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What to Know If COVID-19 (and Everything Else) Feels 'Too Much' Right Now

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Editor's Note

If you live with an eating disorder, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “NEDA” to 741741.

There’s a lot happening. A lot. No question about that. We are getting into winter and in many places, that means an increase in seasonal affective disorder (SAD). It’s colder outside and more rain (or snow). Less sunshine. Month nine of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and the isolation. This is on top of all the things that we experience every day: finances; employment; relationships; friendships. Hobbies I now have more time for (like writing and painting) suddenly seem like they are becoming an expectation. I start to feel like I have to do these things.

In the course of my day, it’s getting harder to find time to run. When it’s not raining (because I actually really dislike running in the rain, despite living on the coast), it’s also too dark before and after work for me to run alone. I have to plan my lunch breaks perfectly to get outside at all. The weekends are the only time I have the opportunity to spend a few hours running. The reality there is that it becomes less motivating to go out. As much as I want to go, I have to acknowledge that it’s not particularly safe to do trail running in the dark alone. Hence, self-imposed feeling more obligations to hobbies like painting and writing.

My eating habits are worse than they have ever been. As a result, I just signed up for one of the meal-delivery services where they make a meal plan for the whole week and deliver it. It starts next week and I plan to try it for a month. It’s expensive but it will mean the difference between me eating every day and sometimes going a couple of days without eating. (I go very infrequently now to the grocery store … much less than I even did before).

Social media, streaming services, video chats. Endless options. I didn’t even own a television previously because prior, I spent more time being active than needing a screen. A couple of years ago I bought a cheap laptop just for the purpose of blogging. (I’m using it right now.) The world is a combination of overstimulation and understimulation at the same time as imposing entirely new lifestyles.

What happens when it’s too much? When all of the things we are experiencing just feel like too much? When the unexpected international circumstances combined with the seasonal changes and, oh yes, that medical condition, feel like they are more than we can handle? Those are just three examples of the things that we are experiencing now on a daily basis.

The force of external motivation can only move us forward so much.

So … what happens when it’s too much?

This is the time when we have to make a very pointed effort to inspire ourselves.

As many times as we have heard this during the pandemic, we are all in this together. The season changes … well, every year, so it will be different in a few months and the sun will come back. We have a significant medical condition and we are managing to get through all of these circumstances even with that. We did it before and we will continue to do so.

Things are “too much.” Too much. Yes, yes they are. So are we. We are too much. We are much too resilient. We are much too determined. We are much too feisty. We haven’t been permanently overloaded by our permanent medical condition. We aren’t going to let cold weather and a pandemic ruin our irrepressible spirit. We are “too much.”

Follow this journey on the author’s blog.

Photo by Darius Bashar on Unsplash

Originally published: December 8, 2020
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