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Thread: I am *really* struggling with "normal" life

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
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    1,344

    I am *really* struggling with "normal" life

    Hi friends! It's been a while since I've been here, but you folks are always so supportive so I thought I'd pop in for some advice/moral support.

    I am crashing and burning a month into America's very abrupt return to this uncanny valley of normal life. I'm back to in person law school and my 7 year old is back to school. Safety-wise I'm not *that* concerned. My school has required vaccines and mandated masks and my daughter's school district also has a mask mandate and requires staff to be vaccinated. So far, there have been no outbreaks at either of our schools.

    BUT. I cannot shake what really feels like situational depression that's set in. I feel a really overwhelming sadness that vaccines didn't usher in the level of normal we all kind of expected. The long-term mask wearing is trigging almost weekly migraines (because mine are triggered by TMJ), I feel sad that my daughter has to go to school in this weird dystopian nightmare - masked, sitting spread apart and all facing the same way in the cafeteria, spread out across the playground at recess, etc...

    I am EXHAUSTED by the sudden return of early morning school drop off, pick-up, late night classes for me, all the demands, after 18 months of living on our own schedule and doing everything from home. As much as I hated quarantine and restrictions and being stuck at home, the stress of the pandemic was manageable because the stress of everyday life was removed. Now we've moved back into everyday life but the pandemic is still here.

    This past week I just keep bursting into tears. I can't focus on all the school work I have, I cry on my way home from dropping my daughter off at school because I miss our calm homeschooling days together.

    Maybe biggest of all, I feel such immense disappointment at the lost joy I have for law school. I started school in fall of 2019 with such excitement. It was truly the peak of my adult life. I had never felt better. I'd made it through 6 years of being a stay at home mom. My daughter was in school and I was reclaiming my identity and embarking on this incredibly exciting new adventure. Seven months in, we were in quarantine. Now, 18 months later all that enthusiasm is gone. The idea of starting a new career in this environment just makes me kind of sad. I've always been a really positive and optimistic person, but a lot of that is gone now and I'm not sure I can every look at my country or the world the same again.

    I have a therapy appointment next Tuesday to talk all this through, but I guess I wondered if anyone is feeling this way and if you've found anything to help you get some joy back or manage all the expectations of re-opening.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Posts
    13,893

    Re: I am *really* struggling with "normal" life

    I have no real expectations of life, Erin, other than to take things a day at a time and to keep going. I have a very challenging life at home but try to pace myself as best I can and find time for small things which bring a degree of respite.

    I'm sure the pandemic has affected you very deeply and you must miss your little girl after having her home for so long..The Delta variant has a lot to answer for and maybe the US was a bit to quick to lift restrictions but easy to say in hindsight.

    I hope the therapy appointment helps you to express how distressed and "empty" you feel and maybe you are dealing with a situational depression here? It would be completely understandable xx

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
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    1,431

    Re: I am *really* struggling with "normal" life

    Hi Erin,

    I don't really have any words of advice, but I absolutely get what you are feeling. I was going to grad school with a lot of passion, but I ultimately dropped it for now because I don't know if I want to do that anymore but I also don't know what I want to do instead. I'm back in the office too - my boss gave me my own cubicle office space so that I could be away from others and not have to mask all the time, which is great because I have to wear glasses to work on the computer and the mask was interfering with that.

    But, it's so hard to be away and locked up in an office after over a year of doing what I needed, getting my work done and still having some freedom. I don't have children but it's so hard to leave my dog behind every day, and he has anxiety too so the transition has been really hard on him.

    It's also hard because it feels like everyone is just getting back to normal and things aren't normal or safe yet, so I feel left behind. This last weekend my friend had a birthday party and I so badly wanted to go, and to go tailgating with them after, but I couldn't because I felt the crowd was too big and I didn't feel like it was a safe choice. I've gotten to do so things in small groups with vaxed friends, but honestly, I hate not being able to just go out and socialize, I feel very lonely.

