First of all, when I say dear everyone emotionally impacted by COVID, if your first thought is, it hasn’t impacted me…You have more serious problems than being emotionally distraught by COVID or getting it. Because there ain’t no one not impacted by this! If you think you haven’t been impacted in any way, YOU clearly must think your shit doesn’t stink (AKA- you are better than COVID or too good for it to happen to you)!! Because why? COVID only happens to dirty people or people that have germs?! You know, those type of people.

Yup, here I am back on my COVID soapbox high and mighty. We can call it Dr. Dara’s COVID Chronicles!

Seriously though, I am blown away by the responses I’ve received from the recent shares of my experience with COVID. I am touched by the well wishes, comments, texts, calls, and all the emails and DMs with questions asking how to cope with COVID. This shiFt is real people! This is not a dress rehearsal. And this is NOT a joke. Like I mentioned in my first post of this tornado of an illness, we are all in the same ocean, just in different boats. Some paddling faster, some slower, and some not even in boats! I also mentioned it was my intention to share my clinical experience and my personal experience to support and help heal mental wellness and mental fitness during this crazy, confusing, and F***ed Up PANDEMIC.

A brief update: I continue to get stronger and stronger. I am negative of COVID. I still have residual effects-blurry vision, not full taste or smell, sore throat, swollen glands, and and I huff and puff like I am 90 years old. I am able to go for walks now- with an inhaler on hand. Progress is progress, so I will take it because I swear nature and fresh air is the best medicine. Randy is still positive for COVID struggling. His antibodies are increasing. His bronchitis is on the tail end. His spleen is still swollen and his kidneys are monitored closely. He had to be taken of his anti-coagulate because of bleeding. Clotting will be watched closely. Every day feels like a new, different, or similar symptom dragging on for him. He is getting stronger, but is very tired and weak. We are for sure on the other side of this, but still in two states as he needs to be very close to his doctor. We are pulling strong for him to be able to come before July 18th for Elyah’s 7th birthday Unfortunately our magical, miracle doctor, Dr. Hidalgo is run down and was COVID symptomatic (but tested negative). How is that even possible? The man that sacrifices himself to see over 150 COVID patients a day, literally saving lives, and risks compromising his own health. Why, some people do not think it is cool to wear a mask, can’t refrain from being close to others, are just too selfish to adjust their lifestyle temporally, or just do not have human kindness or decency? Hmmmm.

So yes, COVID spreads like wildfire and burns and kills everything in its path. COVID is not just about getting sick and being affected physically. COVID physically, mentally, and spiritually lures and prays on every part of your being. COVID latches into your existence like a blood sucking leach sinking its teeth into your flesh. COVID is not just about being sick with or without physical symptoms. It makes you feel vulnerable, raw, exposed, and scared. It strikes emotions and fears felt from deep within the core questioning mortality and the value of life.

Let’s talk about how COVID really shows up and hangs around. I’ll just start with how COVID has emotionally and mentally impacted me and why don’t you feel free to chime in and share how it’s shown up for you or how you worry it may.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder- Yes, I have PTSD from COVID-19. I wonder if I or anyone will ever emotionally recover from this? Will my mind stop reading old information of COVID worries as something that is currently happening? Let’s clarify, PTSD is a physiological or an emotional response to perceived threat. I feel sensations in my body and emotions because I am preoccupied with my experience with COVID and fear of what may continue because of it. Will I stop obsessing over getting it again? Will I stop waking up in the middle of the night to check the phone to make sure there is not an emergency with Randy? Will I stop having nightmares? When I go to the bathroom at 3am and cough will I stop worrying that my chest will get tighter and COVID has returned? Will I stop being fearful of the residual or permanent side effects that COVID can have on me? Will I stop waking up in the morning shaking until I get myself grounded that I am ok, that my kids are ok, and that this will pass? Will I be comfortable to go to the supermarket again? Will it feel safe for my kids to return to school or other activities with friends? Will I return to an exercise class? Will I meet one on one with clients again in person?

