to just let others help is humbling and ultimately leads me into a healthier place mentally.
I let my mom, sister-in-law, and friends show up for me through phone calls, gifts on my doorsteps, and hot meals. And you know what?
The world didn't end. People seemed to actually be HAPPY to be able to do something for me. Again, all of this may seem like "no shit" thinking for others, but, well, I guess I'm a slow learner at times.
Bottom line: We need each other. We need community. We need to be authentic and say, "Yes, I'm not doing well."
4. Along those same lines, another lesson learned - it doesn't help anyone (especially me) to lie and say I'm fine to those I love when I'm CLEARLY NOT FINE . Of course we don't want to overshare to all of the people but letting others know that we are struggling is how we have healthy relationships.
It's how we grow as an individual and within our relationships.
Allowing others to see you within your vulnerability is okay - it doesn't make you a less of a person.
Take it from Brene Brown...