    It's hard place we are coming out of and I think we have all changed as a result of it; the world has changed too. I honestly don't know what to expect, just I suppose to take things one day at a time as Pulisa says.
    __________________

    I still go a little bit crazy sometimes...
    but now I don't stay near as long.


    [Mostly] managing anxiety, HA, and depression.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Posts
    2,012

    Re: I am *really* struggling with "normal" life

    No answers but lots of love. I'm glad you're seeing a therapist.
    I suspect the only long-term solution for us is to gird our loins and try to get excited about meeting this as a challenge - and if you're depressed you won't have the energy levels for that.
    I have many of the thoughts you express, and the only thing that I have found helps is to practise the mental discipline of not giving them too much headspace.
    My most successful strategy to date has been finding a river with ducks and Canada Geese and making friends with them so that they will feed from my hand. They are so lovely, and so unconcerned about all the things which worry me.

    Keep us posted. God bless. x
    __________________
    All manner of thing shall be well... (Julian of Norwich)

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
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    13,893

    Re: I am *really* struggling with "normal" life

    Life certainly isn't "normal", is it? At least not for us or anyone with a degree of intelligence.

    I think finding small things which bring a glimmer of respite is a good thing to aim for. The Canada Geese therapy sounds very comforting, Speranza..Every little helps when you feel constantly under the cosh.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Posts
    1,431

    Re: I am *really* struggling with "normal" life

    Watching the geese sounds nice. My mom has chickens and ducks on their farm and I love to go watch them as they are so comical. She has an Indian Runner Duck and he's a riot.

    I've just started taking days off as I feel I need, especially as I have many saved up from the past year. I'm in a landlocked state, but our local lake has a "beach" that has soft sand running through (my dad has told me they were sand dunes before they dammed the river into a lake). I've taken off next Wednesday so I can take my dog there and we can just swim and relax. He (my dog) doesn't do well with strange people but I figured midday on a Wednesday in September is the most deserted we'll find the place unless we go in winter. It helps that it's nearly impossible to get to and not many people know about it.
    __________________

    I still go a little bit crazy sometimes...
    but now I don't stay near as long.


    [Mostly] managing anxiety, HA, and depression.

  7. #7

    Re: I am *really* struggling with "normal" life

    I am right there with you Erin, except my mom recently passed of Covid complications and I went to NC for the funeral and spent time with my family and now that I am home I am having all kinds of anxiety. I was hoping every day that passed I would be less afraid of being sick but the anxiety seems to still be here. I mean it's been 14 days since we first got up there and 10 days since we last saw my family and drove home the next day (we were staying in a hotel) so we have been home for 9 days and I still have worry that we missed something and we are actually infected. I know in the back of my head it's irrational but that mixed with the grief from my mom passing, I think I am getting PTSD. I reached out to a few people to talk to and already had an assessment with one and should be getting an appointment with her the end of the month (she is someone I know and have had past experience with) I also have a call into another friend who is a reiki and massage therapist and I will be talking with her soon as well. I feel it helps to talk to anyone that makes you feel comfortable. My biggest problem is that I am home alone all day long (work from home and my husband is off at work) so even though prior to this I used to love being home alone, right now is not the appropriate time to be alone all time I feel.

    Hope you get some help from your appointment. Sending you my thoughts and hopefully we will all get through this stronger than we were.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Posts
    3,451

    Re: I am *really* struggling with "normal" life

    Hey Erin,

    I think it’s quite a slog to “get back to normal” when we’ve been through so much and are still going through so much.
    I don’t think you have to worry about your daughter. My 7yo adapted so well to social distancing and a new type of schooling. I think she’s probably forgotten what it was like before. But she got her enthusiasm back when she went back to school. She does have a bit of separation anxiety sometimes, but so do I to be fair.

    I have found that I much prefer being in the office to being at home. But it took time to get used to it, and there’s still a few things I haven’t done.

    I think we’re all a bit beaten down by what’s been going on, and it’s going to take a while to find our sparkle again.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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