So what’s the pandemic like through the eyes of a mental patient and recovering addict?
Well, there’s a lot of pressure to keep myself together, of course. Strong voices telling me this is NOT the time to have an episode or need a meds adjustment. And certainly not the time for a relapse on drugs.
It’s scary, because while not doing drugs is something I can control to a degree by practicing recovery techniques, the mental health thing is under less control. I can take my meds religiously. I can try to eat well and get a little exercise and do things that connect me to what I value. I can do all this, and it still might not be enough because neurochemical shit happens sometimes.
Meanwhile, all the “normal” people around me are experiencing levels of anxiety they aren’t used to. They need me to be functional so I don’t drain their energy away from managing their own stress.
“One day at a time,” is more real than it’s been for a while. I try to make plans…what part of mask sewing I’m going to work on today, what I’m going to eat for lunch, whether I’ll go for a walk. And while I do that I’m acutely aware of the degree of privilege I have compared to some of my fellow sufferers.
I have loved ones in my house. I have access to the medicines I need. For now, my family isn’t in danger of losing our home or not having enough food. I’m lucky.
Do you hear that, brain? We’re lucky. Now show your gratitude by refraining from any shenanigans until further notice.