Now, you may think that with the second lockdown you’re prepared as you know what to expect from the first lockdown in March. So, to fill the time, you may plan to start a business you’ve been thinking about for a long time, learn a new skill, read a list of books that’s been sitting on your reading list for a while or just take a much-needed rest. However, for this millennial woman, I’m not a fan!
Although I love time and silence to refresh and renew my thoughts, the notion of the second lockdown is my worst nightmare. When did that all start? Well I’ve been triggered several times prior to the announcement of lockdown 2.
Wiser nor Older
Every year is the same for me. Another year older, another year of what the f*ck have I done? Each year around August, I begin to feel my mental health take a slight dip, to where I’m extremely self-critical of my achievements and accomplishments. While I work hard towards all things I wish for, I tend to beat myself into the ground with self-bashing and pitiful self- talk.
When September comes around, negativity takes over my body, while any glimpse of positive self-reflection is shoved and slammed into the back. Questions of why aren’t you there (Career) yet? What have you been doing? What’s actually wrong with you? All questions are internally spinning in a critical mental washing machine and left unanswered. Leaving me in a state of despondency while maintaining a smile for the world to see. (Can’t’ show others how I feel, I’m need to be a STRONG BLACK WOMAN).
When October appears (birthday month), I can’t even muster up a smile. Usually I have plans, events or holidays to take my mind off my negative thoughts, but Corona said No! Especially for me, who is sickly by default. This October turned into an out-of-body experience as I didn’t know the person I saw in the mirror. Daily cries and intentional extreme self-isolation from digital and physical contact, were the icing on top of a cake. Not to mention, the nicest present 2020 gave to me in a box with a sexy ass ribbon, delivered to my doorstep, FAO Rene’s lungs and signed COVID -19. Thanks for the gift sweet x
Societal or Personal
During and after the first lockdown, I explored ways to make myself more multi-skilled. The Queen of all trades. With that being said, my thoughts stuck to the question of “Are you doing enough”?
Growing up, you tend to map out things you want done but you reach a certain age. Babies by 20, married by 23, starting your own business by 25, however real life doesn’t respond well to fantasies, and all the things you once envisioned, when young, are gone and you’re now just trying to stay alive and do what you can. Seeing my peers make life milestones, going out and getting what they want, puts me to shame and question my ability to attain all of life’s glories.
So, now that I shed some light on how I internally think, let me just say I’m also hard on myself. I put pressure on myself to exceed, and when I arrive where I need to be then the pressure heightens. Now, this is the unhealthiest thing you can do for your mental health. Comparing yourself to yourself and your peers will damage your self-esteem, and self worth. During the first lockdown, I saw the creation of many Instagram businesses, and the explosion of creativity promoted online, although it’s amazing to see people get in their grind and do all things they wanted, I felt/feel stuck at the question of “are you doing enough”?, that crushes all things I set out doing, and in turn, projects unattainable and unrealistic.
Too Many Issues to Count
Now, I suffer from a range of mental issues, and my mental health is sometimes compromised. But I want to focus on one issue in particular, Social Anxiety.
So many people mocked Summer Walker for her social anxiety, I have to tell you ladies, it’s a real thing. I can vouch that this mindf*ck is a real issue.
I’ve felt being in large groups, especially with people I didn’t know was difficult for me, but I was unaware that it had a name. Going to the first BLM march during the first lockdown, I was beginning to feel overwhelmed, it may have been the topic being so dare to me, but I started to panic internally. Needless to say, I was shi*ting bricks. As soon as I got home, I googled what was happening and saw that the characteristics of the disorder matched mine (Yes, I know, I shouldn’t be self-diagnosing, but the match was uncanny).
As I look back, people have told me that I’m either come off standoff-ish, stoosh or rude but in reality my brain is thinking of a million things, while my body goes into flight or fight mode, heart beating faster than the speed of light, and I’m trying to keep my face from screwing or pull an nervous look (it’s a lot) so I end up saying one word, and leaving the conversations at that. In fact, sometimes I would say nothing at all, and just nod my way out of the discussion, so I can find a place to be by myself to recover from the crippling anxiety.
So now, that we are in the second lockdown, my mental health is not ready for it. I’m still getting over the first one! ButI’ve made a decision to TRY my hardest to be kinder to myself and to at least write down one thing I’m grateful for, and what I’ve accomplished. Taking it one day at a time.
What I come to realise is that instead of just surviving, I need to thrive, and so does my mental health! What about yours? How are you feeling?