So, Anxiety- I have an anxiety I never had before. Fearful to go out. Fearful to see friends and family. Fearful whether to send my kids to camp or school. Fearful to go to the park or to the pool. When walking I immediately jump at my kids to remain close to me and for us to keep our distance. I am constantly checking my mask and my kids’ mask when we have them on to ensure they are in place properly. When the door rings, I demand the kids go in another room uncertain of the unknown COVID status of the person on the other side of the door. I do not want COVID again and I refuse to welcome it in our space or home. But when are the pre-cautions too much? I don’t want to teach fear to my kids, but I also see the value in teaching and properly educating them to be safe. My nerves feel frazzled. I am irritable and swear my current nickname is MOMZILLA. I have been with my kids and only my kids (plus 3 dogs) in quarantine for over 4 weeks alone, in a new house, in a new town. I am short with my kids and hastily respond to them. The anxiety is layered. I am honest with my kids with how their daddy is doing and the current state of affairs, but it is also for me to keep my shiFt together. And at times that is wearing. So, yes, I am human and anxious. The things I would typically do to keep myself chill are not available to me. My motto right now is progress is better than perfection and I ask myself constantly, “What CAN I do? What is something I can do in this moment that is a bridge to where I will be”. I spend brief and intermittent moments visualizing myself well, healthy and happy as if it has already happened. It is not the way I did it before. It is the way that is available to me right now.

My anxiety has turned into anger at times. This week I felt very angry not be able to jump in the car with the kids to drive down to be with Randy. He has been alone for over 4 weeks battling and kicking COVID’S ass alone. Even if he wasn’t still positive, I can’t risk getting this again with a compromised immune system. I can’t risk my kids getting this or prolonging our recovery. I can’t stop at a rest stop to drive to Florida alone with the kids. And besides, where can we safely stay without being compromised to get it? Bluntly, because of other people being stupid and ignorant and selfish and inconsiderate my family CANNOT be together. I know we will be soon and I get 100% how blessed we are to be on the other side of this, but that does not mean there are not moments of being pissed and heartbroken to know how much my husband misses his kids. So yes, STUPID PEOPLE (sure I would tell my kids there are not bad people, people make poor choices). So, yes, POOR CHOICED PEOPLE!! STUPID, STUPID, STUPID!!!

Financial Stress- The pandemic changed the dynamics of my business and then COVID literally took me out of my work. Not only about me, but how will the pandemic continue to impact our economy and businesses. I will save you the pathetic money cries. Most of you already read the post I wrote of money stuck, been run over by a truck last month. Unless you are Daddy Warbucks or independently wealthy, everyone’s wallet is feeling shaky and/or tight.

Relationships- OMG!!! Where to even begin here. I MISS ALONE TIME WITH MYSELF!!! Going for a run and solving all the problems of the world and coming home with a head of inspiration. I miss making family plans for the summer. I miss seeing my kids hug their grandma. I miss my friends. I miss hugging them. I miss running and workouts with them. I miss the normalcy or not so normalcy (Randy traveled a lot) of my marriage. Randy was injured in October and for the first time he was home in all our years together. Then, add a pandemic! We had to adjust to being quarantined, in the same zip code, under the same roof, co-parenting two kids at home-school-less, co-working, co-everything, and now a screeching halt of apartness and separateness. I miss alone time with each of my kids. I miss alone time with Randy! Like I have said repeatedly, I was a social distancer before social distancing was in style. But even I have limits! I miss shaking hands. I like to shake with one hand and put my other on the top of the other person’s hand and touch them like I mean it. I miss putting my hand on people’s shoulders. I miss having attentive, connected conversations looking in to someone’s eyes. How can you have genuine, intimate moments with people when you don’t even know what day of the week it is?! I miss that deep human connection.

So, COVID- It is cunning, baffling, and brings you to your knees. It changes the lens you view the world and even after all the pain and hardship, we will never think or be the same. But again, COVID is not just about being sick. It is about facing and crushing the demons of COVID physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.

I am not piping down and I can promise you I will continue my COVID rants and screams. I mean hell, I am still in a COVID TWILIGHT ZONE! I will also continue to be of service however I can to heal and clear COVID marks and scars. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE share how COVID left its marks or imprints. DM, email (dara@drdara.com), or text me any questions you may have and let’s answer them. Maybe there really will be a Dr. Dara’s COVID Chronicles (let me know if you have a better name!) If you are struggling with something or have things on your mind, so does someone else. It is almost like it is selfish of us not to talk about this sticky, icky, stuff how COVID has been showing up for us. Cause like I said, there ain’t no one not affected. THE END.

Warmly,

Your no bull-shiFt, COVID SURVIVOR, advice giving, Covid-19 RANTING, healing, Mom, Psychologist and actively living person again, Dr. Dara

P.S. I am doing COVID COUNSELING via video and potentially groups. More details to follow.

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