Today marks the start of week 18 for me, day 126. I’m happy to write that a lot of my symptoms have disappeared. What’s left is chest pain, some gastrointestinal problems and a general tiredness (but not fatigue/exhaustion). I’m able to walk a bit longer every day and even have energy to also do some other (smaller) things. I can oftentimes sit at the table to eat dinner with my family again without having to go and lie on my couch because the eating takes too much energy from my body. Victory! However, I have thought before that I was on the road to full recovery only to have a major relapse again. So today I’ll just write: I’ve been having more and more good days!
What I have noticed lately is that I have been crying more often. When I write or say this, some people react in ways suggesting that I ought to come out of my sadness. I believe this is a common way of approaching someone who is sad: to try and make the person not feel sad by saying a lot of positive things and giving advice on “how to think instead”. I really appreciate the sentiment and understand that it comes from a space of love towards me. But the thing is: I want to cry and feel sad sometimes and it’s totally OK with me to feel this way. It doesn’t make me panic at all or desperately wish that I wouldn’t feel it. Of course it’s not the most pleasant of feelings, but I can nowadays sit with my sadness and just let it be for a while. I fully trust and also notice that my sadness will not last forever, as with every other feeling. It’s just like a cloud passing by in the sky.
I have cried many times during these 4.5 months but the sadness I can feel these days is different. It feels like my whole Being has been in survival mode for such a long time and now that it’s finally starting to relax a bit more, there is room for another form of sadness to emerge. A sadness about the state of the world today and observing people who obviously have no understanding of the possible severity of this virus. But most of all, it’s a sadness about everything I’ve experienced myself since I got covid-19. Yes, I am sad for myself somehow and as I wrote: it’s important for me to allow myself to feel this too. I feel shaken to my core from everything that I’ve experienced for the past 18 weeks and sadness about this is a part of it for me.
Physically I believe I don’t have much more I can actively do in order to heal; I just need more time to let my body work its magic by itself while supporting it with lots of healthy food, supplements and rest. Mentally it remains important to me to not get stuck in a fear about my symptoms becoming chronic/permanent. No one can tell me for certain today, but I choose to believe in my body’s capacity to heal itself in the end.
A dear friend recently suggested to practice the following:
Having a loving attitude towards myself.
Sounds simple enough, right? Well, honestly, even writing about this activates Lennart (the voice of my mind). If you haven’t read this blog before, I have given the critical voice inside my head a name: Lennart. This makes it easier for me to notice when he is trying to make me believe that his opinion inside my head is The Truth. In this situation right now, Lennart tells me that this is not allowed: basically doing what makes me feel good. That I should instead first and foremost be there for other people and helping them. That I cannot put myself first because that is a selfish thing to do. To me this is a sign that still today, I can feel shame about making my own well-being my number one priority.
I decided to follow my friend’s advice though, and so I am more aware these days about having a loving attitude towards myself. In this spirit, I have promised to tell my friend at least 10 things I have done for myself lately. Coming up with these things requires me to become very still and really feel into my body what it is I need right at this moment (and then go and do it). Writing this piece is definitely on the list because if there’s anything that nourishes me, it’s writing. And: reading books (that my brain can manage again these days, hallelujah!). I’m currently diving deep into the world of British chick lit with endless stories about women in small coastal villages and book shops and bakeries (and handsome men and dogs). Loving it! But it’s also about allowing myself to watch tons of Netflix series and movies when I’m tired without feeling guilty because I should be doing something else, like laundry or cook dinner (or work for that matter). It’s about telling friends that I don’t have the energy to talk on the phone so much. Etc. etc. So as you can see, for me, having a loving attitude towards myself can manifest itself in the smallest ways during my day.
I want to live my life by not pushing myself beyond my limits but instead respecting my boundaries, my energy and also daring to communicate this to people. To me this is having a loving attitude towards myself. I will continue to be aware of Lennart and telling him to go and take a hike including all his opinions in my head about what I “am allowed” and should or should not do. Not only during the recovery from covid-19 but for the rest of my life.
This, to me, is true freedom!
I will end with a poem from Yung Pueblo that resonates with me today:
I am not fully healed,
I am not fully wise,
I am still on my way.
What matters is that
I am moving forward.
Thank you for reading! ♥
Photo: Amanda Flavell – unsplash.com