by Sara Coughlin · 30 May 2019 · 5 min read
Since I can remember, I have always had anxiety, and travel brought it out in full force when it came to packing for a trip. Until recently, my control freak process always involved pulling out my suitcase a week in advance, building a check off list with quantities, and planning out two times the number of outfits that I actually needed on the trip. This process made me feel safe.
I remember when I was growing up, my dad would read the local newspaper in the morning with his cup of tea, and a plate of runny eggs and toast. In the evenings, he came home by 6pm and would watch the CBS evening news and help us with our math homework. On some nights when he had dinner meetings, he would come home with leftovers for the next day. But then he started traveling more globally as we grew up, and he would only be back home in a handful of days
What we are going through as a nation and a world is completely unprecedented in our lifetime. Other than finding reputable advice on COVID-19 from the CDC and WHO, we are all looking to one another for support to create a daily road map for this uncharted territory we are all traversing with high anxiety. Everyday, we are stuck wondering how we will get through this experience and questioning if we are making the right decisions or not. It is nervewracking. I know these feelings well, as I endured them for more than a year after the onset of PTSD back in 2016.
If you're feeling stressed by the current global crisis, you're not alone. After all, our sense of normalcy has been upended almost overnight. Health worries, economic fears, "social distancing," and uncertainty about the future have created in many of us a sense of deep unease. Add to that a 24/7 news cycle focused almost exclusively on the latest information (or misinformation) about the crisis, and it can start to seem like everything is spinning out of control.
Technically, my life is no different than millions of others. It's a part of the human condition to experience trauma. But somewhere along the way, we have to figure out who we really are and do some real work on ourselves.
How do we build an emotional moat around ourselves so that we can still thrive in a time such as this?
The day I started writing this essay, I got in a spat with my husband while I was baking brownies with the kids. He didn't understand why I had doubled the recipe. Despite the fact that I announced this fact multiple times, because I wanted to make them thick like I did as a child. As soon as I poured the batter into the pan, he came in and said, "Oooh, that's going to be so thick! Shouldn't we split the batter into two pans?" I saw red; I lashed out on him telling him how dare he question my nostalgia brownies and why not just say, "Thank you for doing this with the kids and I can't wait to eat them"? He looked at me like I was crazy.
The spread of the current pandemic and the resultant quarantine is affecting all of us at the moment, and for each person its effects are unique. Something I know I've been struggling with in the midst of this change is holding onto my creativity, and somehow I don't think I'm alone in that fact.
I'm talking about first love — that distinct sensation of butterflies fluttering in your stomach and the pounding in your chest that takes over your entire body.
Today, the armchair psychologist is tackling some major philsophical issues (and a relationship #struggle).