Life and Health

Extroversion in the Time of COVID19

Where are my fellow extroverts?  How are you holding up?  Me?  Ehhh.  I have good days and I have bad days.  In my last post I talked about some of the benefits I’m seeing from this current situation but as we’re winding down week 3, I’m struggling.  I’m not going to lie, it has been really hard to stay in the house.

Usually when I get this itch, I go somewhere.  Sometimes it’s just to the book store or the mall to just BE AROUND other people.  I can be in a room of complete strangers and just the act of sharing space with them fills me up in ways that being at home and doing all the “good” or “productive” home things can’t do.  As an extrovert, there is a relief that washes over you as you step into an environment with other people.  Even if you’re not there to engage with the others in any way, it’s a simple sharing of energy that feeds you down to the very core of your being.

I love people, this is one of the reasons that parenthood with a partner who works odd shifts has been really difficult for me in general.  I love to be around people but I have to find ways to be around people that fit into the constraints of having to include a small child especially as a solo parent most of the time due to his shift work; many of my close friends don’t have schedules that are compatible to mine anymore so I’ve had to find other ways to fill this void.  Some have been successful and some haven’t.

Then enter COVID19 and this lock down.  And I’m struggling.  I’ve been doing all the “usual” household stuff and figuring out how to still do my normal job in a different way while not having any of the normal social or community outlets available to me.

I am not going to lie; I have contemplated going out shopping for “non essential” items as a mental health activity.  I have tried to decide how “essential” certain items were and if they warranted me going to a store because I have really been grappling with the lock down.

My brain knows that staying home, eating the food we have (even though I want none of it because I could go out and buy something, even if it’s just to sit in drive thru with other people), and taking care of things around the house is the right thing to do.

My heart, however, is hurting and finding some comfort in virtual get-togethers with friends.  If I didn’t have those virtual meetings, however, I probably would have gone out, maybe to Target, just to browse because otherwise I’d be sitting in my house drinking until the loneliness doesn’t hurt anymore.

I know some are struggling with the idea of using this time to be “productive” and that is fine, dear friends.  You are allowed to cope and persevere through this global event however you see fit.  If you are someone who needs to climb under the covers and not come out until this is all over, I support you.  For me, it feels like a small piece of me is dying every day sitting in this house and it happens twice as fast if I don’t have something to keep me focused and occupied.

Some days I throw myself into working and getting that done, today it was making homemade fabric masks (which scientifically speaking I’m not sure how useful they’ll be but they made me feel useful which was good enough for me today), I’ve started working through a Coursera course on creative writing, I’ve done some yard work and planting, started training for the BikeMS City to Shore Ride as best as I can, and definitely spent more time on social media than normal.

It is only by identifying exactly who we are and what we need that we will make it through this, or any, hardship.  I know that filling my time with other meaningful activities is the only way to get me through this period of isolation.  And we will get through this.

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