The title sounds like a fluffy crock of shit. I know, I get it. There are so many people in the world who have seen more crap in the last year and a half than they have in their entire lives. However, my therapist said something that got me thinking. “Without the pandemic, you would have never stopped to see what wasn’t working.” Honestly, they were right. Pre-pandemic I spent a lot of time bathed in distraction desperate not to feel any physical sensations or mental stress. I wanted to capture this version of myself that I wanted to be for everyone else. The reality was, it wasn’t working for me but I was too scared to say it out loud. This pandemic gave me the pause that I needed to start from the ground up. What felt like a “mental breakdown” was actually a necessary breaking point that I needed to rebuild a version of myself that was finally for just me. It’s the reframed thought that I’ve used to pull myself out of the idea that I had to be ashamed of having struggles. Nothing was wrong with me, I just needed a break to find out who the hell I was without anyone else’s approval, opinions or ideas. The distractions faded and I was bathed in the scary silence to hear my own needs, thoughts, and ideas.
Outside of the realm of me, I found the gift of connection. I’ve spent a lot of time on here sharing my mental health story and updates as time passes but I haven’t shared the other important parts of me. Truthfully, I have the best friends on the planet. From the first week of the pandemic until to this day, we’ve found a way to become closer than we ever have before. Pre-pandemic we were all wrapped up in our own lives. We’d text when we remembered, we’d make the effort to see each other a few times a year but it stayed there. Now, we talk daily and stay up to date with each other’s lives and do our best to be there for each other and share our respective lives when we can. What started as drunk zooms to make the best of a crappy situation turned into a daily updates, which I am beyond grateful for. Thanks to the Marco Polo app, we have a place to chat on our own time without the schedule coordination that Zoom took. It’s been the missing link to our friendship and I’m so glad that we’re now able to keep up with each other more than we ever have. I think being pushed to band together when it hurt the most was valuable. It was the reinforcement that we weren’t alone and one I know I’ll cherish forever.
These were the two biggest silver linings for me. It’s easy to get lost in all of the damage that this time has done. I still have to ground myself in the sadness sometimes because it can be very consuming. However, I remain grateful that I am able to find the little things that can bring light to my world. They mean everything.
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